One of the five pillars of the white space foundation is creating systems + routine in our daily lives. Meal planning + prepping serves as a consistent system you can lean on to create more margin each week. Margin you can further use to craft intentional moments + white space.
Lindsey of Healthy Uncorked is mapping out the importance of meal planning and how to create a system that works for you!
Tell us about yourself! What is it that you do and who do you serve?
Hi there! I am a Registered Dietitian and nutrition coach. I help individuals forget the crash diets, all or nothing approach and one size fits all diet plan. Those simply won’t work. My mission is empowering individuals to create sustainable eating habits that can be worked within every lifestyle.
There is an easy way to learn what to eat more of, what to avoid, and where to find anything & everything you need – no matter what’s going on in your day. I serve anyone looking to improve their health and upgrade their nutrition and lifestyle!
What advice do you have around creating a meal planning system?
Plan and keep it simple! This may seem like a no brainer, but having a plan of action is what always helps keep individuals on track. Meal planning doesn’t have to be rigid, boring, or overwhelming. Below are my top five meal planning tips:
1) Start Small. You are not going to go from never meal planning to a meal planning pro overnight. Start with meal prepping one meal or even snacks for the week. My Sunday agenda always includes making my energy bites. They are the perfect grab n’ go breakfast, snack and even treat.
2) Have a Plan. I always encourage clients to take a look at their schedule with work, activities, etc. and plan out what they are going to eat throughout the week. This doesn’t have to look like a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal plan exactly, but having an idea of what the meals look like will eliminate last minute fast-food stops, endless time at the grocery store and stress!
3) Variety. This goes hand in hand with the planning. Meal prepping doesn’t mean that you have to have the same lunch Monday-Friday and dinner as well. Switch it up! For example, let’s say you have a large batch of roasted vegetables. Instead of only topping with balsamic vinegar, try a new caesar dressing instead. It’s the little switches that help us avoid burnout and boredom with our foods.
4) Wash & Chop Ahead of Time. This helps SO MUCH and is so impactful, trust me! When you get home from the store, make the extra effort of washing/chopping your fruits and vegetables so they are in their ready-to-eat form. This eliminates one extra step you have to do in your busy week.
5) Meal Prep a Protein. This one is something I’ve realized helps clients the most with feeling overwhelmed when trying to improve eating habits throughout the week. This could look like making chicken in a crockpot, or throwing a batch of protein on the grill Sunday to have throughout the week. It’s much easier to get creative with your meal when the protein is already complete. For example, you know you can throw the chicken on a salad for lunch or even mix it in rice/beans/salsa for a quick dinner.
Why is a meal planning system so important?
A meal planning system is SO important because otherwise, it will be another short-term habit. You need a plan that eases your stress, improves your health & implements some sort of variety to make meal planning sustainable!
What are 3 go-to meals + snacks perfect to add in a meal planning rotation?
This one is definitely individualized. But below are 3 items I meal prep each and every Sunday.
1) Energy Bites – These are the perfect grab n’ go breakfast, snack and even treat.
2) Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables – I love having roasted vegetables on hand because it allows me to get my veggies in, in ways that don’t feel boring! Generally, I stick with the basic olive oil, sea salt and other seasonings when roasting, but I always switch up how I add them into my meals. For example, I can throw roasted red peppers in a taco salad, or throw a bunch of roasted vegetables in a pasta. My absolute number one tip to improve your health is to increase your vegetable intake and this is a great way to do it!
3) Crockpot Protein – The reason I didn’t write a specific protein is because VARIETY is key. Some weeks I crockpot chicken breast, other weeks it looks like salsa chicken thighs or a pot roast.
If you aren’t sure where to start in terms of making sheet pan roasted vegetables or a crockpot protein, head to Pinterest! There are an abundance of recipes and I am positive you can find one to meet your taste preferences.
What words of encouragement do you have for those just getting started with meal planning?
Start small and make it routine. It is important to understand that like anything, it’s a journey. We cannot expect to be experts at something that we’re just starting. Give yourself grace, follow my tips and you will see long-term success!
This system + these tips can be easily integrated into your White Space Planner scheduling each week. Each Sunday, your weekly meals can be charted in the ‘Notes’ section of the daily page. Eliminate the guesswork with meal planning and better visualize the week ahead. Your headspace (and health) will thank you! Grab the daily page below or invest in the 2021 White Space Planner here!