One of the main reasons that I wanted to start a fitness blog, was to inspire myself to start cooking again. It is very difficult to meet fitness or weight goals if you are not sure what is in your food and one of the best ways to find out, is to make your own meals. Now, I understand that this means you have to take the extra time to research and plan your meals, but to me it is a small trade off for the results that come with preparing your own food. Not only do you take control of your diet, but you also learn more about nutrition and you find yourself experimenting with food, which helps to prevent the feeling of "healthy food being boring".
I am always looking for easy and yummy meals that I can make to keep my nutrition interesting and to have something fun to blog about. This has become soooo much easier in the last few years with the wonderful world of social media and technology. As soon as someone finds a recipe or snack that they love, they can get on Facebook or Pinterest and share it with the world.
**This is where Pinterest has saved my life (when it comes to cooking dinner). If you are not currently a Pinner(?), you must become one simply for the the recipes. The basic gist of Pinterest is, that while ANYWHERE on the internet you come across a recipe that looks good, you can instantly "Pin It" to your recipe board. I have the phone app and can browse through all of the recipes that I have pinned at any moment, including in the middle of the grocery store.
Here are some easy tips that I use when planning my weekly meals.
Tips for easy meal planning
- Plan a menu - This does not have to be exact, just pick a couple of meals or recipes that you want to make for the week. I do not plan specific meals for each day of the week, I usually plan 3 to 4 meals and rely on chicken breast and veggies or leftovers for the other days. I try and find one new recipe to try each week just to mix it up.
- Make your grocery list for the week - This helps in multiple ways. It prevents you from buying unnecessary things which saves you money and saves you from impulse buys. Remember, I am all about eating cookies and ice cream but I do not buy them in large amounts from the grocery store because I have no self control. If I want cookies or ice cream, I make a special trip for them or make them at home.
- Make a General Grocery List - I have made a list on my iPhone that contains all of the foods that Ryan and I tend to eat on a weekly basis. This way if I dodn't have time to make a list, I have a basic back-up list that will help me to stay on track.
- Make a Menu Board - I use to always see these in peoples houses and think, "Well, aren't you fancy." But I recently made myself a version of one and I love it!! Mine is just a simple picture frame with pretty paper inside. Then using a dry erase marker, I write the meals that I have just shopped for on the board. This is beneficial because it makes it easy for me to glance at it in the morning and plan which meal I am going to make that night, based on my schedule. ** Note - New recipes or recipes with a lot of steps should be made on nights that you know you will have more time to make them. Its no fun finishing your meal at 9pm, when your starving!!
Overall, this process might seem like a lot of work, but just like anything else it gets easier the more you do it! I find myself looking for recipes while waiting in lines or for appointments, or in the car when Ryan's driving (but not too long, I start to get car sick). By the weekend I have pinned enough to pick what I want to make for the upcoming week. If I make a meal I that I didn't like or it was too much of a hassle I simply delete it from my board so that I don't bother with it again. This process is basically making an easy access recipe database. Happy Pinning!!
Food from this past week
Once you are all set up on Pinterest, you can follow my Mint Condition board. I will post all of the recipes there along with other fun, fitness stuff.
What's your favorite restaurant? I love trying new places!
I was just finishing up this blog post when Ryan's parents showed up with an early birthday present for Ryan, A Grill!! I am so excited :) Looks like I can start pinning grilling recipes!