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Published on April 10, 2018

weekly mean plan

#TryItTuesday: Time-Saving Tips for Getting Fit

When it comes to time, there never seems to be enough. One of the most significant challenges in getting fit is adding one more thing to our overbooked schedules. Do you struggle to find the “extra” time to exercise?

“An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.” – Dale Carnegie

It’s taken me years to understand (and implement) this advice from Dale Carnegie. When it comes to healthy eating, a few minutes of prep adds the extra hours during my week, allowing me the time to “get fit!”

Here are a few of my favorite healthy eating time-saving tips.

Tip 1: Meal Plan

Here is my step-by-step process:

  1. Grab a blank piece of paper, a pen and a calendar.
  2. Review the scheduled activities for the upcoming week. Make a note of any events that might impact our dinner schedule.
  3. Take a quick look in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Are there any perishables or leftovers? Are there any food items that are outdating? (This process has helped us to save money on our food budget.)
  4. Start the meal planning. On days when we get home from work, these are perfect days for an Instant Pot or Crock Pot meal. On days when we will be home early and want to do a few household chores (or a quick at-home workout) we plan an oven-baked meal. The days when we have a bit more time are perfect for grilling.
  5. I make a quick grocery list of any items that I might not have for the upcoming week. (This saves me time from having to make any extra trips during the week.)
  6. I hang our menu on the fridge.

When making my weekly menus, I keep it simple. Here is an example of our weekly menu:

  • Monday: Chicken and Rice (Instant Pot)
  • Tuesday: BBQs or Tacos (Brown extra hamburger for Thursday hot dish)
  • Wednesday: Salmon, sweet potato, broccoli (Make up hot dish for Thursday dinner)
  • Thursday: Tater tot hot dish
  • Friday: Pizza – pizza night is a family tradition we started over 30 years ago.
  • Saturday: Steaks or hamburgers on the grill
  • Sunday: Grilled chicken salad

Tip 2: Batch Cooking

Have you heard of the “cooking a month of food in a day” meal prep? This option may work for some people. I tried it ONCE. By the end of the cooking day, I was frustrated and exhausted. I needed to find an alternative that helped me save time in the kitchen, yet didn’t require me to give up a day a month.

Batch cooking is a perfect solution for me! Batch cooking is cooking once, eating twice.

A few examples from my weekly menu. The chicken and rice in the Instant Pot recipe makes several servings. I either portion out the leftovers or I make soup.

To make soup, I add some chicken broth, seasonings, and veggies. On Tuesday, when I’m browning my ground beef for BBQs or tacos, I brown up an extra pound for the tater tot hot dish planned for Thursday evening. When grilling on Saturday night, I’ll grill my chicken for Sunday’s meal.

Tip 3: Breakfast on the Go

No matter how early we get up, there never seems to be enough time to make breakfast. On busy mornings, our favorite go-to is breakfast burritos. Most Sunday mornings, we make brunch that includes hash browns, eggs and sausage/bacon. I intentionally make extra. After brunch, I quickly make up breakfast burritos using any leftovers.

Here’s how we make our breakfast burritos:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Hash browns (if we make them)
  • Low-fat shredded cheese
  • Breakfast meat (if desired)
  • Tortilla wraps

Spoon about a half-cup of scrambled eggs, one-third cup of hash browns, one or two tablespoons of shredded cheese and an quarter-cup of breakfast meat onto the tortillas.

Fold up the tortilla and place in individual sandwich bags or wrap with cellophane wrap. Place in freezer.

When ready to eat, warm in the microwave. If desired, add a little salsa on top.

Feel free to substitute the ingredients with your favorite breakfast ingredients, such as turkey sausage, salsa, peppers or onions. An extra tip for breakfast on the go: portion out your cold cereal and place into a baggie.

Tip 4: Create a Snack Station

  • Cut up fresh fruit and veggies and place in individual serving-size containers or bags
  • Cook hard boiled eggs – perfect go-to snack
  • Portion out nuts in snack-size baggies
  • Single serving sizes of applesauce, yogurt, fruit
  • Cheese sticks
  • Low-fat crackers/pretzels

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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