Meal Planning Basics Part 1

Every 3, 4, 5 months I get in these spurts where all I want is to get healthy, skinny and get back to the size I was the FIRST time I thought I was fat! (Who knew I was so cute back then?!) This time is a bit trickier being pregnant and all. So I am not looking so much to lose any weight as I am looking to get healthier not just for me but for my family. In the next few weeks, I am going to be mostly posting about this unless some random bus driver wants to blow up my bathroom again! (sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I’m still a little bitter!) I will have my meal plans, some recipes when my patience allows and more update on how we are doing leading up to D(elivery) day.

Starting in October of last year, I had a cold that morphed into bronchitis. Being pregnant limited my ability to take many antibiotics and the bronchitis then changed into pneumonia. I was a wreck and didn’t want to be around people because I sounded so terrible. I was exhausted from not being able to sleep through the night. I didn’t get better until the end of December. I definitely cannot do that when I have an infant on top of my two trouble makers. Considering so much of your health starts in your gut, I am going to start there. As much as I enjoy diagnosing my husband and kids when they are sick, I am no doctor so please don’t take anything I say as health advice. Everyone is different and I am only writing about my personal health journey and what works for me. I have discussed these changes with my doctor already as you should do if you plan on making any major changes to your diet or exercise routines. With that out of the way, here it goes!

Health and more specifically weight loss (for after I have the baby) is 80% diet. I decided to jump back into meal planning now so I have found my groove come April. This keeps me more accountable, I eat when I am supposed to and helps keep my grocery bill in line quite a bit as well! Before going to the grocery store this weekend, I planned every meal, snack and drink for the next 2 weeks. This is great on paper but sticking to it while walking past the aisles in the grocery store is always difficult. For the most part, I did it! I may have put a bag of potato chips in the cart in addition to my health foods but I basically stuck to the outer perimeter of the grocery store which tends to have the healthier foods.

Staying accountable is so important. That is why I am writing this for all the world to see. If I put it out there, I will stick to it a lot more than if I don’t. J informed me yesterday of how I tend to be really excited about meal planning in the beginning and put in a week or 2 of hard work and then it tapers off. I’m hoping to change it this time around! I also hope this helps light a fire under anyone else who is thinking about taking the plunge to a healthier lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, it is a ton of work especially in the beginning. Getting used to dedicating hours of your weekend or week depending on when works for you to planning and buying every ingredient you may need and prepping as much as you can. I am super tired these days so I have to take a few breaks or sit while slicing and dicing veggies. You do what works for you.

Meal planning means I eat what and when I am supposed to. One thing my doc and I discussed was how to keep my blood sugar more stable. This keeps me from having my morning slump, my afternoon slump, any slump. I am naturally insulin resistant due to my PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) so I have been working this whole pregnancy to eat slower and more frequently. I still think in terms of 3 meals and a couple snacks so I had to teach myself how to make meals stretch during the day. I basically eat a few bites at a time. As long as I watch my portions, (I will get more into portions in another post) it works for me.

Here’s the best part. Meal planning may start out with a little more expense (ie. containers, spices, protein powder, blender) but it is so worth it! I used to go to the store knowing I needed chicken, veggies and fruit, milk, yogurt…the basics. I would then walk around the store and buy what looked decent or cheap. This was great except I was buying food without a real plan in place. I would get home and try to piece these random foods together to make a hot meal. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I ended up throwing away so much food and that doesn’t work for me. I hate wasting food. Meal planning helps make sure you are using all the food you buy.

Interested in meal planning? Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Keep a lookout for my next post, coming in the next day or two that focuses on picking the right meals to put together. I will also have a free downloadable meal plan sheet so you can write in and see exactly what you will be eating for the next week.

2. Get containers for all this food! Meal planning is all about what works for you. Make it as easy as you can on yourself. I personally buy the store brand plastic ones so when we lose them, break them, forget about food in the back of the fridge and don’t dare open it, it is no big deal. They’re inexpensive and easily replaced.

3. If you are going to start a morning protein shake, ask around! Everyone has different criteria for theirs. I have tried MANY! I am super picky when it comes to shakes. I factor in taste, texture and the ability to mix with fruits and veggies. The cheapest I have found is from Aldi. It actually tastes delicious and doesn’t thicken to the point where I can’t drink it. Many do and it grosses me right out!

4. Along with the protein powder, you will need something to mix it in. When I first saw those cups specifically for mixing shakes, I thought it was a scam. You mean to tell me I have to buy this special cup with the special spring inside to mix my shake adequately? YES! I tried using other cups to shake it up, using a spoon to mix-this was just a lumpy mess. When I bought my special cup with the special spring, it made it so much easier to mix and drink. If you are looking for something that will help blend fruits and veggies into it as well, pick up a blender. I have more recently been using a Magic Bullet and I LOVE it. (NOTE: They didn’t pay me to say that, just my own observations!)

5. Don’t stress. There is a ton to learn with meal planning and finding what works for you so don’t get overwhelmed. Getting unhealthy didn’t happen in a week so don’t stress when getting healthy takes a bit longer too! We’re in this together!

Now that you know the direction I am headed, what do YOU want to know? Is there something I can help you achieve while learning to meal plan/prep? I have been doing this off and on for years. It is always beneficial, it is always worth it. Do you need an accountability facebook group? Do you need a walking partner? Do you need someone to bounce ideas off of? I’m here! Send me an email! I am so curious what you want to learn and will help any way I can.

As always, thanks for reading,