Meal Planning for Beginners

With the New Year comes new resolutions! Every year, mine is to drop the weight I gained the year before and get healthy. This year is no different.

Last week, I was flipping channels late at night and magically the Lizzie McGuire movie came on ABC Family. Judge away, I love that movie. So, of course, I stayed up an extra two hours to watch it. I finished singing along with “Hey Now,” cheered when she and Gordo kissed, and finally got ready for bed. However, at this point we had ventured into uncharted infomercial territory and something caught my eye.
Tom Bergeron was helping sell this cool weight-loss program called the 21-Day Fix. There were cute little containers and toned super humans and I couldn’t not stop and watch. Well the next day, I was the proud owner of the 21-Day Fix.
So far, I’ve completed one day…but it went well. The program helps with portion control by allowing the user to plan their meals into super-adorable color-coded portion-controlled containers. That was a lot of hyphens…
The hardest part is meal planning. I’ve never been one for meal planning…as in I’ve failed every time I’ve tried, but I am so determined to succeed this time. So here are my tips after one day of meal prepping. Clearly I’m an expert so take my advice with a grain of salt…
Plan:
-Buy proper Tupperware. If you are planning on heating
anything up at all during the week, make sure they are BPA free, microwave and
dishwasher safe. It’s helpful to have similar sizes that can stack. Obviously I’m
using the cutesy colored ones from the fix program, but since I’m prepping for
a few days, I have to have extras to store and use the colored ones for
measuring. I recommend these.

-Know exactly what you are going to eat each day that week.
Pinterest your recipes, plan your snacks, etc. Make a list of all the
ingredients and then make a separate list for those you don’t currently
possess. This becomes your shopping list. Ta-Da!
-Go shopping. Don’t buy extra. Plan for the week and the week
only.
-Create daily counters, spreadsheets, menus, etc. Whatever
you will need for the week. The 21-Day Fix has awesome tally sheets, but it’s
very easy to create your own specific to your plan. Keep them on your fridge so
you can check things off as you go.
Prep:
-Each plan is different, but Sundays are your friend. Prepare
your proteins- cook your turkey, bake your chicken, boil your eggs, etc. If you’re
like me, the odds of cooking anything on the week nights are slim to none so
get any major cooking out of the way early.
Timing:
-Here is the tricky part. Some foods will spoil if prepped
too early. For example, if you slice your apples on Sunday, odds are they will
be brown before Thursday…or Monday afternoon. Be prepared to spend an hour or
so each night packing and preparing for the next day. This applies mainly to
fruits and veggies.
Hacks:
-Some things you can prepare on Sunday and freeze to cook
later in the week. For example, you can marinate your chicken breasts and then
put them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer until you are ready to cook them.
-Crock pots are the best. If you’re not going to cook your
meals on Sunday, then at least prep them and put them in the crock pot while
you are at work to save some free time.
-Save and dressings or sauces on the side and put them on right before you eat so your food doesn’t get soggy.
 
Have you ever meal planned? What are your favorite tips?

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Hel On Heels is an Atlanta-based life and style blog by Helen Gaillet Bailey. Hel On Heels is intended to be a digital magazine written by your best friend.

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10 Comments

  1. 1.5.16

    Not gonna lie the double bonus of those tupperware containers being cute and colorful while also being portion control really has me intrigued…

  2. 1.5.16

    SO happy you're doing the Fix! I love it! I have a Pinterest Board full of Fix Approved Recipes that I've used

  3. 1.5.16

    Amen to good tupperware! I got 3 BOXES worth for Christmas from the BF (which he was sort of in the doghouse for because how is that a gift and not an insult saying I need to be more organized?) But still they are the nice rubbermaid stackable ones and they have been perfect for all the prep. So I guess he's sort of forgiven. I love to prep stuff for the crock pot and do one protein Sunday for lunches, it seems to work out well for me. I want to get into freezing more stuff in advance though!

  4. 1.5.16

    i have failed every single time i attempted meal planning. this year it is on my list to master though, so here's hoping. thanks for the tips, they really helped!

  5. 1.5.16

    I suck at meal prepping. I basically make one huge meal and then eat it for days and get so sick of it…

  6. 1.6.16

    I meal plan-ish. I don't do dinners or snacks right now, but cook breakfast and lunch on Sundays. I want to try the 21 Day fix… I have been doing the workouts (BeachBody OnDemand) but need to institute the food part!

  7. 1.6.16

    Great tips! I used to be a crazy meal planner, now that i've moved a couple times I find myself just foraging the kitchen for whatever I can put into the oven to make into a meal. I can't wait to get back into planning.

  8. 1.8.16

    So I came over here to check out your blog via Kristen and then I saw you were in Atlanta!!! I lived in and around Atlanta for 13 years before I moved here to Birmingham. Love following people from my old stomping grounds 🙂 Love all your planning tips. I am a huge meal planner, have been doing it for two years and cant stop!

  9. 1.11.16
    Staci said:

    Hi Helen!

    Found your blog through Kristen's at SeeYouInAPorridge! Love all these tips! I do all of them! Except I do cook dinner each night (no protein prep on Sundays for week night dinners), but usually something easy! Another great tip I've realized, is make your weekly menu around similar grocery items. This provides a lot less waste! I.e. chicken fajitas one night, stuffed peppers another night, sliced peppers with dip (for a lunch side), etc.! Lots of the same ingredients can be used in different dishes so things don't become mundane or wasted =]

    Can't wait to follow along!

    Staci
    http://www.missbloodymary.com

  10. 2.1.16

    Fat Diminisher By Wes Virgin is a best meal plan to lose weight as well as get healthy.

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