“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Once a week, I will be sharing a tip, trick, or some interesting information about meal planning. I believe meal planning is critical to any long term and effective healthy living or weight loss goals. For me it was the single thing that finally made permanent weight loss achievable. The quote stood true, when I failed to plan, I failed, and I don’t want that to happen to others.
Additionally, I believe that meal planning is a skill that takes time to master and we can all use some help! When I first started meal planning it took up countless hours pouring over recipes, calculating nutritional info and/or points, and creating elaborate calendars. It was painful. Anything I can do to ease that pain for someone else is a win-win in my book.
Finally, I hope by sharing meal planning strategies, it will help you find a system that works for you. Whether it’s using our meal plans, scratching one into your weekly planner, or creating your own meal planning system – I hope this feature inspires you to start planning at least a few meals every week. It will save you time, money, and it truly will help you reach your weight loss and healthy living goals. So with that, on to this week’s tip!
Meal Planning Made Easy: Meal Planning Templates and Themes
One of the hardest things about meal planning is staring at a blank weekly or monthly calendar and feeling like there are literally millions of possible meals and recipes you could prepare. If you are anything like I was when I first started meal planning, after spending two or three hours perusing magazines, websites, and cookbooks this is where you end up: You look down at your pretty meal planning calendar to see that you have only chosen two recipes for the week and they both happen to be for tacos. You feel completely overwhelmed and decide to try this another time.
That's where meal planning templates and themes come to the rescue. Having set theme nights/templates for the week or month can ensure that you add variety to your meal plans, don't add the of the same kind of recipe, and save you tons of time. Here are some of my favorite meal planning theme nights and templates to add to my calendar. What are yours?
- Taco Night
- Sunday Slow Cooker
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Pasta Night
- Burger and Sandwich Night
- Global Cuisine Night
- Meatless Monday
- Chicken Night
- Pork Night
- Beef Night
- Seafood Night
- Take Out at Home Night
- Pizza Night
- Salad Night
- Soup Night
- Rice Bowl Night
- Asian Night
- Lazy Leftover Nights
- Casserole Night
- Appetizer Night
But what if this still takes me too long? If you have tried using meal planning templates/theme nights before but find that it just doesn't work for you, you may want to consider starting from a pre-made meal plan like the ones we offer on Slender Kitchen. Each week you will be provided with a new suggested meal plan. Most of the hard work is done. Then if there is anything that doesn't appeal to you in that week's plan, just delete that recipe and swap in a new one. Everything updates automatically in the plan, including your shopping list.
To be the most efficient, try to stick to the same type of recipe to make this quick and easy. Didn't like the pasta recipe? Replace it with a pasta recipe your family will love. Have leftover chicken breasts you won't to use? Replace a recipe calling for chicken thighs with one for chicken breast. It's easy and can make meal planning fast, fun, and stress free.
Love the idea of meal planning but don’t want to do all the work? Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen that you can customize to meet your needs.
Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:
- Slow Cooker Lemon Artichoke Chicken & Rice Soup
- One Pot Caprese Pasta
- Tex Mex Stuffed Zuchini
- Thai Basil Beef Bowl with Cauliflower Rice
- Italian Chicken Pesto Bake
- Five Minute Breakfast Burritos
- Crispy Honey Mustard Pork with Cajun Potatoes
- One Pan Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli
- Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Pudding
- Sausage, Spinach, and Tomato Polenta Bowls
- & more
Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.