We all have the best intentions to eat healthily, but when you’re staring down at a chocolate croissant as you’re grabbing a coffee between kid’s drop off, racing to work and just trying to find a moment to breathe – healthy eating can be left on the shelf.

And chocolate crossiant’s taste so good…….

But here’s my solution…and believe me, this is from hard won experience. This works. Trust me.

Meal planning is something that you can choose to start very slowly with even one meal a week, although I've had clients jump in to plan all their meals for a month! The important thing is to do it at a pace that will work for you and your circumstances. Choose a time during the week that you can sit down and plan out what you want to eat and what needs to be done to make that happen. This twenty minutes can save you so much time and stress, it is so worth it.


WHY BOTHER MEAL PLANNING?

Well, here are just some of the benefits:

  • Maximising nutritional intake, therefore improving health and energy levels
  • Take control of your own health - you get to make the decisions in terms of what you eat so why not take that role to the next level? That sense of being more organised and in control of your life and wellbeing leads to great positivity.
  • Manage weight - we tend to eat less junk and fill up instead on healthier, more nutritious food when we are more aware of what we‘re eating.
  • Manage stress and work/life balance - by being in control of what we eat and shop for we can reduce stress around this big issue - stress around time, stress and guilt around poor eating habits, stress around shopping and costs. Planning your meals can bring much calm to your life.
  • Improved time management - you can be laser-focused and shop wisely, whether online or in person, and also plan a time to prep food that works for you and this will free up so much time throughout your week to do other fun things you enjoy!
  • Sustainable – One of the big bonuses of effective meal planning is reducing food waste. We can consciously eat food that may by more local, in season and get the quantities that we will actually need because we know exactly what we’ll be using them for.
  • Cost effective - by sticking to a plan you can chose very cost effectively, taking advantage of in-season produce that are always cheaper. By reducing your waste you’re also saving money which can pay for all the things you’ll be able to do in your newly found free time.


WHAT STUFF DO I NEED AND WILL IT COST A PACKET?

You don’t need much to start and no it won’t cost a packet. In fact, I’ve tested out a load of options and here’s what works best for me.

STORAGE

Think about what you might be preparing and the space that you will be using, where you can store things when in use and also when not in use. Using glass for storage is really safe with no potential for leaching chemicals into your food and great for sustainability as it recycles well.

This set of mixed sizes of preserving jars is a really nice starter set

But if you’re already using preserving jars you may want the same size for uniformity in your cupboards and this set of six jars of the same size are really smart and come with labels to finish off the look.


Square and rectangular glass containers are really practical because they are way more efficient with space in a tight fridge and allow for more prepped food to be stored. You can also cook in it the dish and then freeze, so they're very useful for doubling up when cooking. This set of 4 Pyrex dishes are great quality and are an excellent price too.


KITCHEN TOYS

To be fair, I know I get irrationally excited about things to play with in the kitchen. But, in an attempt to stay grounded I’ve narrowed down my top three things I recommend to help with prepping like a pro. These can also be found over in our shop, they include:

They speed up prep and allow you to achieve more, and do more fun stuff, like living. Definitely worth a small investment to get you started.

LET’S GET PERSONAL

In terms of planning there are a number of things you need to consider for yourself that nobody else can decide for you. By asking these questions you can help streamline the process for yourself:

  • What do I like?
  • What can I make?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • What do I need to do or get?
  • When do I need to do it?

Then you can start looking at the more detailed aspect of specific recipes and how they interlink and how they can make the process really efficient. Here are our top 5 tips:

  1. Double up whenever you can
  2. The freezer is your friend
  3. Think about what dinners work well for lunch the next day
  4. Think about what elements of a meal could be used differently and how
  5. Work out what staples work well for you

STORE CUPBOARD ESSENTIALS

By having an efficiently stocked store cupboard makes meal planning and prepping easy and quick. Some staples we recommend are:

  • Herbs and spices
  • Homemade salad dressings
  • Pesto (ideally homemade, or a good quality brand)
  • Tinned mixed beans – great for salad or mixing into a hot dish
  • Wholegrains, pasta or rice in the cupboard
  • Tomato passata
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Lentils

Once you have some good quality staples in the cupboard then all you need is fresh in-season veg and your choice of protein (fish, meat, cheese, tofu etc) to get started and take each week as it comes.


Remember to enjoy it, there should be an element of fun and adventure about it. Let us know how you get on by dropping us a line at [email protected].


The WellNow Company offer talks, online programmes and one-to-one coaching. Get in touch with any questions and you can find out more here www.thewellnowco.com.

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