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My goal is to help busy families eat healthy, well-balanced meals on a budget by teaching meal planning strategies that truly save time, money and stress in the kitchen!
Your Meal Plan is your flight plan for the week ahead – what you will be making for dinner (and lunch, if you get that detailed with it). Shopping Day is obviously the day you’re going to purchase all of the ingredients you need for the week ahead (i.e. Cut your chicken breasts horizontally into thinner breasts – thinner breasts cook faster and are also a better individual portion size. For a healthier, yet just as quick breakfast for your kids – phase out all those frozen waffles, pancakes and French toast brands you’re purchasing and replace them with your own homemade, healthier versions.
Since our kids take their lunch to school everyday, healthy and easy kid’s lunch box sides are a must in the Smith house!
Then why not download my free meal planning template perfect for creating your own weekly meal plans.
It’s handy to run onions, carrots and celery through the food processor and fry them in coconut oil or butter in advance. Speaking of which, I keep a large plastic container in the freezer, and all peelings, ends of things, veggies threatening to go bad, etc (except potatoes) go in it so when I have enough bones to do broth, I have it all handy. I COMPLETELY agree with not shopping hungry as food you didn’t intend to buy seems to jump into your cart.
Breakfasts are tricky because I am not a morning person and sometimes hubby’s mornings are WAY too early for me. I spend less than an hour on Fridays putting groceries away, cutting up most of my produce.
Again, research shows that protein is especially important to start your day (after all you’re breaking fast) as it helps to regulate blood insulin levels. Just planning 3-4 meals a week, especially focusing on planning those meal for busy nights, will go a long way in helping you and your family eat healthier and save time and money! Yes, I do have a set day for meal planning and for prepping (usually an hour or two) and I highly recommend scheduling time on your calendar to make out you meal plan each week.
As far as meats and fish, I tend to get these at Whole Foods, Azure Standard (a co-op I belong to) and I love U.S. These meal plans combine the advantage of a low-carb approach with a low calorie meal plan. A 2011 study showed that eating a low-carb diet can help reduce hunger, which is essential if you are following a very low calorie plan of 1200 calories per day. To follow this plan, divide your allotted 1200 calories into three meals of 300 calories each and three snacks of 100 calories each. The diet relies on lean protein, berries, and vegetables as well as the use of cooking spray. If you decide to make other substitutes, bear in mind you will need to reduce the portion size of some items because of differences in calorie counts. You can now view my Mastering Meal Planning presentation as well as download the course handout I provide to local friends who attend my Mastering Meal Planning presentations throughout the Southern California area. I’ve also included a sample (picture) of one of my meal plans for your reference, as well as free pdf downloads of my meal planning templates for use in creating your own meal plans.
For example, if you have a super tight schedule on Tuesdays, plan for it to be a quick and easy-to-prepare meal night.
By prepping ahead, you’ll save time and you’ll be less stressed out in getting a healthy, homemade meal on the table during busy weeknights. Use ground meat to mix and form into meatballs and burgers that can be frozen for later use.
For example, I find it super helpful to pre-chop, rinse and store lettuce for salads for the week ahead.
After cutting the breasts, place them in a ziplock freezer bag with your favorite marinade. Even the healthy brands are not as healthy as homemade and they are much more expensive per serving! For example, a lot of people start with eliminating refined sugar and start making their own healthier sweet treats using natural sweeteners. I went through a nutrition class a few years ago at our local county extension service & that was so helpful in learning how to menu plan. So by adding eggs in some form, the meal becomes more satisfying and yes, also increases the protein content, which is great for many reasons.
That’s why, I also serve either a boiled egg or side of turkey bacon or sausage when having oatmeal or rice porridge for breakfast.
If you start out slow and remain consistent, it’s a lot easier to build on that success.
My challenge is that I am single and usually make small trips to different food stores during the week.
So you are in control to determine what meals work for you based on your healthy eating goals (again see post above about setting goals) and can determine what portion sizes are best for you as well. Making meal planning a priority will really save you so much time the rest of the week, as well as keep you on track with your healthy eating goals.
I actually have containers into which I directly portion off leftovers, so that they’re ready to go in the mornings. I recently read the book Nourishing Traditions that I got from my mother in law and I must just say I was in love with it..
Wellness Meats – wish I could afford more of their products as they’re excellent! Set at 1,200 calories and under 25 grams of carbs per meal, this plan is considered very low-calorie and moderately low-carbohydrate. These two strategies together can accelerate weight loss, helping you achieve quick results.


If you can see results for your efforts while experiencing minimal hunger, you are more likely to stick to the plan and less likely to stray down paths with foods higher in calories.
In many cases, the meals listed below have lower effective carbohydrate counts because fiber is counted as a carbohydrate as far as nutritional information goes, but it does not affect blood sugar the way other carbohydrates do. Feel free to mix and match for a meal plan that will maintain you at around 1,200 calories per day with low carbohydrate counts. A tablespoon of oil or butter contains up to 120 calories, calories you cannot afford to add, if you are sticking to the 1200 calorie plan. An online calorie counter and reading food labels can help you make good choices while staying within the calorie limit using low carb foods. Combining low calorie options with foods low in carbs can help you achieve your weight goals that much quicker.
Simple visit Free Video Course: Mastering Meal Planning to watch my free eCourse on meal planning. Taking time to really think-through this first step will save you a ton of time in the long run – no more racking your brain to try to think of what you should make for the week. Or plan for it to be a “left-overs night” where you can simply warm-up a meal from a previous evening.
Reorganizing your frig and pantry ensures you know what’s on hand, where it’s located and enables you to quickly and more efficiently unload your groceries when you return home from the market.
I also like to precook and freeze ground meat for use in meals like tacos, chili, soups, etc. Simply plan ahead to make a big breakfast (or have breakfast for dinner) and make a double batch of homemade waffles, pancakes or French toast and individually wrap and place in freezer bags the leftovers.
You can use either mini-snack-sized baggies, or if you want to be more sustainable, use mini-plastic containers that can be washed and reused. By going slowly, you’ll also find it much easier to get those picky eaters on board too. There are a couple of reasons why I would add eggs to a breakfast of muffins and smoothies.
With that said, when my boys were little, I found that yogurt, a high protein muffin (such as a muffin made with almond flour or coconut flour) and some fruit was plenty to satisfy them. So if you were doing a dinner meal plan only, then perhaps only plan 3-4 dinners per week for about 3-4 weeks and then add from there.
I also like variety, don’t fancy elaborate cooking weeknights, and want to get more grains and beans into my food regime, while having small portions to help reduce my chunky stomach and hips. I have a post that discuss how to develop a food budget, however, the tips provided are really focused on encouraging individuals and families to create a healthy eating game plan. A great way to plan out portion sizes is to look at the number of servings listed in a recipe and then adjust accordingly. I am so glad you’re finding this site helpful to you as you begin adopting a healthy real food lifestyle. As far as snacks, have you checked out my snacks section on the site, there are many different options from sweet to savory. I would love to just use your premade meal plans but my son wont eat alot of things on there. It's important you eat at least 1,200 calories per day in order to support your body's basic metabolic needs. The best way to ensure you are adhering to calorie and carb counts is by weighing your food on a kitchen scale or measuring it carefully. Variety helps ensure you do not become bored with your diet, and eating a variety of foods across the spectrum of color will ensure you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Because vegetables, particularly leafy greens, are low in both carbohydrates and calories, they figure strongly into these meal plans. Ensuring you actually have left-overs for “left-overs night” is simple when you plan ahead for it – just make extra of a meal that reheats well, and “voila,” leftovers night! If you don’t have a good propane grill, I recommend that you seriously consider investing in one!
Then simply take them right out of your freezer and place into your toaster oven for a quick, yet healthy breakfast.
It helps to come up with a plan that you and your hubby agree about and then share the plan with the kids explaining why you and Dad have decided that healthy eating is important. For example, if you’re making two meals a week and eating out the rest of the time, start by planning those two meals and maybe adding one more day for a total of three planned meals. One is for the benefit of the extra protein since research studies show that high protein breakfasts better satisfy appetite, and also help to regulate blood insulin levels. You can either reduce the recipe so you don’t have any leftovers, but I recommend having at least one extra serving that can be refrigerated or frozen for a later date. Sounds like you’re very committed to nourishing your family, which is so wonderful to hear. He is almost 3 and all he will eat willingly is sandwiches and fruit, but anything else, even just placing something on a plate in front of him, he will run crying to his room. The outline is tailored to my recommended 1,200-1,399 calorie range, so if your calorie count is different, yours will look slightly different.Monday through Friday, I did two yellow containers at dinner (meal 5).
And, as you start trying new recipes, remember to add the ones your family like to your Master List of Meals. Here’s a secret for making your own fresh-sliced apple sides for the week ahead: Cut apples and place into individual containers with a dash of pineapple juice, shake well to distribute the juice – they will stay fresh all week. As you get comfortable with meal planning and see it’s benefits, you can increase from there.
Of course, you can make a full portion if you want a lot of extra servings to store for future meals that are quick to reheat on busy nights. For example I need to remember to plan for 3 meals on Saturdays and Sundays, but only two on weekdays, or even just dinner, because I eat out with colleagues at least twice a week.


He used to eat everything and was just so in love with food and he has slowly dwindled down to just a few things. In order to maximize nutritional intake, the 1200 calorie low carb meal plan leaves no room for empty calories. My green container was also a double for lunch.Click here to download an excel template for making your own meal plan. This preteen phase is starting to make me think I may need to get a part-time job to feed them. So if I plan on Sunday for the week, I’m already having to figure out shopping for the next Sunday, without giving myself a monster list to fill on any given day on the weekdays. Its just been within the last several years that I have been changing my habits as far as eating and being more organic..
The Lord is so good in helping us to maintain balance when we remember to present all of our concerns and desires to Him and seek His direction (Matthew 6:25-33). You might notice that for some food groups, I have less foods listed than the number of portion cups allowed for the day.
So the best way to feed him is to model healthy eating and only stock your home with choices that are nutritionally sound. I tend to pick up bags of legumes as I need them, and at the end of the week I’m getting lots of produce and some meat. You want a balance of healthy proteins and fats, organic, pastured animal sources are terrific such as pastured poultry, eggs, beef and wild-caught fish rich in omega 3s.
It really is the best way to stay on track with your diet (and ultimately, spend less money too!)For the 21 Day Fix diet, you should be eating mostly whole foods. Other healthy fats come from nutritional powerhouses like coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and whole milk dairy products, which if cultured are excellent sources of calcium and probiotics. This means the majority of your grocery shopping will be done around the outer perimeter of the grocery store, which is always where all the good stuff is hidden.I used this grocery list for the 21 Day Fix by printing it out and making a note in the margins of how many servings of each container I needed for the week. If u can give me any tips on feeding a 4 and a half year old and kinda what he should be eating that would be greatly appreciated.. If he has no issues with dairy sensitivity, cultured dairy once a day is a great source of good nutrition. And of course the mainstay is to get those organic veggies in there, raw or slightly steamed is best. But we Moms know this can be a challenge with some kiddos ?? I also highly recommend cultured veggies (also referred to as lacto-fermented foods). Studies show that starting your day off with a nutritious breakfast is one of the biggest factors of success not only in your diet, but in your life in general.It also makes filling a red container super easy.
They are excellent because they provide the added benefit of gut-healthy probiotics and enzymes.
It Is Not Just a Workout Program February 25, 2014 24 My 3 Day Quick Fix Guide for the Best Results September 12, 2015 55 21 Day Fix Snack Ideas October 11, 2014 111 21 Day Fix Workout Schedule & Portion Control Diet Sheets March 7, 2014 88About The Author admin Email AuthorI have struggled with weight issues my entire life.
It is about being healthy on the inside AND outside.477 Comments Kelly July 5, 2014 Reply Can you substitute Shakeology with just normal protein powder? In the comment, it seemed as though the person felt like if they drank a shake they would get amazing results, so I replied “Whole foods are always going to be best. I like to describe Shakeology as the missing link that fills in nutrtional gaps, but it is never going to make up for a poor diet”.
A lot of people think shakes or pills can make or break results, I don’t feel this way, in the post I say that the shake is not a requirement. I never say anywhere that the shake is the best option, I said whole foods are the best investment. It is hard for me to have a highly varied diet, I have to meal prep most of my foods, I’m just to busy and I wind up eating a lot of the same foods. I would not spend money on a shake that contained these ingredients no matter the price or would I recommend others to.
Bethany Naomi February 14, 2015 Hi Bethany, I am in the same boat as Kelly in which I can not afford the shakes AND the fix . And if you aren’t able to purchase the shakes, just make sure to fill its place with a healthy lean protein. Bethany Jamie April 1, 2015 Reply Actually I believe Shakeology is the best out there and nothing else can compare to it. Thanks Carol Bethany Lyn March 2, 2015 Reply Hi Carol, Unfortunately, you really need fresh or frozen fruit.
Canned fruit has nearly no nurtitional value as the canning process destroys most of the nutrients. Bethany Mary March 24, 2015 Reply Carol, I just wanted to add that anything you do is better than doing nothing. They might have a city program like Good Food Box Program that offers delivery of fruits & vegetables, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
The people I see that get the best results are those who follow the diet as is and push themselves in the workouts. Bethany Lelayna August 22, 2015 Reply Hi Carol, I just wanted to let you know that stores like Shop Rite and Stop & Stop offer delivery programs for people who cannot get out to the grocery store. You would also count any other foods that you add with their corresponding colored containers.
Also will using lactose free products (yogurt(sadly there is not a lactose free greek yogurt. I know there is a coconut greek style and it is NOT good at all) and milk) make a difference?




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