Last Sunday was my first attempt at preparing and packaging meals for the work week.
My dietician has been encouraging me to start meal planning since I began seeing her 3 years ago. Considering my overloaded schedule of working full-time, going to school, practicing music AND staying physically active; the idea of meal planning made sense, but I never implemented it. Oh procrastination!
I am at a point where I have to take control of my personal life. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything! So, the first thing I can do to simplify my schedule is to carve out specific days of the week to plan what I am going to eat, shop, and prepare and package meals.
I bought groceries Sunday afternoon and began preparing my meals Sunday evening. When it came to what I was going to eat, I made a rough list of items based on my meal plan.
Every change I make is a learning experience, so I never expect a smooth process and I learn from executing. The structure of my meal plan was introduced to me over 3 years ago and I still find that I am not following it exactly each day. Now that I am meal planning I can pinpoint where the inaccuracies are and make sure that I am getting the right intake of food every day.
- There’s no temptation to stop to pick up a snack while en route home, I know my meal is waiting for me
- When I get home late or have an unexpected outing (like the surprise Toronto Raptors Game on Wednesday), cooking is one less thing I have to do when I get home
- I can easily pack my lunch bag for the next day while my dinner warms up in the microwave
- I now have more time to practice music and study
- The sense of control and organization feels really good
- Having a clean environment made cooking a lot easier. Prior to cooking I made sure the kitchen was clean and the fridge was clean and organized
- Adequate tools: preparation and storage is simple with the right cooking equipment, storage bags and tupperware
- Recipe print outs were on hand to easily execute meals
Take Aways – what I learned for next time:
- I will dream and write down meal ideas days before grocery shopping (Thank you Pintrest!)
- Create a more detailed list that follows my meal plan and follow it properly without missing any items
- Go grocery shopping on Saturday
- Prepare meals early on Sunday
- Add more vegetable snacks
I am finding that the more I cook, the more I enjoy it. There is no better feeling than preparing a meal, knowing exactly what ingredients are included in it, creating your own plate and devouring your own creation. What’s even better? Seeing other people enjoy your cooking creations. Who would have thought that meal preparation could have so many rewards other than just cook food, eat food.
This weekend brings the second attempt at meal preparation and I am feeling more confident and adventurous.
I was at a friend’s house last weekend while she was cooking curried chickpeas with cauliflower and diced tomato. I love chickpeas and curry so this has to be a recipe I include in next week’s menu! I have already created my meal plan and shopping list so I am well equipped to head to the grocery store and fill my shopping cart full of hearty food for the week.