For me, one of the biggest barriers to eating healthy is time.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no super woman.  I leave the house at 7 a.m. and am lucky if I’m home by 6 p.m.  Suffice it to say, Jared’s not getting a gourmet meal every night, because I simply don’t have time to cook a full meal and work out and be in bed by a decent time.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found that planning out our meals has become extremely helpful in keeping us on track and not wasting valuable time in the evenings.  I’ve always read about meal planning before and thought, “Who has time for that?” but it literally takes us about 2 seconds on a Sunday (sometimes Monday!) to plot out what we can eat for the week.

Planning out our dinners gives me an idea of exactly what we’re eating Monday through Friday.  I’m tired most nights when I get home, and my poor memory usually doesn’t allow me to recall what we had the night before, or the night before that.  We could end up having pasta and rice 5 days a week for all I care at that point (hey, I’m hungry when I get home!).  Seeing it on paper allows us to strike the balance among all of the food groups and ensure we’re not heavily loaded one way or another.  Also, knowing what I’m having for dinner allows me to better plan my lunches to ensure I don’t surpass my caloric intake for the day.

Making my lunch the day before is also important for keeping me on track.  In the mornings, I barely have time to put my shoes on sometimes to make it here by 8 a.m.  If I waited to make my lunch, I’d be grabbing whatever I could and not paying any attention to what it was.  Seeing it out on the counter allows me to get a reality check on exactly what I’m eating during the day.

Finally, planning out our meals ahead of time not only helps us stay on track to better eating, but also prevents 2-3 trips to the store during the week.  If I know we need chicken for Tuesday’s meal, we can get that and anything else we need in one shot instead of wasted trips.  And that’s a huge time saver for me as well!

May sound like something only mothers with kids do, but I have to say, meal planning has made the evenings less stressful!  About.com has some helpful guides for meal planning. Best of luck!

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