Meal Planning for the Week

Marissa Vicario is a Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach and the Founder of Marissa's Well-being and Health. She shares her health secrets, get-fit tips and the cooking expertise that has inspired countless women to ditch the diet mentality, transform their relationship with food and turbocharge their health in a way that's fun and fearless. Download her free guide, How to Be Holistically Hot, now.

Most people have a to-do list that’s pages long. They have work, school, family and social commitments and schedules that are time-crunched and over-booked. The last thing anyone would want to do is add another weekly chore to a long list of commitments. That's why, as an advocate of eating at home more often than dining out, planning is a necessity for me. But I'm often looked at sideways when I introduce the concept to my clients.

That is, until I explain to them that my method of meal planning can take less than an hour each week. To make the task seem less daunting, these are some quick tips to meal plan in a matter of minutes:

1. Brainstorm
You can use cookbooks or blogs. Make some of the time you spend surfing the Internet worthwhile. Do a search for keywords or ingredients that interest you, like vegan or gluten-free. I recommend creating your own favorites folder where you can save recipes you'd like to try.

To get started, you can follow me on Hungry Girl, Detox with Food and Conscious Cook for healthy recipe ideas.

2. Think Simple
Choose two to three recipes that you can cook once and eat twice so you don’t get overwhelmed. Likewise, select recipes with only 5-6 ingredients and that won’t take more than 30 minutes. You can always double the recipe if you need to.

3. Make a List
Once you have the recipes you'd like to use, list the ingredients you'll need and then schedule a time to go to the supermarket. Choose a time when it will be less crowded like 8 a.m. Saturday morning so you can just fly through the aisles with fewer distractions.

4. Use Your Leftovers
Don't resist using your leftovers. In fact, plan your meals so you have some. Leftovers are ideal for packing in resusable to-go containers for one of the next day’s meals. You can also incorporate them into a completely different recipe. For example, I love using leftover sautéed or roasted veggies in a frittata or omelet.

5. Breakfast and Snacking Made Easy
Plan on 1-2 breakfasts for the week. Smoothies are great option, hard-boiled eggs, overnight oats or chia seed pudding – all can be prepared the night before. For snacks, grab easy options like LÄRABAR, trail mix, pre-cut veggies with hummus or nut butter.

6. Don’t Force It
When you’re uninspired or in doubt, steam. A couple types of steamed vegetables with a sauce plus a protein always makes a healthy meal.

No list, no plan, no strategy? Check out the infographic for my 6 Step Process for Power Shopping for Healthy Meals.

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