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Podcast Ep 007: Savoring Stress-Free Mealtimes - A Step-by-Step Guide to Effortless Meals

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Savoring Stress-Free Mealtimes

Today I want to share with you a personal meal prep and food tip to help make your mealtimes a little easier.

You’ve probably heard how being prepared can be critical to staying on track when your schedule gets out of control. I was a Girl Scout…so it was taught to me early on to Be Prepared!

But what if you could FINALLY get into a good weeknight routine so that preparing meals would be a breeze? What if you could enjoy stress-free mealtimes?

A solid weeknight routine can make preparing meals a breeze.

Meal Planning Isn't Just About The Food You Eat

I’d been meal planning for a while - looking back now, it was kind of “lazy” meal planning.

I’d pick what I think was enough meals to cook for the week, make my list, then head to the store. When I realized my grocery runs weren’t bringing home the kind of food I knew I needed, I started to change my approach to meal planning.

Planning for healthy meals to cook is not helpful if you don't have the time to cook them.

First, I pulled my calendar out alongside my meal planner and I’d note the nights that were not ideal to cook. Those would be ideal for leftovers, or occasionally a takeout meal.

Then I’d note which days were ideal for cooking and which meals to make sure we’d have enough for leftovers.

Finally, we really emphasized the importance of leftovers. Sometimes the idea of prepping a few meals per day for a whole week can seem overwhelming! Especially if you have a REALLY busy weekend. That’s where food prep and leftovers come in.

I also enjoyed the idea of not having to cook as often. (I REALLY enjoyed the idea of not having to cook as often!)

Updating the Meal Planning Routine

I tried this updated meal planning for a couple of weeks and was really pleased with how much more we were able to actually stick to the meal plan…because I now knew which nights I could cook and which nights I couldn’t…which meant less wasted food and less eating out.

Over time I’ve enhanced my process a bit and it includes all the meals for the week for my family.

Streamlining the process:

  • I’ll get my family involved in choosing some of the meals.

  • We created a list of seasonal favorites so we can rotate our menu with the season, and continue to enjoy our favorites AND get some variety.

  • I’ve been able to incorporate a mix of “clean” meals and more indulgent meals. With the meal planning process I can see where the meals stack so I don’t have indulgent meals too close to each other. Or too often during the week.

  • I can plan out which meals will have leftovers and whether those will be for lunches or dinners…and which ones get put in the freezer for a food emergency in the future.

What About The Leftovers?

How do I plan leftovers? Just start doubling or tripling how much food you cook, and start filling up the fridge and freezer.

Here’s an example: roast a chicken in your slow cooker … enjoy it for dinner tonight … and then shred the leftover meat and add some hot sauce or salsa … and you’ve got easy lettuce taco fillings or salad toppings for meals to come!

Another example: if you’re grilling chicken for dinner, cook extra and cut it up for chicken salad for lunches during the week.

Here’s one more example: The next time you bake a healthy casserole, make TWO. It will only take a few extra minutes, but you’ll have a nourishing meal waiting in the freezer.

Just be sure to write a date on any food you put in the freezer…being frozen doesn’t mean it will last forever. Usually 1-2 months, but it will depend on the food.

To be honest, there are some weeks where I’ve tried to rush my meal planning - and find that I hit the same traps every time. No food ready on the nights that we don’t have time to cook, going through the drive thru or eating overly convenient processed foods. But as I found the rhythm of planning with my calendar, it just makes so much sense that I do it every week now. And we definitely enjoy many more stress-free mealtimes.


Now, I’d like to offer you an Energizing Action you can try today or this week:

Try making a meal plan.

Before your next trip to the grocery store, write out a meal plan. If you’re new to this process, it doesn’t matter what’s on it…what matters in your intention to plan your meals.

If you’ve already been meal planning, try doing so with your calendar and determine which days you can cook.

That’s what I have for you today. If you found it valuable, please like it, leave a review, share it with someone else who might find it valuable.

If you have any questions about creating a healthy lifestyle that works for you, please send them my way! FB or Instagram messenger under UPLIFT Healthy Lifestyle or email me at

Have an energized day!


Since the release of this episode, my coaching options have evolved.

If you're interested in learning how my 1:1 or group coaching can help you reach your healthy lifestyle goals, check out my website or schedule an Energy Optimization Session.

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