Meal Planning- It's not just a strategy, It'a way of life!

The honest truth is that when I am prepared I am successful. Now that doesn't mean that I don't give into the temptation of cookies or other treats that might be in the house. But I can say that overall, my eating is what it should be when I meal plan for the week. Meal planning can be overwhelming. The good news is that that there is no right or wrong way to meal plan. It's a matter of finding what process works for you, your lifestyle and family.

About 8 months ago, I decided it was time to take control of our eating and really focus on healthier choices. The 21 Day Fix Extreme was when I really got serious and actually followed the meal plan for the first time. Looking back, I realized, I had wasted the previous months of working out with poor eating choices. Muscles are made in the kitchen, plain and simple. I can work out all day, everyday, but unless I make the right food choices, I won't get the results I am looking for.

My current meal planning system has multiple parts to it: 1) determine dinners 2) make grocery list 3) shop 4) back into the rest of the weeks meals.

Dinners are my first priority for a couple of reasons. The first being they feed more then just me and secondly, they are my largest meal of the day.  I found this great meal planning sheet on Pinterest and took it to office depot and had it made into a tear away pad. It allows you to plan for 4 meals, which is perfect for since we do Pizza on Friday nights and then left overs a couple of nights.

So here is how my process works...

1. I'll spend early Sunday morning before the kids get out of bed, searching Pinterest for 4 dinner recipes.

2. Next, I will make my grocery list based on those recipes for the week. All of the items needed. are listed under that specific recipes and other groceries needed for the week are listed in the other items section at the bottom of the page.

3. I have recently started using the Wal-Mart grocery pick up service. It's awesome, check to see if they are offering it in your area.  You order your items on line, they shop the store for you, bag them and then deliver them and load them in your car.

 I'll place my order for any items needed from Wal-Mart and choose a pick up window for Monday morning after I've dropped the boys off at school.This unfortunately doesn't eliminate all of my grocery shopping. I still hit Fresh Market every Tuesday morning for $2.99 lb chicken breast and $2.99 lb ground Turkey and of course there is always a Target and/or Publix stop throughout the week. With the amount of fresh fruits and veggies we eat, I am usually at the store 2-3 times a week.

4. Once I have my dinners planned, I look at the calendar to see what evenings the hubby is home and /or we have a planned activity. This helps me determine which nights I will be cooking and which nights will be left overs.

Now that I have a better idea what meals will be served which nights, it allows me to back into my lunches. This is an entirely separate process when I am following the BB eating plan. I'll save that for a separate post.

The process is not perfect, but it definitely helps keep me organized, the kitchen running and family fed. I hope sharing my process has given you some tips and inspired you to meal plan for your family.


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