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Meal Planning - Do I Have To?

02/28/2018 11:04AM ● Published by Digital Media Director

By: Jessica Schaap, Koko FitClub Sioux Falls

Short answer? YES. I know, I know, I know. It’s hard to fit it into your to do list, but I promise you, the time you spend meal planning will pay you dividends back for staying healthy, weight loss, saving money and keeping your sanity. Hear it from me, this type-b, unorganized, chaos coordinator, mom of four, these are my tips and shortcuts keep my head above water.

Get your family involved! We decide what we’re going to eat by making a weekly menu and the kids are involved. I have a rotating list of about 20 different dinners, with seasonal dinners depending on summer and winter. I have four kids and everyone gets to pick out their meal of choice for the week. These are simple dinners like: tacos, chicken fajitas, bbq pork, turkey chili, etc. All of my family meals are fairly healthy and can easily be made gluten free. Then we fill in blanks for breakfast and lunch and even plan a take-out meal if we want.

So now you have planned your menu, the next step is sticking to it and making the food! Staples for my menu planning are: chicken breasts, ground turkey/beef meatballs, taco meat and shredded pork. SUPER EASY! You can prepare any of these proteins a number of different ways, and transform them into meals later that week. You don’t need a lot of kitchen to do this! This is how I prepare: boil the chicken on the stove and pre-cook the taco meet, bake the meatballs in the oven and cook the pork in the crock-pot. With these four different proteins, I have endless options for meals all week. So in one Sunday afternoon, I spend a couple of hours pre-cooking the protein and I save myself at least seven hours during the week. The best part is, my family eats healthy, I am not scrounging at 5:30 p.m. with no plan that ends up in an unhealthy drive-thru, as well as saving money. 

LOG AND WEIGH YOUR FOOD. Can I tell you how much I rolled my eyes about this, until I started doing it? It changed my life and I lost an extra 10 pounds by eating the exact same foods on the same meal plan. Why? Because my idea of 28 ounces of almonds was very different than an actual 28 ounces of almonds!

Even if you aren’t following a weight loss meal plan, but want to trim up and/or eat healthier, try those few suggestions: meal plan with your family, follow through by sticking to the menu, log and weigh your food. These are small steps to a healthier family and you! Good luck!  

Family, In Print, Health meal planning Koko FitClub Schaap