meal planning calendar Does the thought of preparing food for your family during the week overwhelm you, or seem like it is just one more thing that you ‘have to do‘, but barely have time for?!?

I remember feeling this way a lot, as a matter of fact, I realized I had always felt that way! It wasn’t long after I got married that I realized that cooking was not easy, I did not grow up with a mom who liked to cook so I did not spend time learning until I HAD to. Twelve years later, I found out I had many food allergies and I needed to learn how to cook differently especially if I was going to stay on track with healthy eating and living.  (Let’s face it… sometimes when you are overly hungry or busy it’s easy to grab anything in sight, regardless of how healthy it is!) If that sounds familiar in any way, don’t worry… there is a solution!

I have found that the best possible way to live a healthy lifestyle and have delicious meals my family loves all week long is by meal prepping!  The best part is that I live in PEACE! No more stressing at 5:00!

There are so many benefits to having one (or two) meal prep days during the week, but some of the best things about it save me time, money while allowing me to stay on track with eating healthy.

Step 1; Plan

I like to do my planning on the weekend before I do my big shop. I look at my calendar for the week and I figure out the best days for me to cook and the best days to reassemble and then reuse (leftovers). I usually find family favorites to incorporate into the week as well so the kids can look forward to nights like breakfast for dinner.

Step 2; Shop

After I know what days I want to cook and an idea of what I want to buy at the store, I add the items from the recipes to my list. Then, I tackle the store. I find the easiest way to stay healthy throughout the week is to do much more of my shopping on the outside of the store walls (your produce, meats, deli, etc.) staying away from the center where many more of the pre-packaged foods lie. There will be things you need there for sure, but have them on your list and try not to buy things NOT on the list.

Step 3; Put Away and Prepare

When I get home and unload, I keep out the produce to wash, chop and bag up. I put away all the stuff I don’t need and then get to work… I like to put foods for lunches in little snack baggies for the week for the kids lunches then they’re easy to grab. I do the same for my salad stuff and smoothie fixings. If I am making stuff with turkey, beef or other meets I cook them ahead of time, in a double batch  or at least marinade them.  And then I do the same with rice or other pasta’s. Lastly I put away into the fridge and freezer what I don’t need right away.

I have found that when I plan ahead and think ahead, all of the crazy panicky feelings diminish because I do have a plan! I have found the worst case is moving from one night to the next what I had planned for the week is all I end up dealing with and that has helped a lot!

If you are looking for a little help in this department, I can help you! Did you know that I have an ongoing meal plan boot camp for those who need a little help and encouragement??  I provide meal ideas and strategies, videos with tips, recipes, planners, print outs and more!! Come check out my very affordable program HERE

Feel free to come on over to Coach Paula on Facebook and tell me what you do to save time in the kitchen! What are your favorite ways to plan for the coming week that save you time in the kitchen??