I'm a little concerned that the title of this post is misleading today - I would love to be able to give you a bunch of tips around healthier eating through meal planning, having a prep day at the weekend, and all of the other wonderful theoretical ideas you read about on the Internet or see on Instagram. There's no questioning that this kind of mindful planning, buying and cooking helps you stick to your goals better. But here's the thing - I suck at meal planning.

You might remember in the first instalment of this new 'Simplify' series I was talking about living healthier and, whilst this has been going to plan mostly, I've hit a few hurdles. Firstly, with being forbidden from the gym and working out until this Thursday when I can have my stitches out, I've been feeling a little frustrated. This has led me to try and cut down food-wise, which goes so far until you eventually realise at 4pm after work that you want to chew your hand off and end up snarfing down a packet of Monster Munch and a Kit Kat from the corner shop. True speak.

So this is a cry for help - do any of you have certain blogs/systems/cookbooks that make meal planning any easier? I would LOVE to be able to dedicate a Saturday morning to blissfully planning healthy meals, writing shopping lists and perfectly portioning out meals for the week but it just does not happen. And it's not like I don't have the tools - hello, Pinterest?! I also discovered a great YouTube channel called The Domestic Geek where the very perky Sara talks you through weekly meal preps. It all looks wonderful, but when it comes to applying it to my life?! ... Tumbleweed. I just can't seem to get creative and/or interested enough to make all this good thinking stick.

I figure this weakness in me is just like a muscle - you have to work at it to build its strength. So I'm taking on another little challenge - last time, it was finding the motivation to work out again and, with this enforced break, I am well and truly up for getting back into the gym and my fitness routine. This time around? I want to get good at this. I want to make meal plans my bitch! Yeah I said it.

With that in mind - any and all help is welcome. Seriously - cookbooks, websites, YouTube channels, printables - lay it all on me. I KNOW YOU LADIES (and gents!) ARE CLUED IN. Help me. I'm so willing to learn.

6 comments

  1. I meal plan but some evenings I get in and really can't be bothered to cook so I reach for a jar of pasta sauce or even worse (health wise, not yum wise) order a take away.

    How I tend to stick to planning is to not be too adventurous each week. If I include four new recipes in a week then the likelihood is I'm going to give up. Whereas if I only include two newbies and then the rest tried and tested easy meals then I know I can manage it. I also try and cook at least one meal that serves double and can be reheated the next day. So I made soup yesterday and that's what I'm eating tonight too.

    I also love my meal planner from Accessorize because stationery always helps. But there are tons of free printables on Pinterest.

    I wrote a post about meal planning which might help: http://www.hellodeborah.co.uk/meal-planning-tips/

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    1. Aah Debbie thank you! This was so helpful and I really enjoyed your blog post. I like the idea of sticking to tried and tested with new recipes introduced gently... That seems sustainable! Thanks so much for reading and commenting... and helping out! T xx

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  2. I've spent years trying to meal plan and never managed it, but this year I started a system which really works for me. Do note that it has taken me some time to refine it. Start simple and build on it to get what really works for you. This is so rambling, but hope it helps!

    1. I take an hour on Sunday with recipe books and pick 3-4 recipes for the week. I usually cook on alternate days as we have leftovers, or one or both of us is out for the evening. Friday or Saturday I go for something a bit more adventurous, but weekdays I keep to simple stir frys, curries, soups etc. An hour sounds like a lot, but I don’t think about meals for the rest of the week and rarely need to nip to the shop. Reckon it saves me 3 hours wasted time across the week.

    2. My most used books are Isa Does It, Deliciously Ella, River Cottage Veg & Modern Way to Eat. I prefer books to Pinterest as I get some relaxing time away from the computer, but I do have Pinterest boards with recipes I want to try.

    3. I write the days and the meals on a bit of paper so I can pin it to the fridge door. I usually note the recipe source next to it too so I can find it easily. It wasn’t until I started displaying my meal plan on the fridge that I actually started sticking to it.

    4. I have really simple breakfasts - toast w/marmite or porridge, and lunches are hummus, veggies and pitta so I don’t plan for those at all. Sometimes I have leftovers and I usually treat myself to a cheap lunch out once a week.

    5. I keep basic store cupboard items like chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, coconut milk in at all times so I can easily make about 3 of my go-to recipes if I haven’t planned anything to eat - coconut & lentil soup, veggie bolognese, pasta & sauce. I try to keep a few meals in the freezer too, when I have a lot of leftovers.

    6. I try about one new recipe a week, and keep my meals quite simple and affordable. That way I can easily stick to it every single week. Keeping it simple is the key! I don’t strictly budget, but I try to spend £50 or under on the shop each week including dog food, toiletries etc.

    Keep it simple. I don’t use planners, prep any food or freeze anything ahead. Just 3-4 recipes a week plus some simple, healthy stuff in the cupboards & freezer for when I have nothing planned.

    Good luck, let me know if you find any of it useful! xx

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  3. Also, I should note that I am super lucky to work from home. I never finish later than 6pm and I can go straight to the kitchen and cook. So I do have a head start on anyone not even getting home til 7pm or later.

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    1. You are the best. Even with our awful commute we are always home by 6, so this was super inspiring and helpful. Siobhan, I owe you one!!! T xx

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