Simple Meal Planning Tips
Hey there Beautifully Nutty readers! My name’s Rebecca, and I blog at Soft Serve and Squats. I’m a long-time reader of Beautifully Nutty and adore Melanie’s recipes and advice, so I’m extremely excited to be the blogger behind today’s guest post!
In my little corner of the blog world, I show that streamlining sensible eating and fitness into a busy lifestyle is truly attainable. So, this morning, I’m going to share with you some strategies and tips that I’ve found helpful as I strive to prepare homemade meals, being a college student on a limited budget.
The college years can be notorious for late-night fast food runs and endless cups of ramen. The smart planning strategies that I’m sharing today make it easy to combat that stereotype, and implement healthy eating in spite of the craziness of everyday life!
1. Grocery list. Making a list of groceries and taking a weekly trip to the grocery store to purchase basic supplies is a small investment of time, but is the first step to ensuring that I’ll have easy, healthy meals on weeknights.
2. Keep pantry staples on hand. While I don’t believe it’s necessary to plan a weekly menu, keeping the basics on hand is key. With a few staple ingredients, there are endless meal possibilities that come together without much thought at all. Some of my staple items include shrimp, chicken, green vegetables, rice, pasta, and sweet potatoes!
3. Make meals in advance. If I know I’ve got a really busy week coming up, I sometimes do a week’s cooking on Sunday night, and reheat leftovers for the week. That way, I get four nights of cooking out of the way in the amount of time it would take me to prepare one meal! While eating the same thing a few nights in a row can be monotonous, it’s not a bad trade-off for the convenience.
4. Take advantage of the Crock Pot. The Crock Pot does literally all of the hard work while I’m out and about at class, the library, or the gym. One of my favorite Crock Pot recipes is Salsa Chicken, which is is quite literally foolproof! By placing a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker in the morning and pouring a jar of salsa on top, I come home to perfectly cooked and seasoned pulled chicken that I can stuff inside a tortilla with toppings, lay on a salad, or simply eat plain!
5. Don’t forget about frozen ingredients. Ingredients like frozen chicken breasts, frozen shrimp, and frozen broccoli have a much longer shelf life than fresh ingredients, allowing me the flexibility to make them whenever I need them. By having a small stock of frozen meats and vegetables, I don’t have to worry about planning precisely when I’m going to make something. If it’s in the freezer, it’s not going anywhere!
6. Have basic seasonings on hand. I have Mrs. Dash seasonings for every flavor profile, from Mexican to Italian. This makes it super simple to transform basic ingredients like beans, ground beef, chicken, and vegetables, no matter my mood!
So, there you have it: a college girl’s quick-guide to making homemade meals in a pinch! I hope you find some of these tips and tricks helpful in your busy lifestyle.
Thanks, Melanie for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to guest-post! Have a wonderful day!