HAVE HEALTHY FOOD AVAILABLE WHEN YOU NEED IT
You want better health, and you want to eat better. You don’t want the extra calories, fast food and junk food anymore. And you DO want to save time and money.
You’re in luck, because I have a simple strategy for helping you save time and money AND eat well. It’s called MEAL PLANNING, and it’s also the single best thing you can do to improve your health.
“But I don’t have time for meal planning!”
I know, everyone is so busy (including me). But I would argue that you don’t have time NOT to meal plan. If you eat like every one else who is busy, you will end up with the same poor health too. How many people do you know with diabetes, heart disease, or some other chronic disease? How many CHILDREN do you know with chronic health conditions like obesity, autism, allergies, ADHD, anxiety and depression? The way we eat is killing us, and it must stop! (Sorry, but a little tough love is needed every now and then).
Don’t worry, you can still eat out out, just less. It’s up to you. As with any lifestyle change, start gradually so you can build consistency. The key here is to make it easy, doable and rewarding enough to do again and again. Let me walk you through my simple “PSP” meal prep system, and how this can work for you.
THE PSP METHOD
Step #1: (P)LAN Your Meals for the Week
On the weekend, I flip through my cookbooks and recipes and choose 5 to make that week. I give myself 2 nights off cooking duty, and we go out or get carry out. If I’m feeling like being nice, I will ask each member of your family to nominate his or her favorite dish for the meal plan.
It’s helpful to have your weekly calendar open for this so that you can choose your meals based what’s going on that day. For example, if I am teaching on Monday afternoon, I usually plan a crock pot meal that my darling husband can serve if I’m not home right at dinner time. You can use your computer (or just pen and paper) to put your menu plan on the fridge.
- Pro Tip #1: If you’re new to meal planning, it can be tempting to cook a new recipe every day. However, you will be exhausted by all the work. Secondly, you may not like any or all of the new recipes and might end up not eating all week. Stick to just one or two new recipes each week!
- Pro Tip #2: Plan at least one crock pot meal each week because they’re so easy, and dinner is ready and waiting when you get home (see above).
- Pro Tip #3: Another thing to consider is doubling the recipe(s), so you can prep and cook once, but have twice the meal at the end. The extras can be taken for lunch, or frozen to pull out the night before a busy day, so you just need to heat it up when you’re ready.
Step #2: (S)HOP from the Grocery List
Once you have a meal plan, make a grocery list. I take a quick look in my fridge, freezer and pantry, and list the ingredients that I need to buy. Yes, you must GET OFF YOUR DUFF and walk to the fridge, because how many times have to forgotten to buy and ingredient because you forgot to check? Having to run out in the middle of cooking is VERY frustrating. I like the app Grocery IQ for making my grocery list. I usually have a list of Favorites, which are staples for the household so I don’t have to enter these items every week.
Once you have your handy-dandy grocery list, hop on over to the store and pick up your essentials. If you don’t have enough food storage containers for your meals, now’s the time to pick up some of those too. I like to shop on Saturday or Sunday.
- Pro Tip #1: If you’re not a fan of washing and chopping produce, then consider buying them already pre-washed and pre-chopped, or even frozen. You can make your meal prep even easier if you don’t mind spending a couple of extra dollars.
- Pro Tip #2: Try Shipt or Instacart if you have no time to shop. Just order your groceries online and have them delivered right to your house!
Step #3: (P)REP Your Meals
After I’ve shopped, I like to set aside 1-2 hours on Sunday for prepping my ingredients. Get your recipes ready, clear off your counter, and put on your favorite podcast or tunes. Get the family involved too! My husband and kiddo help with peeling and chopping veggies. BTW, husbands and older kids can shop too!
At this point, I will prep whatever I can. Sometimes just washing and chopping produce and putting it in containers is a huge time-saver for weeknights. Or, you can go through and make a whole meal, and divide it up into portions and refrigerate or freeze. It’s really up to you, because the more you do now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re hungry.
MY FAVORITE RESOURCES FOR MEAL PLANNING, SHOPPING & PREPPING
While not necessary, the following digital tools can help immensely with the PSP Method…
Gathered Table. An app that let’s you choose your meals from a recipe collections like “Fast & Easy” and “Paleo” or “Vegetarian.” It also sends you a meal plan on Fridays from which you can create a grocery list!
Real Plans. A monthly subscription and app that lets you plan meals and build shopping lists while omitting any food from your plan (great for those with food allergies or on a special diet.
NOT READY FOR MEAL PLANNING & PREPPING?
I understand! Getting to your best health is a process, so it’s OK if you’re not ready for all of the above. See below for a couple of places to go if you want your meals done and delivered right to your house!
Paleo on the Go. Pricey, but great if you want to SKIP meal planning altogether! You will receive pre-cooked frozen meals that are well sourced and grain free. They have nice meals for those with autoimmune conditions too.
The Good Kitchen. Great tasting pre-cooked meals with high quality ingredients!
Clean Plates Detroit. My new favorite LOCAL meal service. They deliver pre-cooked meals twice weekly. Their meals are delicious, and they specialize in using healthy, high quality ingredients. Use my discount code “HHS” for $10 off your first order!
Consider Freezer Cooking. Every few months, I host a freezer cooking workshop at my house, using pastured & grass-fed John Henry’s meats and Wildtree organic spices. Most or all of the ingredients are delivered to my house, and we assemble 10-20 meals for you to freeze and cook later. It’s such a relief to me to know that I can put 20 meals in the freezer with an investment of just 60-90 minutes. And it’s a great way to socialize with my Healthy Happy peeps too! Keep your eyes peeled for the next workshop, likely to be held in January…
I truly believe that the best thing you can do for your health is to EAT REAL FOOD! The easiest way to accomplish this is to Plan, Shop, and Prep your meals. I hope you will try this out at least just once so you can experience the joy REAL food. Let me know how it works out!