Meal planning. Ugh. It’s just one of those things that I dread and that I’m not very good at. If I do it, though, everything about my week runs smoother. I don’t worry about grocery shopping — I buy what I need for the planned meals and, boom, there it is in my kitchen just waiting to be prepared. I don’t worry about being tempted to go through the drive-thru, or if I’m going to have time to prepare a meal. When I plan meals, I work around my schedule and I can easily substitue a simpler meal if one night becomes too busy for something more complicated.
Bottom line, though, meal planning is better for my weight-loss efforts. No way around it. When I have the foods I need to prepare three meals a day, plus healthy options for snacks, I’m much, much less tempted to eat junk food or give in to cravings. (Planning for those cravings by having certain treats around is OK, in my opinion, as long as you can control yourself not to eat ALL the treats in one sitting!)
Here’s what I planned for this week:
Monday: Parmesan chicken + pasta + green beans
Tuesday: hamburger sliders + green beans
Wednesday: honey mustard pretzel chicken + noodle mix + green beans
Thursday: cranberry chicken + roasted potatoes + green beans
The Wednesday night dish is a recipe I found on Pinterest that I intend to lighten up (I have another recipe in mind if I can’t lighten this one enough; I’ll let you know how the recipe is!). I do buy noodles mixes from time to time, but I watch my portion size and plan accordingly to fit in the points with the rest of my day. Green beans night after night, you may be thinking? Well, we bought a big package of fresh beans and we generally don’t mind eating the same veggie (I try to get in carrots or something else at lunch!). One thing I’m learning is, if I want to make something like hamburgers and I want to eat the bun, I’m OK with eating it without baked fries or another starch. It really is filling enough. We also eat burgers without buns quite often, too.
It’s possible this menu change a little, and maybe I’ll add a side salad here or there, but even just having these basic meals — nothing fancy, easy to count WW points — is so helpful to me. Now I can plan my lunches and breakfasts accordingly because I know exactly what I’ll be eating for dinner at night. For example, my lunch yesterday was pretty high in points, but I ate a light breakfast and knew what I was eating for dinner, so I could work it all in.
Do you meal plan? What else do you do to make eating healthfully easier throughout the week?
Love My Body Project #3: I love my legs! Maybe they’re a little thick for some, but my legs are strong. They’ve helped me run/walk two half marathons, they don’t give out on me (much!) during intense spinning classes and they look pretty damn good in heels. I have a few scars — stitches after falling off the merry-go-round in fourth grade, two dents in my shins from the jump box at volleyball practice, a long scrape from a rusty nail at the lake — but they’re beautiful anyway.