((Edit: You can watch my YouTube video here if you would rather hear me talk through the steps of meal planning. Otherwise, keep reading below!!))
How do you meal plan? How am I supposed to figure out these containers? How can I follow this guide and still feed my family? I don’t want to make different meals for myself and my family!
I hear this often, and they are legit concerns! When you first get your nutrition guide and try to tackle meal planning, it’s almost enough to make you throw in the towel. And some people get so frustrated that they do just that. But don’t let meal planning be what stops you from sticking with this program! Here I will break it down and show you exactly how I do my meal plans each week.
I start with a chart. Yep, a chart. I need paper and pencil so I can sketch out what we will eat for the week. Some people use the computer and that’s cool, but I need it on paper. It works better for me that way.
So my chart looks like this. I have the days of the week on one side and my meals on the other. Sometimes I have the days on top of the page, and sometimes I have them on the side. That’s pretty irrelevant – just make sure they’re on there somewhere haha. Moving on. I also have every meal and snack that I eat each day. You can add in an extra snack before or after dinner if that’s what you typically eat. This is just what works for me. At the bottom, I list the different containers and how many of each I am supposed to eat (I’m planning for level 2, the 1500-1799 calorie range). This allows me to put a tally mark as I enter the foods into my plan, so I can see how many of each I have planned and how many more I need to add in.
After I have my chart prepped, I start writing in the meals that are pretty stable. For me, Shakeology is breakfast Monday-Friday. I sometimes cook breakfast on the weekends, so it may get shifted to a snack on those days, but I rarely have time to cook breakfast during the week. So Shakeology goes in the chart first. Then I plan for my dinners. Taco Tuesday is pretty typical in our house, so some version of that goes on Tuesday. We also like to do burgers, brinner (breakfast for dinner if you aren’t a Scrubs fan haha), steak and veggies, fajitas…and so on. Those get placed in dinner slots throughout the week. If I have a new recipe I want to try, I figure out which night will work the best for me to cook it and I place it there. After I have my dinners planned…
…then I plan my lunches. Because I’m a teacher, I don’t really have the luxury of cooking something for lunch. Leftovers are my best friend! Pretty much 95% of the time, I take whatever meat we had for dinner and pair it with a salad for my lunch the next day. Yes, I will even cook extra for dinner to make sure I have enough to eat for lunch!
After I have my dinners and lunches planned, I go back and fill in the gaps. Snacks are generally the same thing every day. Fruit, almonds, deli meat, boiled eggs (oh wow, just realized I didn’t use those at all this week!), raw veggies and hummus…those are all pretty standard snacks for me. I tried to add in a little variety with this plan, but honestly I am a boring eater! I will eat some of the same things every day just to keep it simple. Then I don’t have to try to remember too many different things haha.
That’s pretty much it! You don’t have to be following the 21 Day Fix to meal plan this way. This method of meal planning can be adapted to any type of nutrition plan, and can also be used for the 21 Day Fix Extreme. I will definitely use this while I’m prepping my meals using the Countdown to Competition plan (eat #allthereds). For some 21 Day Fix approved recipes, check out my clean and healthy recipe board here.
If you need help with meal planning or want more ideas on meals and snacks, leave a comment or feel free to message me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Facebook! Happy planning!