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One Simple Change: Meal Planning

I've talked to countless clients, family, and friends about what their health goals are and what's stopping them from achieving them, and I hear the same story a lot:

I want to feel healthier and stronger and have more energy. I want to eat cleaner and maybe lose some weight.

When I ask them what is stopping them from achieving these goals, the responses are always very similar:

Meal planning. Time (<--that is a big one). Self-discipline.

I want to address the meal planning today because when that is executed, the other things seem to fall into place more easily.

Meal planning can seem daunting and overwhelming if you don't know where to start. So start here...

  • Figure out what your goals are. If you're cooking dinner at home once a week right now, make your goal to cook 3 dinners this week (not 6 or 7). If you're cooking 4 dinners at home, but they aren't that healthy, don't increase how much you're cooking, but rather, consciously make 2 of those meals healthier/cleaner. #onesimplechange
  • Keep it SIMPLE. Start with a protein and one side. Don't feel like you need to have two sides with every meal! Just make more of that one side to keep you satisfied.
  • Think of the produce section at the store when meal planning. Instead of pasta noodles, get a spaghetti squash. Instead of pouring chili on top of Fritos chips, grab a potato. Instead of one sandwich on bread, make two or three wraps with lettuce (you'll take longer to eat them which will fill you up more & keep you energized longer).

Essentially, you're making CONSCIOUS choices now. The "planning" part is important because it's already done by the time you need to make dinner on Wednesday. You don't have to think about it, you already have the ingredients and you already know what you're doing.

I usually take about 30 minutes on Saturday or Sunday to meal plan for the week. On an average week, we eat all breakfasts/lunches at home about 5 homemade dinners every week. I leave room for spontaneous dinners out with friends and/or a night I'm exhausted and don't feel like cooking to grab take-out. ;) Life happens and you need to honor that!

Here are some simple, clean meals to get you started if you need help in this week's meal planning game: