Meal Planning & Prep!

Raise your hand if you struggle with meal planning and prepping!! ✋

I am with you!! 

I get it… You have the best intentions to eat well, get yourself all organized, and stay on track – then BAMM – it all comes crashing to a halt.

What you need is a SYSTEM. – as a person who never liked framework, structure, and systems in my life before – I am completely bought in now!!

The hard part is creating a system that works for you!

We are all a little different in how we like to do things, so finding a process that works for you takes some time, PATIENCE, and constant adjusting.


Meal planning & prepping basically comes down to 4 steps. Here is the order I use:

  1. Look at your week – when are you home & what’s the time frame for each day. (ie… do you need something quick and easy, or does the day allow more cooking/eating time.)
  2. Gather ideas that fit into that schedule – what do you want to eat, recipes, and write down the ingredients you will need.
  3. Grocery shop – with your list in hand go gather your ingredients.
  4. Cook/prep – this is where the tires hit the road – and often…. Where the wheels fall off completely.


Here are a few ideas that may help you to stay on track!

1. Start Small! Just like with exercise, we know it’s not very smart or effective to go from No Exercise to Planning to exercise 7 days in your first week – the same goes for meal planning too!

  • Think of 3 meals to start with. Get a system in place that works for you. Then look to gradually build from there.


  • You don’t need a ton of variety – I eat pretty much one of the same couple of things for breakfast almost every day!


  • You don’t need to plan every meal! Start with picking your trouble areas. Is it snacking, is it lunches, or dinners that trip you up? Start there!


2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

For me, I made the mistake of trying to do all of my meal planning, prepping and grocery shopping in one day.

Every Sunday I sat down and wrote out my plan for the week, made the grocery list based on what I was going to make, shopped, and then tried to cook/prep everything all on the same day.

This failed miserably. If it wasn’t my motivation that let me down, it would be that someone, or something needed my time and attention – and POOF my plan for the day went up in smoke.

Putting all the tasks on the same day was too risky for me. If something didn’t line up just right, I was left with nothing.

Instead, spread out the workload. Look at the basic tasks – Plan, Shop, Prep/Cook. Look to divide the tasks up on different days! (Also call in reinforcements – get the family helping!)

For me – I know that Sunday night I need to have my prepping/cooking done. So I then work my way backwards to plan time to do the tasks.

KEY WORDS: PLAN TIME!! Schedule it in, block it off, carve it out.


3. When you cook.. Make double. 

My Aunt used to say – if you are going to dirty the kitchen anyway, might as well make it worth it!! Haha!

If you are cooking – make extra!! Take the extra and plop it in the freezer to use when you need it.


4. Keep it simple! 

Although we can get really excited about all the wonderful meals we are going to make. The reality is that excitement can wear off pretty quick when we lose the motivation to be in the kitchen cooking.

Look to keep it simple. Buy a roasted chicken, a bagged salad or spinach, and some veggies.

This can cover multiple meals in a really simple way! A chicken salad, a wrap, or each item separate.


5. Look to prep ingredients!

This one is really my go – to. My daughter calls our house, the house of ingredients!

Here is an example of what I mean:

I cooked a pot of quinoa – Put it in a container in the fridge ✅

I oven roast vegetables & or legumes – Sweet potatoes, chickpeas etc. Container in the fridge. ✅

I will hard boil 10 eggs – Container in the fridge. ✅

I will cut up veggies – cucumbers, broccoli, carrots – container in the fridge. ✅

Then all I have to do is go in and put the ingredients together for anything that I need.

A salad bowl, a wrap, ground turkey taco, stir fry, or simply veggies and hummus for a snack. Most of the thought/work is already done!


The reality is that this bit of effort upfront, can often make a big difference in the end. It can actually make life easier and allow you to stay on track with your healthy eating goals!

I would love to hear any other ideas you have when it comes to planning ahead. What system works for you? 

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Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.