My Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Back to Routine with Meal Planning!
September is here and with this new season you are finally going to get into a routine of taking care of yourself – starting with a meal plan! That’s great! So, where do you start?
Start with making a list of meal ideas. Consider meals that you know you (and your family) enjoy. They can be simply chicken with Italian seasoning, rice and broccoli with cheese, or they can be more complex recipe like a Mexican rice casserole. Write these meals ideas down to refer to, and try to list ideas for each type of protein you consume, i.e. chicken, beef, pork, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, etc. or perhaps different types of cuisine such as Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, etc. You may also decide to make a list of snacks that you enjoy for quick reference.
If you would like to add new recipes to your list of meal ideas, choose recipes that have at least a few familiar ingredients to better your chances of wanting to make it again. Want help discovering new recipes? Call the clinic to book a FREE 15-minute mini phone consultation with me to find out the different services I offer and receive a complimentary recipe.
To create a balanced meal for long lasting energy, include 3 things:
- A source of protein – meat, fish, beans & legumes, eggs, dairy products, etc.
- A whole grain or starchy vegetable – rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, whole grain tortillas or bread, potatoes, sweet potato, squash or corn
- Vegetables and/or fruit – aim to have an equal amount of vegetables to fruit throughout the day
Now that you have your meal ideas, it’s time to pick which meals you are going to have this week. Set aside 10-15 minutes each week to decide what you want to eat. Start by taking inventory of what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry and if there is anything that should be used soon, include it in your meal plan for the week. Next, check the sales and ask the members of your household for their input. You may also decide to assign a theme to each night of the week to help make this process easier, such as Mexican Tuesday, pasta Wednesday or pizza Friday. Set reminders to remember to take foods out of the freezer as needed, or to put your ingredients in the slow cooker.
Once you have decided your meals and snacks you can make your grocery list, go shopping and the most crucial step is done – you have decided what you are going to eat and you have the food in the house that you need to make your meals for the week!
From there, the amount of meal prep that you do depends on what your needs are and how much time you have on the weekend to prep, or how much time to have to get meals ready during the week. You’ve already completed level 1 just by creating your plan and setting reminders, and maybe that’s good enough for you. Level 2 consists of some basic meal prep. Level 3 includes basic meal prep plus some additional lunches to add variety, and level 4 is 100% pre-prepped meals so that you only have to reheat them throughout the week. This is where I can help come up with a customized plan including recipes to suit your needs and the needs of your household, and help you organize your meal prep to use your time wisely.
For the month of September we are offering a FRESH START package that includes an initial assessment with myself, your Registered Dietitian and one of our Kinesiologists, a follow-up including a customized exercise plan and nutrition plan to help you manage your health, your time and/or any food intolerances you may have. Finally, you will get to meet again with each health professional to evaluate your progress and guide you in making any necessary changes. And as an added bonus, you will receive a free punch card for the gym and pool for four 30-minute sessions. Give us a call we will happily go through all the details with you and discuss the different follow-up options.