7 Strategies to Help Professionals Stop Stressing Over Meal Planning

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Sigh. I had just finished a very full day working at home and my brain was drained. I was trying to wrap things up by 5:30 and then still had to think about making dinner.

5-6:00pm is a tricky time for me. I’m starting to get hungry. I’m feeling the pressure of not having the task list to the point I wanted it to be by now. (In other words, done.)  I am trying to eat healthier foods more often. And cooking dinner doesn’t feel like a relaxing hobby. So what’s a busy professional to do?

Come up with a strategy.

Sometimes half the battle is won in planning. It’s easier to execute good habits when you’ve taken the time to strategize. So here are seven ideas to help you combat the stress that can come with meal planning.

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1. Assign themes to specific days.

Here’s an example:

Sunday: Spend/Social/Simple Sunday (go out for lunch, spend time with friends, have simple meals like leftovers or maybe do the big family meal)

Monday: Meatless Monday (roasted veggies, salads, fruit dishes or quiche can be a healthy way to start the week and provide leftovers to use as sides the rest of the week)

Tuesday: Timer Tuesday (any meal that can use an appliance with a timer, such as a crock pot)

Wednesday: Wing It Wednesday (everyone is on their own…eat leftovers, have cereal, or I guess you could get wings!)

Thursday: Tureen Thursday (Anything that would cook up in a pot, such as soup. This is also a good way to throw in some leftovers from earlier in the week)

Friday: Fun/Finger Food Friday (quick fun stuff like pizza, sandwiches, etc.)

Saturday: Spirit/Social Saturday – (as the Spirit leads, time with friends)

2. Establish healthy routines. There’s nothing wrong with having a power smoothie every morning as your breakfast, if that works for you. So what if others would think that is boring? Find healthy versions of food themes mentioned above and use them. For example, you can make or order healthier versions of pizza. Only stock food that is reasonably healthy. If there are no chips in the pantry, you’ll find something else to eat.

3. Plan ahead. It’s a good idea to plan your meals at least a week in advance. I’m training myself to also plan my lunches and snacks, which can help me consume healthier items than just grabbing something.

4. Always make a little extra. Leftovers are great for next-day lunches and if you make a double portion of some types of meals (like pasta), you can freeze half for another full supper in a couple of weeks. This is helpful no matter the size of your family.

5. Utilize your freezer. Depending on your family size, you may want to get into the “cooking for the freezer” movement and stock up for several days or even weeks in advance. You can also pre-freeze cut up onions and veggies to throw into stir fries, soups and casseroles and have bags of frozen fruit ready for making homemade sherbet or to throw into smoothies. I freeze breakfast portions of steel cut oats, scrambled eggs, and cut up pancakes and fruit to grab as a light breakfast when I’m going to be working in an office away from home.

6. Carry at least one healthy snack with you at all times. Sometimes just staving off that feeling of hunger can give you the strength to then cook a healthier meal.

7. Save money when eating out. Watch for coupons, frequent customer cards, and savings books. We bought an Entertainment book for a fundraiser and have had fun tracking our savings. So far we’ve saved over $100 in about six months using coupons from that book during times when we would likely have gone out anyway. Plus we’ve gotten to try some new places.

Engage (at the blog or on social media): How do you usually handle meals during your busy work day?

Think about:

Why is it important to take the time to strategize about areas that cause stress for you?

Does your company encourage healthy eating?

What snack can you share with your colleagues this week that will bless them?

Do you follow a meal plan for your personal life?

Does your spiritual life play into what and how you plan for your food needs?

Do you agree or disagree with the following quotes?

acts food

Paul Prudhomme Food



Sources: [biblegateway passage=”Acts 2:46″]      Brainyquote.com

Remember:  Last year I participated in a 15-day food detox. Here are 12 things I learned from the experience.

Benefit from: I highly recommend the services and resources provided by Chris DeHollander Health Coaching at Nourish2Live. She uses a variety of means to encourage us to live in a more healthful way.

Share: which of your colleagues would benefit from some fresh ideas or reminders about meal planning? Share this with your friend or networks today and tell them to subscribe to receive 11 Strategies for a Less Stressful, More Productive Workday – a free printable!

Also enjoy (although I have looked over the recommended blog posts by other bloggers in my “Also Enjoy” section below, that does not mean I endorse all contents of any other website/blog you link to from my site):

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