Planning your meals ahead saves time and money – and your sanity. Don’t worry: Here are some great timesaving tips and simple recipes to throw together. This does take some thought, time and planning ahead, but it’s so worth it when you sit down for an inexpensive and healthy home cooked meal during your busy week.

10 Meal Planning Tips:

  1. Make a pitcher of unsweetened green or black tea for the week.
  1. Make a big pot of quinoa to add to a salad, dinner side, or breakfast.
  1. Portion and bags nuts, seeds & dried fruits for quick snacks during the day.
    Kids can help fill the baggies!
  1. Bake up 3-4 sweet potatoes.
  1. Make a big pot of healthy soup for easy dinners or lunches. Better yet, use a crock-pot for even less work.
  1. Hard-boil a dozen eggs for breakfasts on the go, snacks or to add to salads.
  1. Have portable fruits like apples, bananas, pears, oranges or plums available for those afternoon energy dips. They’re easy to take with you wherever you go.
  1. Wash, cut, and bag up produce for salads, snacks or to eat with your meals.
  1. Make a batch of egg muffins for easy breakfasts or snacks the rest of the week (recipe on other side).
  1. Clean, dry and chop up lettuce and dark leafy greens and store in containers for salads.

5 Simple Meal Planning Recipes:

Egg Muffins
Grease some muffin tins with a bit of coconut oil or butter. Into each muffin tin, put a bit of your favorite organic cheese (optional, but think gouda, feta, etc.), and maybe some leftover veggies.  Little pieces of broccoli, onions, or red pepper work great here, but use your imagination! Into each muffin tin, pour an egg (that you’ve previously whisked with a fork). Cook in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes until set.  These keep very well in the fridge and reheat great.

Salad in a Jar
Get a handful of medium sized mason jars. Fill bottom with your favorite dressing. Add lighter bits like tomatoes, broccoli, nuts or seeds, onions, quinoa, sprouts, etc. Then add heartier bits such as beans, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, radishes, chickpeas, green beans, etc. On top place lettuce, fresh herbs and dark leafy greens. Close jar and store in refrigerator until you’re ready to pour into a bowl and enjoy. Feel free to add protein like chicken, hard-boiled eggs, etc., which you can store separately in a baggie, stored near the jar salad.

Roasted Carrots
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scrub and/or peel 2 pounds of fresh carrots. Slice lengthwise then cut into even pieces. Toss with garlic powder, salt, pepper and red palm oil (an excellent healthy fat). Roast for about 30 minutes until fork tender. To make clean up even easier, roast carrots on a piece of tin foil over your roasting pan to just toss when they’re finished. Perfect way to get a sweet vegetable into either your lunch or dinner meal.

Spicy Steamed Broccoli
Wash organic broccoli and break florets into even pieces and peel/cut up stems into bite sized pieces. Bring a pot with 1 inch of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Set broccoli and stems in steamer basket over water, cover with lid, and cook for four minutes. Remove broccoli from heat and shock with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss dried broccoli with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Perfect way to get a nutritious side of greens into either your lunch or dinner meal.

Shredded Chicken
This is honestly one of the easiest ways to prepare chicken that is SO good, easy, and inexpensive! All you have to do is clean the chicken (rinse and pat dry), put it in a crockpot, walk away, and you have chicken that is ready for chicken sandwiches, salads, or perfect to use in any recipe that calls for chicken. Think salads, tacos, soups, etc. My favorite is chicken salad!

Place (rinsed) organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts in crockpot with organic chicken (or veggie) broth (to cover about ½ the chicken in slow cooker) and seasonings of your choice (sea salt and pepper are just fine), and cover. Let cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. After cooking, remove chicken from the crockpot with a fork, and place on a cutting board. Shred chicken with 2 forks, (it will practically fall apart, which makes it super easy). Place chicken in a covered container, and use in recipes throughout the week.

About The Author

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Lauren Grogan is a Holistic Health Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher based in Red Bank, NJ. As our Senior Health Editor, she’s dedicated to educating our readers on the benefits of healthy living so they can make consistently wise choices regarding their nutrition and overall well-being.

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