3 Meal Planning Tips to Reduce Weekday Stress

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3 Meal Planning Tips to Reduce Weekday Stress

By Kaitlin Balavender 

One of the biggest wakeup calls of adulthood is finding the time to grocery shop, prepare meals, and eat. When you’re a kid it’s easy to take this for granted when food is on the table and in your lunchbox every day. A full belly meant life was good.

As a twenty-something, I work five days a week and take three classes at the local community college. I’m tired, sleep deprived, and stressed. The last thing I want to do when I get home at 7:30 is cook a meal. Like many, sometimes I find myself reaching for the phone to call in a large cheese pizza or chicken fried rice. While there’s nothing wrong with take out every once in a while, if it’s becoming the norm simply because of convenience, it’s time to take back the control. Here are some steps you can take to bust out of your mealtime rut so your waistline and wallet will thank you!

Plan Ahead

I know this seems obvious, but I cannot stress it enough. When your meals are not planned, it’s easier to reach for food that’s quick and convenient. Sometimes this means stopping at a fast food joint during your half hour lunch break because that’s all that’s around. Perhaps you pass a pizza shop on your drive home when you’re exhausted. Pizza sure beats cooking at meal at 8:00 at night, now doesn’t it?

Here are some alternatives:

  • Pack your lunch for work the night before. Include whole grains and fiber rich vegetables, which will keep you full and focused. I personally love cooking high-in-protein quinoa mixed with tomatoes and avocado (full of healthy fats).
  • Bring a large bottle of water to work with you. Aside from being the quickest cure for a parched palette, water keeps you full and flushes out toxins in your body. You’ll feel more awake and a better sense of concentration.
  • If you don’t own a crock-pot, it’s time you invested in one. I throw chicken, potatoes, and veggies in the crock-pot before I go to work. When I get home, a meal awaits my grumbling tummy. Just serve and eat!

Prepare a double or triple batch of soup on Sunday night

My personal favorite is Weight Watchers One Point Turkey Chili. It’s made with lean ground turkey and chock full of zucchini, bell peppers, and celery. It makes a perfect quick and filling dinner and is easy to heat up at work. Add some shredded cheddar to the top, pair with some whole grain tortilla chips, and you’ve got a meal that will last all week. It’s a grab and go alternative for those days you’re too busy to prepare lunch in the morning.

Make your morning coffee at home

Like many working (or nonworking) folks, coffee kick starts my day. The antioxidant filled beverage has health benefits along with that much needed jolt of caffeine. It can, however, be draining your wallet. If you buy coffee every morning, you’re easily spending $15-$20 a week. My gym membership costs less than that! Making coffee at home can be simple and fun! You can buy a coffee maker that brews one cup at a time, like this one, or conventional coffee maker. Coffee is sold in a variety of wonderful flavors and making it yourself gives you more control over the amount of ingredients you’re putting into your coffee. These fun lids turn mason jars into on-the-go coffee mugs! Move over Starbucks!

If you follow these simple steps, eating a wholesome, homemade meal for lunch or dinner doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. Making simple tweaks to your daily routine can make for a more rested, less stressed, healthier version of your fabulous self.

About Kaitlin:

Kaitlin is passionate about writing and is pursuing a degree in journalism. She loves reading and still subscribes to magazines and goes to the library regularly. When she’s not daydreaming about her future career, she enjoys traveling, being with her family, and finding fun ways to stay active.

1 Comment

  1. LOVING all of these great tips! It’s soo challenging for me to get in the habit of cooking regularly during the workweek, but very essential. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

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