The hustle and bustle of everyday life can often leave us feeling drained. Between dropping off the kids, working, and attempting to remain sane, eating well often falls off the list. For me life is all about planning. If it is not written down, it is not going to happen. There I said it aloud.
Meal/menu planning has been a game changer on my wellness journey. While my time and energy is limited, it is important for me to make sure I am feeding myself and my family well.
Now everybody loves a laid-back Sunday. Sunday for me is a day to regroup and prepare for my week. This coveted day of rest can also be an essential first step toward a highly productive and healthy week, with just a little planning.
Okay, you still aren’t convinced you should give up your weekend to plan your menu for the week?
Read on to see my favorite perks of meal prep and tips to make your Sunday cooking session easy and convenient for your busy life! Plus, I’ve included two of my favorite recipes.
1. Cooking relieves stress
If you’re like me, the kitchen can provide a wonderful outlet for serenity and creativity. It’s a place where you can let go of the negativity and stress in the world and solely focus on the task at hand. The kitchen is also the perfect place to try something new—whether that is a recipe, a technique, or a spice that you’ve never used before. I challenge you to shake it up in the kitchen and add your own personal flavor to your favorite meal prep recipes.
2. Meal prep saves time and money
When your week is dedicated to kids, work, personal fitness, and everything in between, figuring out what you want to do for lunch and dinner can be a hassle. This uncertainty is also a gateway to overspending and overeating if you choose a restaurant over a home-cooked meal. Do something good for both your wallet and your body by preparing healthy options before your alarm goes off Monday morning, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the time and money you save on food. Plus, you’ll be able to choose what goes in your kids’ lunches so you can rest assured that they are getting the nutrition that they need throughout the day.
3. Pre-planned meals help you achieve your fitness goals
If not for the above benefits, at least plan your meals on Sunday so that you can slim down and stay healthy. When I’m rushing between meetings and school activities, it is so much more tempting for me to stop and grab something on the go. Those little cheats add up and in turn, throw me off balance in the course of my journey toward holistic wellness. That’s not to say that a little cheat here and there isn’t welcome, but pre-planning balanced meals ahead of time will certainly empower you to stay on course and accomplish the health milestones that you work so hard to reach.
And hey, who’s to say that perfectly wholesome meals can’t be delicious too?
Now that we know why meal prep is important, let’s talk a little bit about how to successfully abide by this plan. These tips work for me and my crazy life, so I hope they add a little convenience to yours too.
· Chop your own herbs and veggies to avoid overpriced pre-cut produce
· Stick to your shopping list—don’t let junk food sneak in to your cart!
· Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store since processed foods live in the aisles
· Play around with herbs in your recipes for added flavor and nutritional benefits
· Don’t forget about drinkable meals— smoothies are a great way to boost breakfast!
· Mix up recipes every week to avoid repetition and boredom
Need ideas on where to start? Check out two of my favorite recipes below:
1 cup favorite non-dairy nut milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (can sub out 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
sea salt to taste
2 chopped dates
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 sliced banana (frozen is great!)
Optional toppings: cacao nibs, berries, pumpkin seeds, fresh fruit
· Put all the ingredients in a Mason jar, refrigerate overnight, and enjoy in the morning!
· Add in more fruit or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup if you want more sweetness.
ONE-PAN CHICKEN FAJITAS
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large yellow and red bell peppers, sliced and seeded
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into tender-sized slices
1 lime, juiced
your choice of toppings: salsa, avocado, goat cheese, pepitas
· Line a baking sheet with foil, and preheat the broiler to high.
· Mix the chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.
· In a larger bowl, toss the peppers and onions with 1 tablespoon oil and place on the baking sheet.
· Season with half of the chili powder mixture. Broil for about 10 minutes, until peppers and onions are soft and starting to char.
· Toss the chicken with the remaining spice mixture and 1 tablespoon oil. Add to the baking sheet with the charred veggies, and broil for 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and beginning to brown.
· Drizzle with the lime juice and add salt/pepper to taste.
· Remove the oven and put on a serving platter, with your choice of toppings.
Tatiana Mone, is the owner of Tatiana Mone Fitness. Above all else, she is a mother, and also a certified health coach and personal trainer. She holds an MBA and her experience working in corporate America and as a military spouse helps her relate to clients. Tatiana works with busy, everyday women, and specializes in prenatal and postpartum wellness. Her passion is helping women develop a plan that fits their goals and lifestyles. Tatiana doesn’t believe in fad diets or extremes. The goal is sustainability.
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