“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Okay, it's Monday and your goal is to eat healthy, home-cooked meals and stay on track without having to sacrifice the yumminess factor... should be easy enough?
You start each week with a positive intention but somewhere along the road, life gets in the way and staying on track climbs down your priority list.
Good news! All you need is a meal planning and prepping routine that will help you smoothly lay the course and maneuver through the week like a boss.
So what makes meal planning so awesome?
Most of our unaccomplished plans fail due to a lack of convenience. Midweek, when you have a ton of deadlines piling up, unscheduled events and all sorts of situations to deal with, you can't really prioritize heading home to plan, shop for and cook yourself a wholesome meal. But if that meal is ready, waiting for you, packed in a cute container you have no good reasons to skip it and head to the closest fast food joint. It’s convenient, therefore easily achievable.
The feel-good factor
You get a fresh start at the beginning of each week which brings an overall renewed optimism. It's a trick that works, so utilizing it to your benefit is a win-win idea. Then, at the end of each week, you will feel a-ma-zing having reached your goals. Feel free to beam with pride; you earned it.
Lots and lots of money, that is. According to the stats, the average household spends an average of $3,008 per year on dining out. When you plan and prep your meals once or twice a week you minimize the need to spend money on restaurants or takeaways. Plus you get to plan your grocery shopping as well so that you don't end up buying more food than you actually need.
Making use of the healthy ingredients in your pantry
Start building your meal-plan around the ingredients that you already have. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all. The simplest the better. If you have a seemingly boring packet of spaghetti in your cupboard, grab some garlic and some olive oil to turn those into an exceptional meal. Nothing beats a steaming bowl of pasta al olio sprinkled with a generous dose of parmesan when you come home at the end of a long day.
The easiest way to control your portions is to have everything measured in single-serving sizes when you cook. And that's a piece of cake with meal prepping as you divide everything into your containers since you have a clear view of all the upcoming meals. When you make it impossible to cheat, a good habit is already formed without even trying!
Meal Prepping with Olive Oil
- Start with a few drops of olive oil to sauté your ingredients.
- Add a few drops of raw olive oil over your cooked meals to enhance flavor and depth.
- Use olive oil to make homemade dressings and dips.
- Keep a few travel packets handy to drizzle over your packed salads. This way the ingredients stay fresh and crispy.
- Marinade your meat or vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice, and spices, for a couple of hours while you are meal prepping or working on other recipes. The oil penetrates the first layers of food, making it so satisfying that you won't even think of takeaways during the week.
- If you are making homemade pesto or sauce add a thin layer on top of it after you store it in a jar to ensure it stays fresh longer.
- Bake with olive oil. Loaves of bread, energy bars or any type of baked goods you are planning on making ahead are ideal candidates! Turn every recipe into a heart-friendly meal by swapping butter with olive oil.
Here’s a meal-planning checklist to set you off to a good start!
Let us know how meal planning is working out for you and share your tips and hacks with our community!