I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but weekly meal planning and preparation is the best way to make a shift to a healthier lifestyle. It is so much easier to manage dietary changes if you purposefully plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner before you reach the point of hanger. Once you’ve planned and purchased all of the ingredients for your meals, it is so much more difficult to skip a meal or switch to takeout instead.
Though we weekly meal planned like champs over the summer, it is so easy to slip or skip a week. In the spirit of making weekly meal prep even easier, Zack and I decided to make a conscious effort to write out a monthly meal prep plan. A monthly framework that we can repeat until we get seriously tired of it takes care of the weekly process of deciding on new recipes, writing out grocery lists, etc.
Taking it one step further, we decided to divide up the week in the following manner:
“Big Meals” – Meals that may or may not take a while to prep, but will be divided into two dinners and two lunches. Each of us will tackle one big meal for the week. For example: Monday dinner = Tuesday lunch = Wednesday dinner = Thursday lunch
“Easy Meals” – Meals that either Zack or I can easily and quickly prepare for the two of us, without leftovers in mind. By incorporating an easy meal for each of us, we’re both not stuck in the kitchen every night.
“Zack & Jessica Meals” – We still really value cooking together, but we really hate being in the kitchen all night, every night. Instead, we’ve divided our weekly meal prep responsibilities and will choose either a favorite meal or a new meal to cook together each week.
We’re still finalizing the monthly meal plan, but we’ll be rotating through eight “big meals,” eight “easy meals” and four “Zack & Jessica meals” each month. The current plan is to find a monthly plan that works and stick to it until we try enough new variations to add on a week to the monthly plan. A lot of preparation up front, but meal prep should be on autopilot after this! We plan to implement the first week on Sunday, September 4, so I’ll be sure to share our final plan and lessons learned as we go.
I received a question about meal planning / preparation / recipe ideas recently, so I created a meal planning and preparation basics Pinterest board with links and lots of comments. I’ll keep adding to the board as I find ideas, tips and recipes to pass along!
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