One size does not fit all when it comes to meal prep. If you see all of those Pinterest worthy posts of pre-prepped breakfast, lunch, and dinner boxes and it is totally overwhelming then don’t do it that way! There are lots of ways to approach this. If you even do one of the steps below, I promise it will simplify your life.
I personally think the meal planning is THE MOST important part. It is a huge stress reliever not to come home after work and only then start thinking about the age old question of “what’s for dinner?” or end up stopping for take out on the way home because I know we don’t have anything. If you only do one of the steps below, make it Step 1.
Having a chest freezer where I keep prepped freezer meals, frozen vegetables, back-up staples, etc is KEY.
My approach requires a love of leftovers and being okay with eating the same thing a few times a week.
Give yourself a lot of grace. I do all of the below when we have a fairly free weekend and it makes the next week 100% better. But, if I have a lot of work or we are traveling or life is very full, I just do what I can and leave it at that.
This week I focused on simplifying nutrition. We already eat pretty healthy around here, thanks to some changes over the last couple of years, but I have found this area to be one that requires continual attention and tweaking in order to stay on track.
Last year I really focused on meal planning and prepping, which was a total game changer in improving my ability to eat healthy lunches and dinners and seriously minimized work day stress. It sounds like it could complicatethings, but it actually makes everything much simpler. If you ever want to talk meal prep- I’m your girl! I’m a meal prep evangelist. 😉
This year I’ll be doubling down on lessons learned last year- notably the importance of meal prepping and decreasing sugar- but will be adding:
1. More VEGGIES!: I already eat a decent amount of veggies, but this year I’d like to focus on incorporating more meatless meals. All of the evidence is that this is better for our health AND better for our planet. When my son told me one of his goals this year (which I share due to fears about rapidity of climate change) was to do “more for the environment”, little did he know this meant more vegetables. 😂If you have some favorite meatless meal recipes, that still have a decent amount of protein, please send them my way! So far we’ve had a butternut squash soup (that wasn’t a huge hit) and tomorrow we’ll be trying lentil curry (which I’m pretty excited about).
2. More FARMER’S MARKET: We have one not far away, but I rarely get there. To be honest, I sometimes just forget because it is not in our routine. Working on changing that, because Farmer’s Markets are win/win/win when it comes to good nutrition.
Okay, so I’ve realized that my first two simplify goals have been pretty, well, simple. I love thinking and learning about nutrition and yes, I actually enjoy organizing cupboards. I’m going to start having to tackle more treacherous terrain like simplifying “paperwork”, “email”, and “legos”. If you have strategies around these areas, send them my way!!
At the start of each new year I not only focus on goal-setting, but for the past five years or so I’ve also chosen a word or set of words that I hope will frame the upcoming year. Often these words become a mantra of sorts; and when I reflect back they do often seem to influence the direction of my life in that time period.
For 2019 my word is “simplify“. This was a no contest, very easy word-picking year. 2018 was not my favorite- it was messy and complicated in many ways. It also taught me a lot and it helped draw into clear focus what is truly important.
So, I’m ready to build on that focus and simplify. It may not look all that different from the outside- I still have work and home responsibilities that aren’t going anywhere- but I’m really hoping that internally things will look different. From finances to fitness, from my daily routines to long-term planning, from how I interact at work to how I interact with the environment, I’ll be asking myself what is truly aligned with my values and necessary to think about and what can be tossed, automated, or pared down. Simplified.
The goal? Mental space and time to spend on the good, juicy, important stuff and with the people I love and who need me to be at my best. I’ll let you know how it goes! What is your word for 2019?