Live a More Efficient Life With This Simple Trick

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A few years ago I had been at a very low point in my life. I am almost positive I was suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. I didn't feel like myself at all, and I had no idea how to fix it. I was scared of everything. After a woman told me I was a crappy parent for bringing my children out to dinner I was at such a low, and I had a hard time getting myself out of it. Even my chiropractor told me he could tell I just wasn't myself.

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I began searching for ways to feel better. I didn't know I was suffering from anxiety, I thought this was just who I was now. I was terrified of raising my children as a person who felt so disconnected from everything. How could I possibly be who they need to be?

At this time, a friend in direct sales asked if I wanted to join her clean eating challenge for the week. I found it as an opportunity to change something in my life I saw needed to be fixed. My husband and I sat down and decided we weren't going to eat anything out of boxes anymore. No more hamburger helper (I can't believe I'm admitting out loud that we used to eat that crap!) or fast food. We discovered quinoa, and tried to eat a home cooked meal for dinner every night.

I had never felt so good in my life. After I did this week with my friend, I had started working out, and feeling amazing. I feel that changing my eating habits permanently changed my life. It's easy to follow once you see the change it creates in your life. How can you harness the same results in your life?

Meal planning. It will change your life.

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What's so great about meal planning? Well, I'm glad you asked. You see, you're going to eat food every day for the rest of your life. Why not plan for it? Why should it be a surprise you need to cook those meals? With just a little work at the beginning of your week, you can prevent fast food eating and convenience food dependence. I believe in you! And at the end of this post I will have a cute meal planner for you to print out and try in your home.

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Let's get to it. How to meal plan. Meal Planning for Beginners. How to Meal Plan for the Week. How to Meal Plan for a Month. What is a healthy meal plan? How to meal prep. How to meal plan on a budget. How to meal plan for weight loss. Menu planning ideas! 

Start With a Master Food List

The most beneficial part of my friend's meal plan was the master food list. The first part of planning meals is picking out the food you want to make this week, and then creating a shopping list from that list. You can find these online, or create your own. When we plan our meals we pick out five dinners for the week, and then take the ingredients and put them on a list for grocery shopping. After a few weeks, we started putting the list together based on where were in the grocery store. First was veggies and fruits, then meats, dairy, and finally extras in the middle. We could easily plan for days that we were going to be away, or home late when we looked at our schedule. It was also super simple to create goals with a list! 

Consider Your Goal

My goals were quite simple. I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to stop panicking every time meal time came around. I wanted to have everything I needed available so I could create dinner simply, without much will power. What are your goals? Do you want to reduce stress, or have more down time to enjoy being with your family? Maybe you want to lose some weight, or follow a keto diet. 

Look at Your Week 

Do you have other plans this week? Make sure you plan for what you're doing this week. If you have a kid's gymnastics class on Wednesdays, you'll want to plan for it so you aren't running around trying to figure out a last minute meal while everyone is starving. I find that almost always leads to fast food. Don't forget to plan for snacks, too! 

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Consider Your Containers or Cookware
One thing many people do not consider about meal planning are the containers they will be using. This can make a big difference in how you plan out your meals. Most people do use containers that have several slots for protein, vegetables, fruits, and sauces, you know what diet I'm talking about. If you will primarily be doing full meals, then these are ideal. You may also want to bento boxes, soup containers, or other options. Consider what types of meals you want to have and then make sure you have the containers for them. It's also important to make sure you have all the pieces you need for cooking. For example, some Instant Pot recipes require accessories such as a small spring form pan for cheesecakes, or stacking insert pans for lasagna, rice or quinoa. It's important to have these ahead of time. 
Time Frame Planning
Considering your time frame is something that goes along with meal planning basics. You need to make sure that you are planning for a set amount of days. Most people do weekly meal planning while larger families may do planning for the whole month. The time frame along with the food lists and goals can greatly affect your budget, so considering a time frame is vital.
These basic principles of meal planning can help you get started. Remember, there is no set defined way of meal planning. The idea is to work with the diet you want, plan the meals, and make sure they work for you and your lifestyle. It may take a little time to get things on a solid track, but once they are you will find meal planning to be an easier route on many levels.

Don't forget to pick up your freebie, a meal planner with a bonus list for groceries. Everything you need to get started today, so go ahead and grab that below.

Do you meal plan already? What are some of your favorite meals?

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