Fall is upon us! If you are anything like me and love the freedom that summer brings, then the fall may bring sadness, and perhaps panic. Something like: “Holy crap! It’s back to routine. Lunches and dinners and schedules! Help!!!”
As a health coach, the first thing I recommend to my students (after a deep breath, of course) is a meal planner. Take a moment on the weekend to plan what you will eat in the week. Design your week of eating, make your grocery list, and put it up in your kitchen for easy reference.
The meal planning strategy is especially helpful for those who want to eat healthy, keep off the "emergency" junk food, and avoid late dinners and expensive take-out.
A meal plan eliminates the stress of figuring out what to eat in moments of hunger and exhaustion at the end of your day. In coaching lingo, it removes the "decision fatigue" that we inevitably face after a full day of decision-making that begins from the moment we wake up. It also allows you to be more time-efficient and buy all your groceries for the week in one go. Imagine the hours saved of walking the grocery store isles thinking about what to buy, standing in line to pay (praying you got everything), getting home, and later returning to the store for the things you forgot. Then repeating this routine a few days a week!
In some households (such as mine) it even allows you to delegate cooking to others who may not be good meal-planners, but very capable of following through with a plan that's made for them - especially if the ingredients are already in the fridge. My blog image above provides evidence of this. Thats my husband James don't-make-me-cook Wallace with a plate of freshly made enchiladas in his hand!
Here is a what a meal planner looks like. Grab a piece of paper and make your own! It's simple and effective. Try planning 3 days a week to begin with if you feel resistance to the idea of "too much structure". I went from being super resistant, to fully converted in no time. After all, you know what they say, "Don't knock it till you've tried it!".