Thank you to Whole Foods Market 365 for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
My routine is what tends to drive what and when I cook. Coming off a holiday break where I hadn't seen my corporate office for twelve days certainly threw off my routine and I could not have possibly imagined or prepared for my mother's passing and all the changes that would come with that. In the days and weeks since, our thoughtful family and friends have ensured we haven't had to worry about anything food related and even reminded us to eat, at times. Returning to work this week motivated me to ease back into meal creation and the process has provided both a positive distraction and a bit of much-needed normalcy. People often tell me that I seem like I have it all together and I definitely do not! One practice that I think gives off that illusion, though, is meal planning and meal prepping. It saves me time, money, and really cuts down on stress during the work week. Like you, I have a lot on my plate at the moment. Because of this, mix and match meal planning is what works best for me. That means a combination of ready made/fully-cooked components and things I create myself. I don't really have time to cook every little thing from scratch and, because of the Whole Foods Market 365 quality standards (no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats, to name a few), I don't worry about the ingredients in the ready-made things I purchase there.
Why Should I Meal Plan?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This rings so true for when it comes to staying on top of your eating and activity. Meal planning can seem daunting and maybe even boring at first but is one of the best ways to get familiar with your eating and spending habits, have fun with food, and develop skills that can serve you for the rest of your life. I've partnered with Whole Foods Market 365 for this post because they believe that healthy living should be easier for everyone, which I wholeheartedly agree with. The first Houston-area Whole Foods 365 opened last year in the historically-black Independence Heights neighborhood. It's a quick drive from my home and I appreciate the simple shopping experience, which provides the same quality and customer service you would expect from Whole Foods at more affordable prices.
How Do I Meal Plan?
The first step is to look at your calendar for the week. Are you traveling, working remotely or in the office every day? I look at each day's work activities as well as what events I have going on the evenings in order to determine what meals I will need and in what quantities. If you're like me, your needs probably change from week to week. For example, I might have a bunch of lunch meetings/luncheons to attend one week and be chained to my desk every day the next. Assessing what I have going on is key to avoiding either the waste of making too much or the disappointment of showing up unprepared.
Once you know how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you'll need, the next step is to decide what you want to eat. Check out the healthy recipes section for some endless inspo for every meal. Here's where the mix and match bit comes in: combine ready-made options (pre-packed salads, smoothie packs, etc.) with raw ingredients (fresh fruit, proteins, etc.) to get your own custom balance of convenience and homemade. Below is an example of the light meals and snacks I'm eating this week.
Work Week Meals
- Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Muffins
- Arugula Salad w/Grilled Chicken Breast, Walnuts, Blueberries & Goat Cheese
- Fruit & Veggie Smoothies
- Mandarin Oranges
- Meyer Lemon Tarts
- Ginger Tea
And from there, you make your list. Ideally, I take a look in my fridge and pantry to account for what I've already got on hand. Once I know what I'll need to shop for, I just make a note in my phone that I can check off as I go. Here's the grocery list that resulted from this week's menu:
Whole Foods Market 365 Shopping List
- Healthade Pink Lady Kombucha
- Bright Greens Blueberry, Peach, and Mintergreen Smoothie Packs
- Montchevre Goat Cheese
- Hail Merry Meyer Lemon Tarts
- Air Chilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 365 Baby Arugula
- Dry Roasted Almonds
- Halo Clementines
Now, for the shopping. If you hate this part, be sure to check out a few time-saving grocery shopping hacks here. As y'all likely know, I love grocery shopping. I like to feel my produce and chat with the folks who know the food well. The in-store experience at Whole Foods Market 365 in Independence Heights is particularly enjoyable because you get the best of both worlds, a streamlined shopping experience with a local feel. I love how ingrained the market is into the surrounding community. Of course, the Independence Heights location employs Houstonians from the area but it also carries lots of local, Whole Trade®, and organic produce and flowers and is filled with local love from the artwork to the Peli Peli Kitchen location inside.
So, in what area do you want to improve when it comes to work week eating? Do you stick to a particular diet during the week--any struggles? Let me know because I want to help! I hope you picked up a thing or two in this post and be sure to check out healthy snacks I keep on hand and my secrets to better salads--they're both full of gems. Thanks for reading!