So you want to eat healthier this year and you're not sure where to start.
Should you track calories?
Should you follow a plan or diet of some kind?
Should you count macros?
Keep reading for my tips and tricks to create a meal plan and food prep routine that actually works for you!
In the realm of diet protocols and food rules to follow for certain results, I may have tried it all.
I've counted macros, calories, carb cycled, tried keto, and simply tried to be more mindful of my choices.
But the most success - and freedom - I've experienced is by keeping my food goals simple.
Diet protocols can be helpful for some, but I tend to find complicated diets unrealistic for most.
Especially the diets that require perfection. The diets that when you fall of the plan you have to start over at day one - how stressful!
Those diets are the most difficult to maintain for the long term for obvious reasons. No one is perfect and I don't think we need to be.
Choosing a food plan that fits YOUR goals, YOUR lifestyle and budget should be personal.
If you're at a loss for where to begin I'd encourage you to find support!
I have a community of moms who have similar goals as you on Facebook. We do monthly challenges with giveaways and encourage each other to become better.
For an even deeper dive into your goals and to create a simple plan to follow, you can always work with me in my training app for a small monthly fee.
We can examine what may be the best route to take to get you on the straight and narrow to reach your goals - without unrealistic diet rules.
Even though the food plan for your goals should be personalized to you, there is one habit that everyone can benefit from.
Setting aside a couple hours each week for meal planning and some sort of food prep is one of the best routines you can adopt as you aim to eat healthier this year.
Weekly meal planning and food prep does a few things:
Gives you a plan to follow for the week
Saves time and stress when the week gets busy
Helps you conquer difficult meals
Let me explain...
When you have a plan to follow for the week full of high protein meals and real food ingredients your goals just got easier.
When you have a plan and even some food prepped ahead of time, you have incentive to follow it with less effort.
It's less tempting to eat out or grab quick foods that aren't as nutritious.
Planning ahead even puts you in a better mindset about your goals.
With a plan there is purpose, a daily reminder that you care enough about your goals to have put the plan together. You owe it to yourself to follow it!
Now, the best thing your meal plan and food prep does for you is saves you TIME!
Every mom knows how little time there is to cook and exercise.
Whenever you can save time thinking about what to make an hour before everyone is about to lose their mind because they're so hungry, you've won the battle when you have a plan already in place.
This even applies to exercise!
If you have a plan to follow, it makes it easier and more exciting to pull out the plan and just take action.
My training app is an awesome way to open up your workout of the day and just START.
Same goes for your meals.
With a plan in place there is less thinking and more doing.
The last big way a meal plan with some food prep turns you into a goal-getter is by helping you conquer those difficult meals.
These are the meals that you find tough to eat well or have time to cook anything.
This could be the dinners you need to make on nights when kids have their sport activities and there's little time between school pick up and practice.
For me this is lunch. Every day. I'm bad at lunch. UNLESS I make something for myself at the start of the week that I really enjoy eating.
If something is already made, that gives me one less excuse to grab a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a string cheese.
Once you have a meal plan put together for the week, you should set aside a few minutes before the week starts for some food prep.
Here are 5 tips and tricks for a simple food prep day:
1 - Focus on PROTEIN
Protein is the most important macro for health, fat loss and muscle gain.
Wihh th out protein you will no doubt have a hard time controlling sugar cravings or sticking to your calorie goals.
Protein can be the most difficult part of a meal as well, so putting a little effort towards this can be a huge time saver.
Thaw the meat you'll be using for your recipes.
Cook and shred things like chicken or roasts for sandwiches.
Make ahead a breakfast option like an egg bake or breakfast burritos.
2 - Plan to double a couple recipes.
This is especially true if you have a big family.
If you can double a recipe you will have leftovers for lunches or for those busy nights when you don't have a lot of time to cook.
3 - Rely on healthy convenience foods, too.
It's ok to buy premade foods!
Look for simple foods in the freezer section like grilled chicken or vegetable combinations for stir fry or stews.
I've bought premade beef roasts, chicken skewers, and meatballs. They're huge life savers and foods I love to have around for busy weeknights.
If you can devote your year to putting together a weekly meal plan with a food prep day you will set yourself up to reach your goals - whatever they may be.
Of course if this feels overwhelming and you're still not sure how to piece together a plan that matches your goals, you can always work with me for support.
We can set protein goals, habit goals, and so much more so that you have clear steps to follow in an easy way.
What about meal planning is challenging for you??
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below 👇🏻