On Sundays, as the weekend winds down and the workweek looms, we all hit the reset button. There’s no better time to make a small change with a big impact than by planning meals for the whole week. If you prefer to spend your Sundays blissfully ignorant of what the week will bring, bear with us. Spending Sundays in the kitchen isn’t without benefits.
First, it can help you stay on track and avoid unhealthy choices. It could also save you from ordering takeout more times than your bank account allows. But there's more to it than healthy eating and penny pinching. Ever found yourself entirely incapable of answering the simple question of, "What’s for dinner?" after a busy work day? We have - and more than once. Being prepared helps limit stress throughout the week. It can reduce food waste, too, so you can feel good about the way you eat. Convinced? Slightly intrigued? Great.
To help you along the way, we’ve put together seven tips for healthy meal-planning:
1. Put it in writing:
Like any good chef, you need to let your family or roommates know about the great meals you have planned. Put up a chalk menu board in your kitchen and write down the different meals you plan to make for each day.
2. Grab a notepad (and maybe a calculator, too):
Sometimes, meal-planning involves a bit of math. Unless you’re a former (or current) mathlete, we’d suggest jotting down a few notes as you figure out how many cups of tomatoes and quinoa you’ll need for the week.
3. Get creative:
No one likes to eat leftovers for five days straight; mix things up.
4. Snacks are key:
When the mid-afternoon slump hits, it’s easy to get derailed – go to work or school prepared with healthy snacks.
5. Keep your food fresh:
Bento boxes, mason jars, jam jars, you name it. One can never have too many containers. And don’t forget, the best meal prep containers are the ones you already have.
6. Make it a group activity:
Meal planning needn’t be a solo mission; enlist the help of friends or family and turn a chore into an event. Each week, someone different can plan the menu. Pro-tip: the host should always provide the wine.
7. Go-to recipes:
Keep those easy-to-make recipes in your back pocket. They’ll come in handy in a pinch. Here’s a hint: select recipes that can be frozen and store them for days when you’re tight on time. Start with our Chana Masala or Curried Red Lentil & Spinach Soup.
Remember, there’s no harm in treating yourself now and again, though skipping a meal or grabbing fast food is seldom the answer. Now, you’re ready to start your week off right, so get planning.