by Aimee Wojtowecz
You know that being successful with your nutrition goals takes some planning and preparation but it often feels overwhelming to start. Here are 5 easy steps to start implementing some planning and preparation in your life!
1. Start with a plan
Being prepared doesn’t have to mean making every single thing you’re going to eat for every single meal all week, but it does mean that you need a plan. Take out a piece of paper or a calendar, look at your schedule and write down anything that might be an obstacle that week. Kids have a late night soccer game on Tuesday? Write that down. Work lunch on Thursday? Write that down. Now fill in your meals knowing that Tuesday you need something quick and easy or a crockpot meal that you can start in the morning before you leave and Thursday you don’t need to bring lunch. Remember too that not everything has to be homemade from scratch to help you meet your goals. Don’t have time to make breakfast? Plan on buying a box of frozen Kodiak Cake waffles or breakfast burritos. Hate chopping vegetables? Pay the extra for pre-chopped, it will save you time and stress.
2. Grocery shop
Now that you know what meals you’re going to need this week you can make your grocery list. This cuts down on impulse buying and food waste because you only buy what you need to make meals and snacks; you’re not just throwing anything that catches your eye into the cart. It also ensures that when you’re going to make your meal that you haven’t forgotten something. There’s nothing like going to make buffalo chicken and realizing you don’t have any buffalo sauce!
3. Set aside time for prep
This is usually the part where people get thrown off in their plan. Taking time for meal prep does not mean dedicating an entire Sunday afternoon to cooking. It could mean that you’re taking 20 minutes to chop up vegetables for snacks while you’re making a batch of pulled chicken in your Instant Pot (Also if you don’t have a pressure cooker get yourself one! It’s a huge timesaver and can double as a crockpot.). Even the smallest bit of preparation for the week ahead can save you time and stress.
4. Store your foods conveniently
Does your fridge have room for 5 days of individual meals? Do you have enough containers for food storage? Are these containers portable, leakproof, shatterproof? Do you need to take a cooler to store your food for the day or do you have access to a refrigerator?
5. Follow through with your plan
When life happens during the week – a rescheduled game, an unexpected late work night – it can be hard to stay committed to your plan. Remember that you’ve already done some of the prep work and you would hate to waste that food but also that reaching your goals requires consistency and occasionally some discipline and tough choices. That’s why it’s important to also build some fun into your plan! Include plenty of vegetables of course but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy homemade pizza one night, schedule a dinner out at your favorite restaurant, or meet friends for drinks. These can all be part of a healthy balanced nutrition plan.
We’re all striving for food freedom and a healthy relationship with our nutrition and it might seem counterintuitive to actually implement more discipline but meal planning and prepping doesn’t have to be one more stressful chore. It’s ok to take some shortcuts where you need to. It’s not about perfection but rather being 1% better than yesterday. As Jocko Willink says “Freedom is what everyone wants – to be able to act and live with freedom. But the only way to get to a place of freedom is through discipline.”.
If you need help with accountability and planning we’ve got tools for that!