We all know that meal planning is essential for healthy eating, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some tips to make meal planning simple, plus a printable meal planner!
Do you struggle with staying consistent with healthy eating? Most of us know that meeting our fitness and health goals requires consistency with eating right and exercising, but it also takes consistency in planning, too. Those times we go into the week unprepared are usually the times we struggle the most with being consistent with healthy eating.
I have struggled with being consistent in my meal planning for years, but I have been really disciplining myself to be more consistent with it and I’m getting better at it. When I started getting busier with my training and my blog, I couldn’t just “wing it” anymore. I had to start taking meal planning seriously.
Since I started meal planning more regularly, it has helped a ton so we save money, stress less, and eat out less. It makes a big difference in keeping things running smoothly in our home! If you need a little help with meal planning and prep, here are a few tips to make things a little simpler.
Meal planning made simple: meal planning tips
Make a master list of your favorite healthy meals and recipes…
…and organize them by the type of main entree (pork, chicken, etc.) so you can rotate your meals for variety. Use this master list as the base for your weekly menu plans, then make space in your weekly menu to try some new recipes. Once you find new recipes you love, add those to your meal planning master list to keep from getting bored!
Plan meals to fit your schedule and use your slow cooker
This one is a huge stress reliever! Look at the week ahead and plan your meals accordingly: if you have evening sports, plan slow cooker dinners those nights or plan super easy meals (like this 30-minute recipe).
If you have busy mornings, you can slow cook your breakfast overnight while you sleep. Planning meals in your slow cooker for busy days can help make meals less stressful.
Use the Rubbermaid® Balance Meal Kit to meal prep your lunches for the week.
This helps to take some guesswork out of how to pack balanced meals. Just meal plan ahead of time (using a meal planner) and the Balance Meal Kit makes meal prep easier!
Find a meal planning method that works best for YOU.
This is going to take a little bit of trial and error. Some people like to plan a whole month at time, and some people do 2 weeks at a time, but ultimately you need to find a planning method that works best for you.
I like to meal plan 1 week at a time since we buy mostly fresh produce, so planning and shopping 1 week at a time helps to keep our foods fresh without buying very many canned items. Plus, trying to plan for an entire month of meals feels overwhelming for me, so 1-week plans are easier for me to set up.
Pick your favorite way to meal prep.
Just like with the meal planning, there are different ways to meal prep. Some people love to batch cook on Sundays for the entire week ahead. For me, I prefer cooking extra food each night at dinner so there are planned leftovers the following day or 2.
That way I always have fresh food for lunches the following day. Then some people set aside a whole day to cook for the entire month ahead and freeze meals to easily cook or reheat for later. Whichever method you choose, find a method that works best for you and your time schedule!
To be consistent with meal planning, everything needs to fit your lifestyle and schedule. Even if something works great for others, if it doesn’t fit your schedule, it might not work for you. It takes some time to experiment a little and find what planning and pre style fits you, but taking the time to find something that fits pays off!
Rubbermaid® Balance Meal Kit
We all know the importance of meal planning for sticking to a healthy eating plan, but sometimes we get stuck on how to execute meal planning and meal prep. If you want a little help, the Balance Meal Kit from Rubbermaid® makes that important planning a bit easier!
The Balance Meal Kit is a portable carry box with pre-portioned containers for the four major food groups (protein, vegetables, fruits, and grains). Each container is specifically portioned for each food group so it takes the guesswork out of meal prep when you’re planning balanced meals.
The carry box has different areas for each food group (similar to a bento box), but you can always take that out for one big box if you want to pack a large salad. The entire container set is microwaveable, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, and BPA free so it’s easy to prep ahead and clean.
Free Printable Meal Planner!
I created a free meal planner to make meal planning a bit easier! Just fill in the foods you want to cook for each food group and create your shopping list
Click the image above or click here to download the meal plan PDF!
Want a Rubbermaid® Balance Meal Kit of your own? We’re giving one away! Enter to win below:
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
36 thoughts on “Meal Planning Made Simple (+ Free Meal Planner)”
i like chef salad or roasted red pepper hummus and multi grain tortillas
I like packing soup.
Cottage cheese, tomatoes and crackers 😀
We like grilled chicken breast.
I love to take a salad for lunch and nuts for a snack.
I like a salad with spinach, grilled chicken and fresh vegetables.
Chicken, veggies and nuts
I eat peanut butter and celery
salad w/chicken, olives and red peppers
We like veggie sandwiches
Tuna Wrap, baby carrots and an orange or apple.
A whole grain veggie wrap! 🙂
I like chicken salad.
I usually bring grapes, nuts snd cheese.
We like ham and cheese sandwiches and carrots on the side.
I like an egg salad sandwich.
I love hummus sandwiches with fresh fruit and veggies as sides.
What a cool container! Lunches are usually just whatever leftovers we have around, but I love a good sandwich.
I love greek salad and fresh berry fruit salad!
chopped salads, chicken and egg salad with fresh fruits and veggies
A salad with grilled chicken breast and craisins.
I like quinoa with steamed veggies and chicken! 😀 (Plus some fruits/nuts/eggs!)
My favorite packable lunch is hummus with veggies and a tortilla.
I love packing adult “lunchable” type lunches. I pack ham, cheese, hardboiled egg, almonds and fruit.
i love roasted red peppers and hummus
My favorite packable lunch is a chicken salad pita.
Veggies and hummus or fruit and cheese are my favorites to pack.
My favorite lunch is an avocado tuna salad with sides of veggies and fruit.
My favorite packable lunch is chicken, roasted veggies, and hummus.
My Favorite lunch is hummus and vegetables with grilled chicken.
Spinach salad with blue cheese, chicken breast. Side of walnuts, side of strawberries and ginger dressing.
My fave packable lunch is a quinoa and avocado salad.
I’ve been looking for a bowl like this.
I usually bring a salad and fruit or leftovers from dinner the night before!
Love this idea! I usually bring a salad and apple for lunch