Happy November! It’s been a while. I hope you’ve spent fall around people and things that you cherish. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about dreams and goals. I have lots of goals in the coming months and years, but I’ve come to realize my goals never really go anywhere without a PLAN. Plans are crucial to reaching goals, and in the busyness of fall, I wanted to share with you one way of planning that has been a lifesaver for us: meal planning and prepping.
That’s right – I said it. I LOVE meal planning and prepping. Sure, it can be a major pain in the ass some weeks, but I’ve never regretted doing it. Have you ever thought about it but you’re not quite sure where to start? Or you’re just not super convinced it would be beneficial for you? Take a minute to read a few reasons why meal planning + prepping is so great, and then some tips to help you start! I’ve even included a FREE meal calendar + grocery list with instructions, for your meal planning ease!
- It saves money
This one was really important for us. We knew going into marriage as recent college grads and young professionals our budget would be tight. We decided to experiment with the most flexible part of our budget – food. I love making food – GOOD food. This blog wouldn’t exist if it weren’t so important to me! Would saving money mean I couldn’t experiment like I love to, or eat healthy food, which is just more expensive? Spoiler alert, the answer is no! We eat the same thing for a week at a time, and then switch it up when we want to experiment. It saves us SO much money weekly. If you’re willing to eat the same thing every day, you can spend a fraction of what you normally do on groceries!
2. It saves time
2-3 hours every Sunday evening of hardcore meal prepping saves us countless hours throughout the week. We never have to spend time deciding on lunches, or rushing in the morning to figure out what to bring to work with us because we’re running late. It probably cuts out a lot of potential fights, too. 😉 (Can I get an amen from the married section?)
3. It helps you minimize
I could go on and on about this one, but I’ll save it for another day. Me and J have worked to minimize in lots of ways, and it’s a goal we’re continuing in the coming new year. There are so many excellent resources on how minimizing and simplifying your schedule, possessions, etc. improves mood, helps alleviate unnecessary anxiety, and cuts out decisions that maybe just aren’t that important to make. Minimizing helps us invest our time and thoughts in things that matter.
4. It helps you eat healthy
When you’ve already taken the time to plan and prepare your meals for the week, you’re much less inclined to swing through a drive-thru on your way to work, or eat something you feel guilty about. Because you have more control over your schedule, you’re able to work in exactly what food you need to reach your health goals.
5. It can be fun!
It’s great bonding time for me and J. Or it can be great “me time” when I just want a few task-oriented hours alone in the kitchen. It allows me the freedom to plan when I want to spend a few extra dollars a week and make a new blog recipe. We may not always be able to meal plan and prep to the extent we do now, but we’re so thankful for the good habits it’s formed and the goals it’s allowed us to accomplish!
Below I’ve put together a few PDFs for you to begin your meal planning journey! I’d love to see what fun plans you all come up with! Keep an eye out next week for some of my favorite fall meal preps. Trust me, these are recipes that you won’t mind eating over and over again. 😉
Until next time,
Here are some examples of meal preps we’ve done in the past, with some easy recipes and helpful tips!
It may seem like the food that doesn’t need cooking can wait to be prepped, but trust me – every bit helps! We wash and divide up all of our produce for our lunches so we can just throw a baggie and a tupperware in our lunchboxes the night before, and we’re all set for the next morning!
Honestly, salads are not my favorite meal prep because I just really like fresh salads – BUT these chicken bacon cobb salads are a good go-to when I know it’ll be a busy week and we have heavier dinners planned!
This bake is SUPER easy and so yummy. Pesto chicken – cook chicken at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes. Toss green beans and tomatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano and add to baking sheet with chicken. Bake for 15 more minutes.Okay, okay – our frig isn’t always this neat. But we do try to separate our food by breakfast, lunch, and dinner (top, middle, bottom accordingly.) This little change helps us organize our refrigerator and keep it neat and easy to find things quickly!
Chicken Caprese – mmm, I’m not eating dairy right now but my mouth is watering remembering how yummy this was! Chicken breast, tomato slices, fresh basil, and slices mozzarella – bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.