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Happy 2019! Does the thought of New Year’s fill you with excitement, or fill you with dread?

For years, the pressure to change on Jan. 1 was paramount (and I have to admit, years later, I still am conditioned to feel a bit this way). Some kind of drastic weight loss program had to start, along with my list of what was I going to cut for the month (alcohol? sugar? carbs?).

This all lasted about a week. Funny how big, vague changes can get so forgotten so quickly. What I was really feeling is that I didn’t want to be so drastic and feel like I had to suffer, or tough it out.

Over the years, I learned something that shifted the way I look at food, my weight, and my energy. It made all the sense in the world.

Last week I filled you in on why meal planning totally changed my life – for the better (you can read about that here).

Planning out my week’s meals helped me lose weight, get more creative in the kitchen and become more mindful of things that mattered to me, like balancing my hormones and energy.

Total win-win.

I wanted to share with you how I actually execute my meal plans so they are not overwhelming. Meal planning should make life easier, never more complicated!

Let’s take a look at how I plan out my meals so my week is relaxed and not rushed.

My Simple Meal Planning System

I Give Meal Planning My Full Attention. Sundays are typically my day to sit down and plan. I am less rushed and I give myself the gift of time. Cup of tea, a notebook, pen, and my computer are then all I need to start.

I Start With Dinners (and Lunch). Look at your calendar. What is going on for you this week?  How I plan dinners is dependent on my schedule for the week. I look at what I have coming up and where my pockets of time are. If I am teaching cooking classes at nighttime, those days become slow cooker days. I can start in the morning and my husband can finish at night. I sometimes think by theme – Tuesday Taco Night or Meatless Mondays. I always double dinners so they become next day’s lunch for my husband and me.

I Plug In Breakfast. I am certainly guilty of getting stuck in breakfast ruts and eating the same thing for days at a time. I am a huge fan of oatmeal in the winter and eat this at least three times a week. Two other days might be overnight oats that I make the night before. On weekends, when I have more time to cook in the morning, I gravitate towards eggs.

Most Important, I Make Sure There Is Variety. My overriding priority when it comes to meal planning is to make sure I am getting a balanced variety of nutrients in my week. I want to eat seafood twice a week, lots of dark leafy greens, orange vegetables, whole grains, good for you fats and proteins. Seeing my meal plan laid out on paper allows me to see what I need to add in or take out.

I would love to hear from you. Do you incorporate meal planning into your week? How has the experience been for you? Share in the comments below!

If healthy eating, more energy, and happy hormones are part of your resolutions this year, it starts with a plan. Join me January 21st for Healthy Eating Jumpstart, 3 weeks of delicious recipes, plans, ideas and accountability to make this year great! Doors are opening this week.