I don’t know if it’s just me or not but I am perfectly happy to save the same meal many times a week. As long as I like it, I don’t get bored. For me, the key has been finding healthy and delicious meals that are easy to do. Prepping 10 meals per week takes about 3 hours of my Sunday, including shopping, prep, packing, and washing dishes. Here are the steps I took to make it work for me and stick to the habit…
5 Steps to Making Meal Planning a Habit
1. Find a partner.
I packed my lunch on occasion when I first started working but mostly out of necessity. I wasn’t making much and buying $10-12 lunches every day was getting really expensive. When I tried alone, I packed a PB&J a few times a week before falling out of the habit not long after. Things turned around when C said he wanted to start packing lunches to be healthier. We researched, planned, and prepped together.
2. Keep it SIMPLE.
At first, I wanted to keep things interesting so I was doing curries and stews with farro and quinoa. It stressed me out and often didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. I’d tell C to buy lunch instead and I’d shame-eat my failed lunch. I was starting to resent this process until we decided to stop fussing with the fancy stuff and stick with what we know and like.
3. Find a few basic recipes you like and add on.
I’ve settled on what I like — salad with roasted vegetables and a protein. I go into the grocery store knowing that this is what I’m working towards and buy as I see fit. My go-to ingredients are sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, and chicken breast.
4. Pick your day to shop and cook.
I plan my weekend knowing that there is a 3 hour window of my Sunday that is reserved for meal planning. As long as I set this time aside, it’s no stress. I know it’ll get done, it’ll be fast, and most importantly, it’ll be worth it. I also try to get it done before 3PM for two reasons: because the store’s produce hasn’t been ransacked yet and because I don’t feel rushed at night to get it all done.
5. Give yourself a cheat day or a break day.
10 meals per week is a lot. So if you’re just getting started, then plan in a day you can mix it up. Pick a day you can grab lunch with a coworker instead. Give yourself some wiggle room. We’re not superheros, give yourself a break.
I would love to hear your stories and ideas. Share in the comments below!
Happy (FAT) Tuesday!