Although it may seem like meal prep and planning doesn’t fit into the intuitive eating philosophy, I don’t think that’s the case. By having a weekly meal planner, it can significantly lessen the burden of what to eat, and, if done correctly it can be part of your intuitive eating journey as well. Gone are the days of having the same boring meals everyday, lifeless salads and grilled chicken. Meal prep and having a weekly meal planner can actually be fun and part of a healthy lifestyle, promise.
A weekly meal planner doesn’t need to be rigid at all. It kills me a little to see meal prep and planning done in a way that offers no creative freedom. Or just uses really boring recipes that you get sick of fast. I approach a weekly meal planner and meal prep in a much different way. And I think that it can absolutely be part of a healthy, non-obsessive and intuitive eating approach.
Meal Prep Is the Ultimate Form of Food Freedom:
When I approach meal prep in my own way, I am looking at it as a way to get creative in the kitchen while also being convenient. I get creative in making different vegetables each week along with switching up my proteins as well. This way I don’t get sick of always eating things the same way week after week. For example, one week, I may make a whole chicken as my protein and then the next week, I may make some oven baked tofu. This way I have different proteins available each week. This not only helps with the whole boredom factor, but also it is good for us nutritionally as well. Yes, you read that right. It is always a good idea to switch up our foods (from veggies to carbs to proteins) so that we don’t develop intolerances to them. Plus it is a good idea to get our nutrients from various sources too.
A Weekly Meal Planner Makes Life Easier:
The convenience factor is an obvious one of course. Having lots of options on hand helps us have more freedom to choose that which we really want. Again, the whole point in meal prep and having a weekly meal planner is to make more time for other things. Hopefully one of those things is self-care as we know when that is being neglected, more issues like emotional eating are likely to develop. So rather than having to spend hours in the kitchen every night to get dinner on the table, if we set aside just a bit of time on the weekend or other free day, you’ll discover you have so much more free time. And when we create lots of options we are also creating a lot more food freedom.
How to Meal Prep Intuitively, Successfully:
Meal prepping in an intuitive way can be done. This involves taking into account the various options you may want throughout the week and being prepared with them. For example, you are probably not going to want chia pudding every day, so take this into account and make only 2 or so servings of it for the week. Having options available to you help make eating intuitively possible.
Another thing to consider is if you are a woman, to be aware of your cycle. According to your cycle, you may also crave and need different types of food. Being aware of where you are in your cycle can help you make informed choices about the best options to support you through that phase. There is much more to this (another blog post I suppose) but a great place to start is with the monthly FLO program. This is the app I use to track my cycle and I love how it gives me so much information on the best foods to eat, lifestyle habits and so much more depending on where I am in my cycle. I highly recommend the app and if you want to go further, the book Woman Code is a great start.
How to Meal Prep, Realistically:
Ok, so what we don’t want to do is meal prep in a way that is going to cause more stress, right!? So, avoid making such large quantities of food that you can’t possibly get through it (nor do you want to) during the week. Instead, I recommend meal prepping for 3-4 days of the week. Not only does this make meal prep and weekly meal planning so much more manageable but it also lessens food waste and you won’t end up getting bored with your meals.
It is always a good idea to consider your week ahead before you meal prep and come up with a plan. Are you going to be eating dinner at home every day of the week? If not, then don’t make as much food. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many times I hear about people making all this food each week and they don’t even get through it all. Of course, things can pop up as well, so ensuring that you are flexible in your approach is also important. The last thing I would want is for you to turn down plans because you meal prepped and you fear going out to eat because it will mess up your ‘perfect’ schedule. Being obsessive with anything (meal prep included) can lead to deeper health hang-ups and behaviours. So go easy on yourself too. If you have too much food prepped, see if you can freeze some of it for later.
Free Meal Prep Guide and Recipes:
I do hope this was a good start for you to help you on your meal prep and planning goals. Meal prep and having a weekly meal planner can be part of your intuitive eating journey.
If you are curious to see how you can make meal prep and planning part of your life, download my FREE meal prep made simple guide. It’s filled with delicious recipes and of course all the tips you need to start meal prepping and planning like a PRO.
If you download it and love the recipes, let me know in the comments below! I love hearing from you.