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My Easy & Healthy Meal Planning Process

Hello, gorgeous Bettys and Baldwins!  I’ve missed you all weekend and am SO GLAD we’re back to Monday.

To start this week off, I wanted to chat through a topic that has been a part of my life on and off for several years – meal planning.  In the past, I have been the type to fully plan out every meal, sometimes looking at the overall nutrition facts (If it Fits Your Macros, or “IIFYM”), sometimes just looking at only the calorie count.  Obviously, IIFYM was a lot more preferable, as sometime the healthiest foods have the most calories, however, I found neither of these methods to be sustainable long term.  They are perfect ways to monitor your intake if you’re prepping for an event or if you’re just getting back to working out, but for me, neither one of these tracking processes has been the answer for me in leading towards a full life of health.

My Process Today

My


Today, my process is to focus on a some specific factors across all meals, rather than counting specific nutrition facts.:

  • Eat four small meals across the day, and one larger meal with Ray for dinner.  While eating bigger meals earlier has regularly been recommended, I enjoy the time I get to spend with Ray making our meal together.  So I’ll eat outside of recommendations for this one and adjust my other meals accordingly.
  • Drink a large glass of water alongside or just before every meal.  For me, a lot of my hunger is actually dehydration – a product of living in a desert climate, as well as just being just plain dehydrated like many of us are today.  This “rule” has helped me to stop over-eating, because I don’t feel like I’m starving the second food hits my plate.
  • Try to avoid, not stop eating, carbs.  I am not the type to completely stop eating carbs, and I truthfully do not feel that’s the best diet for most people.  However, I typically love eating a granola bar, oatmeal, a baguette on the side of my Panera, and/or toast with my eggs at breakfast.  Because I’m okay with eating carbs when I have the hankering, I try to avoid them outside of planned meals.  I try to have two or three meals of the day without carbs included.
  • Include bright colors in most meals of the day.  Essentially, this tip is really designed to keep me thinking about fruits and veggies across the day.  I try to make my meals a variety of colors and include bright colors as much as possible. Blackberries, brussle sprouts, and red onions are my recent favorites to add a lot of flavor and color to some of our go-to meals.

Meals for this Week

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I get incredibly consistent across the week for my first four meals each day, primarily because I eat them at work – breakfast, snack, lunch, and snack.  (I’ll discuss these all in a future post.)  Our usual dinners include an equal mix of a protein and a vegetable.  Not much meal prep is necessary with these meals, but I do prefer to do the slicing and dicing earlier in the week if we have the time.  Below is what we are planning to make for dinners this week.  Most do not involve recipes and are quick, easy meals to pull together across our regularly packed evenings.  (I’ve italicized anything we’re prepping in advance.):

  • Monday: Spicy Italian Sausages & Green Peppers (a quick meal due a Junior League meeting I have that evening) – Slicing green peppers
  • Tuesday: Out to dinner downtown to celebrate my birthday! – No prep necessary, except for making reservations
  • Wednesday: Hamburger Patty & Grilled Asparagus – Cutting off the ends of the asparagus
  • Thursday: Chicken & Brussel Sprouts – Slicing the brussel sprouts
  • Friday: Wedding for a Great Blogger Friend! – No prep necessary, except for buying a gift and looking fierce in a black tie optional dress
  • Saturday: Pork Chops & Roasted Carrots – Purchased pre-peeled carrots
  • Sunday: Sunday night is pizza night in our household – We’re going with a frozen pizza because we have a lot going on and need a minute to relax

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

What is your typical meal planning process?

Do you have any “rules to live by” when you put together your meals for the week?

Create a great life!

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  • Reply lexilife

    I don’t tend to plan well in advance like yourself – I feel like it restricts me to what I can have! I like to give myself one treat day where I can pretty much eat whatever I want for dinner. That gives me the motivation to carry on eating clean throughout the week 🙂

    http://www.lexilife95.wordpress.com

    February 22, 2016 at 6:55 am
    • Reply semisweettooth

      That’s a great idea! Anything that’s flexible and sustainable works from my side. Love your idea of allowing one flexible meal. Thanks for sharing!

      February 22, 2016 at 7:17 am
  • Reply Candy Stilettos

    Meal planning helps so much to stay on track!! xxo
    Jamie
    http://www.jamieeeverafter.com

    February 22, 2016 at 10:23 am
    • Reply semisweettooth

      Definitely agree with you! And it saves so much time and money. Wins all around. 🙂

      February 22, 2016 at 10:53 am

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