Back up plan

Life happens, am I right? Sometimes your best intentions and even your best plans may NOT happen. That’s where a back up plan comes in. A back up plan helps us when things get crazy.

You see, often when things get crazy, our health and fitness goes to the bottom of the list. We have to break that cycle. Do you know why? Because you’re very important. You’re very important to people in your life. If you don’t find a way to make it work, you’re not going to be able to fulfill the roles that are making you “too busy” to be healthy.

Capisce?

You’ll be worse at work, worse as a parent, worse as a spouse if your health isn’t taken care of.

You’re also setting a terrible example to anyone watching by putting yourself and your health at the bottom of the list. Do you want that for the people you love? Is that what you want to teach them? I know it’s not.

So, one method to deal with the craziness is to have a back up plan for your nutrition.

Step 1 is to always have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you’re just planning to fail. Unless you’re already super mindful about your food, you WILL NOT navigate toward really great choices as easily as you will with a full plan. (I offer new plans EACH week with shopping lists and recipes in my group!)

So, if for some reason Step 1 gets lost on us, let’s move on with grace. Let’s say it somehow came to be 4:30 and you have to leave for gymnastics and have zero plans for dinner. (No worries, that’s never happened to me.)

You need to have a back up plan! I live my life according to lessons learned on Friends. In Friends, Phoebe suggests to Rachel she should get a back up in case she isn’t married by 40. So, naturally Rachel tried to ask her friends Ross and Joey to be her back up. She realizes then that Phoebe has cunningly committed BOTH men as a back up to the back up.

And so it shall be for us.

Here are 4 back up plans in case dinner just escaped you:

  1. No cook salad. Yes, it’s boring, but it’s doable! Part of your monthly shopping should ALWAYS include things like EVOO, dijon honey, olives, avocado/cheese, the best deli meat you can afford and fresh veggies like lettuce and tomatoes. So fast! (Here’s a from scratch salad dressing recipe) You can put it in a wrap to make it different. And, if you have some turkey bacon on hand, swap a slice or two of deli meat for it!
  2. Breakfast for dinner. Again, you’ll have these ingredients on hand because you make it a priority to get ingredients for breakfast on your monthly shopping trip. And breakfast is usually pretty healthy. For example, if I’m really in a dinner bind, I throw a few eggs, spinach and tomatoes in the skillet. Tada! The kids might get the same with some pancakes added in!
  3. Shake for dinner. I don’t advise doubling up shakes everyday but in a pinch, go for what we call two-a-days: a second shake. Add in banana, peanut butter and greens to make it more filling. This is way better than other choices you’ll make!
  4. Something healthy at the grocery store. Aldis, Walmart, Trader Joes and Target ALL have some healthy to go items that are better than other choices you’ll have.

You might have ones of your own that would work really well. What are they? Commit a few moments to thinking about them now so when crunch time comes you’re ready.

*This is the kind of stuff I post daily in my health and fitness group. If you’d like to join my online health & fitness group, just let me know below.

35 Theme Menu ideas to make meal planning easier!

Theme menus!

Meal planning is the key to healthy eating and eating on a budget. It’s also the key to de-stressing your life. You exchange time for peace. You invest time, say, on Sunday to plan what you’re going to eat. That way on Thursday night you don’t have to worry about what is for dinner as you’re driving to soccer practice. You’re already stressed and having to figure out dinner is a bummer. That might mean you spend more time and money at a drive thru.

MEAL PLANNING TO THE RESCUE! It’ll help you in those moments. It can be tough to get started though. Theme menus are a great way to brainstorm ideas and to give you some training wheels as you try something new.

If it works for Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, it can work for us! With a little adjustment. He had Thai on Monday, Cheesecake Factory on Tuesday, Thursday Pizza night and Friday was Chinese takeout night.

sheldon.gif

I have three kids and a budget. I also don’t have his metabolism. My first theme Menu looked like this:

Monday: Chicken

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Salmon (me), Macaroni & Cheese (kids) and Broccoli (all)

Thursday: International day (unstuffed egg rolls or Korean beef or Stir Fry or Pasta)

Friday: Pizza movie night!

Saturday: Soup or grill

Sunday: Crockpot meal

Here are 35 different Theme Menus idea that might help make your meal planning a little easier. You could plan out much more than a year if you wanted to try them all without repeating too often!

Themes by day of the week are popular, especially if they include alliteration:

  1. Taco Tuesday (My love of the Lego Movie requires I mention this first).
  2. Meatless Monday.
  3. Meatloaf Monday.
  4. Mexican Monday (fajitas, enchiladas, empanadas, anything will do except Menudo. Just no).
  5. Make Ahead Monday. (Freezer meals–helps deal with manic Monday)
  6. Take out Tuesday.
  7. Pizza Friday.
  8. Throwback Thursday (leftovers) .
  9. Slow Cooker Sunday (It’s easier to relax if you don’t have to tend to cooking!).
  10. Smokin’ Saturday (Grill! BBQ!).
  11. Souper Saturday (Winter alternative to grilling on Saturday).
  12. Nacho night (I’m game for this to be ANY night of the week).
  13. Something new Sunday.

Category Themes:

  1. Breakfast for dinner!
  2. Casserole night.
  3. Burger night.
  4. Sheet pan dinners (I love one dish meals).
  5. One pot dinners (this is particularly great with the Instant Pot).
  6. Salad / raw food night.
  7. Chili night (there are SO many varieties!)
  8. Bowl night (think Chipotle!)
  9. Sandwiches.
  10. Bar night / DIY night (There are so many things that are DIY-able like a Taco Bar, a Baked Potato Bar, Salad Bar, Frito Pie bar, Mashed Potato Bar, Chili bar).
  11. Kid choice night (This can be an opportunity for fun and also more work soooo).
  12. Traditional foods (things you ate or your parents ate as a kid…old school).
  13. Fend for yourself night (Mamas, this is a top choice if your kids are older).
  14. Zero-Based Pantry night (Like a zero based budget, at the end of the month you clean out the fridge/pantry and eat whatever is left for dinner!).
  15. Keto night.
  16. Paleo night.
  17. Low carb night.
  18. Vegetarian night.
  19. Vegan night.
  20. Whole 30 night.

You can also theme around certain foods in order to ensure variety. Proteins & starches are good choices to theme around. You keep the same basic item, use different recipes to keep it new and fresh!

  1. Chicken, seafood, beef, vegetarian, pork, turkey.
  2. Pasta (spaghetti, chili mac, Alfredo), rice (chicken fried, sticky, paella, risotto) beans (chili, bean soup), potatoes (baked, diced, mashed), bread/toast/sandwiches, tortillas (tacos, quesadillas).

Now, here are two additional resources for you on the topic of meal planning:

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A Printable to make your own theme menu! Just shoot me your email below and it’ll be in your inbox!

 

 

 

A video that shows you how I meal plan.

I’d love to help you come up with a meal plan! I’d love to help you on your fitness journey! Just reach out and let’s get started.