Meal Planning 101

September is one of the busiest times of the year. An energizing feeling build all month because it’s time to get back on track, back to school, back to routine, back to healthy exercise and nutrition practices, etc.

Meal-Planning

The proper nutrition can make such a difference to all elements of health and performance for oneself, in what one has to offer the world and is able to accomplish in a day. This is what meal planning is all about and why it is so important. It’s like you are literally creating a blueprint or road map. Having a good sense of direction towards where you want to end up is so important. This creates self-efficacy and fosters the belief that you can and will succeed. Truly, it is through setting intentions, taking responsibility and control that we realize we have and can make an impact and create change.

With the right planning and preparation nutritious eating can be easy and fun. Mastering the art of meal planning is a great tool to have. I love flipping through cookbooks or scrolling through blogs. The sources for inspiration are endless!

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Here are some tips to help you with your meal planning, whether this is all very new to you or you’ve been doing it for years, there’s always something we can learn to make our methods better!

Download this simple meal planning template or create your own to get started!

This checklist offers some simple tips to save time and make meal planning a breeze:

  • Keep meals simple to prepare with as few ingredients as possible, especially for busy weekdays
  • See what you have on hand already and what will expire soon and use these items as the foundation to build your meal plan.
  • Get organized. Make copies of your meal plan to post where you can easily see it (i.e. fridge door). Have a place where you can save meal plans that worked well or recipes you really like a binder.
  • Plan ahead and prepare what you can the night before or on weekends to save time during the week.
  • Convenience products like pre-cut stir-fry vegetables and ready-bagged salad can save cooking and prep time.
  • Try batch cooking: cook enough food for 2-3 meals and save leftovers for meals later in the week. Or freeze for longer
  • Shop smarter by keeping an ongoing grocery list of items you regularly need and add items as soon as they run out. Organize your list with headings for faster shopping trips.
  • This meal planner checklist can help you stay on track to meal planning a success!
  • Share the journey and learning process by getting everyone in your household involved in some way from shopping, prepping, cooking to yes even cleaning up!
  • Check out all the cool meal planning apps like Meal Planner Pro or FoodPlanner which you can use to have more fun and creating and keeping track of your meal plan! Check out 5 other meal planning apps here.

Meal-Planning 6As with developing any system, there will be bugs that you will have to figure out. Finding the system that fits your schedule can take some trial and error. Don’t give up! Regardless of what you start with, your plan or system is NOT locked in stone, so don’t be afraid when you get off track or something is not working and needs to change. Just keep experimenting and having fun with what you are doing and by the end of this month see if you can have a system in place that will carry you to the end of this year and into the next one!

Summer Squash Salad Recipe

Summer may be almost over, but summer squash is available well into September so I took advantage of that fact to create this recipe. This is a simple but tasty and easy to prepare salad. It is rich in a variety of different vegetables and features quinoa, a well-known super-food and plant protein powerhouse.

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Summer squash and quinoa are the stand-out ingredients I find in this recipe.

The benefits of summer squash are that, like many fruits and vegetables, it is low in calories and provides a good amount of fibre, vitamin C, and potassium. Zucchini is a specific summer squash and a great source of the carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxathin which can protect our eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Did you also know zucchini is the most popular type of summer squash available?

Quinoa is an incredible source of high-quality plant protein. It is one of the few plants that is a complete protein source (i.e. contains all the essential amino acids). It also offers riboflavin, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and fibre.

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This recipe can make a stand-alone meal on its own or try serving it as a side dish with a grilled chicken breast. What’s even better is how quick to serve and portable it is. It is a great option for packed lunches. Because the recipe yields a good number of portions you can make it at the start of the week and enjoy for several days. Perfect for meal planning!

Summer Squash Salad Recipe