Ah, writing this post has been on my to-do list since Tuesday. But then the first week of classes hit (I've literally forgotten how to do homework) and my blogging schedule got shot to pieces.
So without further ado:
How I Meal Plan and Prep
(Alternately titled: How I Eat Nutritious Foods On the Go Without Losing My Mind)
The first time I did the 21 Day Fix, I was determined to make the most of it. So I armed myself with all the information on meal planning the Internet had to offer and set to work. It's now a year later and I've learned to refine my game plan a little bit. Since August, I haven't had a meal plan, so 1) it's become entirely my responsibility to cook every meal and 2) budgeting has become much more of an issue. Oop.
Disclaimer: I can eat the same food all week and not get tired of it. So I make huge family-sized portions and have identical meals five times in seven days. Adjust as you will.
When I first started meal planning, I did it all digitally. If you want to check out that file, download it here.
It's intensely organized because I was literally starting from scratch. To make sure I was getting all my containers in--SO important on the 21DF--I also color-coded the words (that file isn't a finished plan; just a sketch). I was also just coming out of some restrictive behaviors and no idea what it felt like to eat intuitively. Now, as you'll be able to tell, things are much less organized and much more me...but still occasionally color-coded. :) (Just keeping it real.)
Note: if you are eating from the 21DF containers, don't be afraid to eat more. Those container counts are a starting point. If you're hungry, go u p. Your body needs fuel!! Autumn even says that when she's prepping for a competition, she eats in the highest bracket.
Now, I'm much more lax about it, but I do keep an eye on my containers to ensure that I'm getting a good spread of food groups because, honestly, if I don't, my dinner becomes a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a few carrots. Maybe. And then my stomach hurts and I regret everything.
My meal plans start with a sketch for the week, like this. (I don't usually include weekends because I end up going out with friends and/or having leftovers.)
The first thing I put down on my weekly chart is my Shakeology. It is a non-negotiable for me and just starts my day off on the right foot! Who doesn't like to have chocolate for breakfast?! I draw my recipe inspiration from Pinterest--especially now that I'm going vegetarian!--and just find something that looks good enough to eat for a week.
I also go ahead and make my grocery list as I plan because it is 900% easier than trying to remember everything later. Trust me.
Then it's just time to make everything!
I make as much as possible ahead of time, so the only things I have to do in the morning is to divvy up portions and get it into my backpack. This week, I made baked salmon and asparagus for dinner, black bean salad over kale for lunches, and had veggie burgers mixed in there for when I wanted something quick and easy.
I swear by frozen vegetables and salad greens for rounding out a meal. So versatile! So easy! Also s n a c k s. I don't just get hangry--I get the hangry munchies. You know those people who reach a certain point of hunger and will just shove whatever they can reach into their mouths? Yup, that's me.
It's just so nice to come home over a 10-hour day on campus and have dinner ready to go!