"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."
Once a week, I am going to start 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: Cleaning Out Your Pantry & Freezer
If you are anything like me, about once a month you stare into your pantry and freezer and can’t believe the random things you have some how stockpiled over the month (or year!) To keep things from spoiling and to make use of what I have, about once a month I like to build a meal plan around what’s in my freezer and pantry by taking the following steps:
- Find any fully prepared meals: The obvious place to start is with complete, or almost complete, meals that you previously froze. Perhaps this is a tray of lasagna or enchiladas, leftover soup or stew, or meatballs. Pencil it in for one night in the coming week and quickly jot down any items you need to round out the meal like salad greens, bread, or veggies.
- Find frozen or canned protein sources: Since I like to build my meals around a main protein source, that’s the next place I look. Find any frozen meat that needs to be used or canned beans that can be used as the centerpiece of a dish. Then find recipes for that protein that you can build the meal around. Jot down any ingredients you need to complete the dish and then make a note to pull out the item early if it needs defrosting.
- Build side dishes: The last place I look to use up pantry and freezer items is in side dishes. Build side dishes around leftover frozen veggies, beans, and grains. Jot down when you plan to use each item and make a note for anything that needs to be defrosted.
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.
Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:
- Slow Cooker Chorizo Spiced Pulled Pork (or Chickpeas) with Cabbage Corn Slaw
- Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese
- Grilled Basil Lime Chicken
- One Pan Andouille Sausage, Kale, and Root Vegetable Bake
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Wheat Berries (vegetarian plan)
- Chicken Yakitori
- Cheesy Tomato Zoodles with Sausage (low carb plan)
- Honey Lime Tilapia
- Italian Stuffed Eggplant
- Crunchy Thai Salad (vegetarian plan)
- Banana Peanut Butter Breakfast Quinoa
- & 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.