Sometimes the hardest thing to do after getting home from a long day is convincing yourself to make a thoughtful, healthy dinner. Instead, the temptation might be to order take-out or throw something in the microwave. Even though these options might be faster and easier, over time take-out is expensive and microwave meals are not as healthy. But don’t fear, if you are willing to put in the leg work up front, another way to make sure you’re receiving the nutrients during your busy days is available. That is why this #bebetter52 challenge is meal planning!
This week’s challenge impacts your health and your budget. Spending time to plan your meals once for the week makes grocery shopping thoughtful and efficient. This week’s challenge is to find a time to sit down and select your dinners for the week. Next, write down all the needed ingredients and go shopping. We promise it will help you manage your time better, save you money, avoid unhealthy options, and make shopping easier.
Although this might seem like an overwhelming #bebetter52 challenge, we want you to DO your best. Don’t worry if one day you spontaneously decide to go out to eat or simply do not feel like tackling dinner. We want you to enjoy this process. Meal planning is based around you and your needs, so do whatever works for your lifestyle. Ultimately, we want meal planning to positively impact your daily routine so that you don’t have to worry about the infamous “what am I going to make for dinner?”
Meal Planning Steps:
Decide on your meals: Keep them simple and choose meals that share similar ingredients. It can help to use a guide or a planner to stay organized. If you are a subscriber to the Be Better Box, this is the perfect opportunity to use your Ruff House meal planner to list your meals!
Go grocery shopping: When going to the grocery store with weekly meal planning in mind, you can write out exactly what you need to make the meals. This may lessen your time in the store when you know what you’re looking for. You won’t buy those extra items that sit forgotten in the fridge and then end up rotten. When you buy tomatoes, you know on Thursday you are going to have time to make that marinara sauce, and then on Friday when you won’t be home until late, you can heat up the leftovers.
Prep Food: When prepping food, make it easier by looking ahead at what you can cook or chop at once. For example, cook the chicken you are going to use for the next two nights. Chop all the vegetables for the next four days. Below are some helpful tips for those just beginning their food prep journey.
Basic Meal Prep Tips:
Don’t think recipes, think food categories. For some reason when I look up recipes and see all the ingredients needed, I feel overwhelmed. Also, I end up buying random spices I’ll probably never use again in other dishes. So it makes sense to think of food categories instead. For example, dinner will include a protein, vegetable, healthy fat, and spices and seasonings you have in your cupboard.
Cook bulk lean meats. I Instant-Pot a whole bunch of chicken to add to eggs in the morning, salads for lunch, entrees for dinner.
Prep Salad dressing for the week. Salad dressing is SOOOOO easy to make. My new favorite salad dressing is ½ a lemon, big spoonful of Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread, and Olive Oil.
Boil Hard Boil Eggs for the week for quick, healthy breakfasts on the go.
Cut up healthy veggies and fruit for snacks. I do about three day’s worth, and around Wednesday do another round. Set aside a sheet pan worth of vegetables to roast in the oven for dinner paired with a protein or to top on lunch salads.
Pre-pack snack bags the night before. This can include healthier snacks to give to your children, instead of grabbing a bag of Goldfish on the way out the door.
In the Box:
This weekly meal planner is the perfect way to keep organized and to plan your meals. Each page features a perforated, tear-off shopping list to grab and head to the store! The covers are hand-letterpressed, printed the old fashioned way, one at a time, on their vintage printing press. The meal planners are designed, printed and packaged in the company’s Lawrence, Kansas, studio.