Good afternoon folks! I have two things for you today. 1) My weekly meal planning tips. 2) A review of a body weight workout that I did last night.
Weekly Meal Planning Tips
As a person who works full time and also a Registered Dietitian, I rely on meal planning to help me out in many ways:
Reason #1: Meal planning and prepping is a HUGE time saver.
Reason #2: Meal planning is a money saver.
Reason #3: Meal planning gives me a space to make sure that I am incorporating healthy habits into my lifestyle.
Fun Fact: These are all tips that I use with my outpatient counseling patients.
Reason #1: Meal planning and prepping saves time. We have all had times when we have come home from a long day at work, opened up the fridge and didn’t have a clue as to what we should make for dinner. For me, this ends two ways, I either spend 10-15 minutes looking up a recipe to make with what I have on hand (and we end up eating an hour later) or I grab the eggs and say that we are having breakfast for dinner….again. On the bright side, this has taught me how to throw some things into a pan and make a great stir-fry dish and I also have perfected my scrambled eggs however, this is not ideal. It is much better to come home to the smell of a crockpot, have some components of my meal already chopped and ready to throw in the pan or oven, or have an exact idea of what I am making so that I don’t have to think, I can just do.
To help me plan I take time the week before I go shopping and decide on the recipes I will be using. I use Pinterest 100% of the time. I like that I can type in specific ingredients if I have extra this or that still at home. I save all the recipes to a page I have. Here is a link to my Pinterest page if you want to check out the types of recipes I typically use. I try to do some crock pot or one-pot recipes to cut down on dishes as well. I like to use vegetarian recipes when I can and I typically choose ground turkey or chicken meat dishes.
I think write the recipes I will be making on chart that lists the days of the week. At the same time I write my grocery list to take with me to the store. Then when I get there I know exactly what I am buying.
Reason #2: Meal planning is a money saver. Personally, I try to spend $60 per week on groceries if I can. This helps my husband and I stick to a budget. I do very well with this budget when I shop at places like Aldi and Trader Joes. I do not do well with the budget when I go to larger supermarkets. I have a confession for you all – I have never bought anything from Whole Foods before. I don’t even think I have stepped a foot inside their doors. I have read articles though, talked with patients, friends, and colleagues and I have a pretty solid understanding that stores like Whole Foods would blow my weekly grocery budget out of the water. Also as a RD that works for a low-income population, I hear a lot of claims and statements like, “I can’t eat healthy, its too expensive.” My heart breaks when I hear that because I know which stores they are associating “healthy foods” with. I am always trying to promote the good food that can be found at Aldi and Trader Joes and try to work against the thought that Whole Foods and others like it are the only places you can shop if you are a Registered Dietitian or a person trying to be healthier.
Side note – walking into a grocery store with a list will usually result in less impulse buys which is good for health and your wallet!
Reason #3: Meal planning makes me healthier. As a RD I have to eat what I preach, right? So that means that I have to intentionally plan vegetables, lean meats and vegetarian protein options, low fat dairy, fresh fruit, and whole grains into my week. When I look for recipes on Pinterest, I try to make them fit into that category. I also try to eliminate using canned soups for recipes (lots of added sodium and calories), spice packets (high in sodium), high fat dairy products, items with too much added sugar, etc. Basically, the more basic and fresh the ingredients going into my meal, the better nutritional quality my meal is going to be.
Here are a couple of meal planning tools, offered by http://www.choosemyplate.gov that might help you get started with weekly meal planning:
Monday-Sunday Meal Plan Template: grocery_gameplan_interactive
Grocery List Template: grocery_list_interactive
Body Weight Workout Review
Yesterday I did the body weight workout that I was supposed to do on the weekend It went great, but I made some adjustments to make it last longer and increase the difficulty. Here is the original: http://sweetandstrongblog.com/2016/12/12-days-of-christmas-bodyweight-workout/
What I did for a 25 minute-ish workout:
10 sumo squats
5 star jumps
10 single-leg tricep dips, each side
20 bicycle crunches
10 mountain climbers – count 1 for every other step
5 squat jumps
10 alternating lunges
5 jumping jacks
10 plank shoulder taps
*Repeat 4-5 times through, rest in after finishing the set and catch your breath for the next set
I did this 4 times through and then added a few 1-minute planks, push-ups, and some booty burner exercises such as these: http://fitnessista.com/barre-based-booty-burner/ I didn’t have a ball for these but I did mostly the hand and knee exercises.
It was quite a good experience! Today I feel a little sore but not too bad!
See you all tomorrow!
Question of the day: Do you have any great tips for planning and prepping that make meals during the week a quicker affair?