Getting More Out of Meal Planning

This post is sponsored by my friends at Blue Apron. If you’ve been wanting to try it out, now’s your chance! The first 25 readers to place their first order here will get 3 free meals.

It’s not really a secret that I love to meal plan and prep. Now that I’m feeling better post-surgery and am mostly back in the game, it’s been strangely comforting to plan out our meals and do some prep to set us up for success. It’s meditating to create a list of meal ideas for the week, and then spend some time in the kitchen preparing our favorite staples.

Meal prepping

Meal Prep Benefits

When we have prepped items on hand and a general plan for the week, I’m much more likely to do two things:

1) eat regular meals at regular times and

2) make healthier choices. 

If there’s chopped veggies in the fridge for a salad, I’ll actually make a salad instead of waiting until I’m hangry to dive into the tortilla chip bag. 

While it’s fun to meal plan and prep, with school back in session, things are a bit more busy than our lazy summer days. I try to make the most out of the time and ingredients we have. 

Get More Out of Meal Planning

There are a few things I do to make the most out of meal planning:

Focus on a Few Staples

I have a rotation of things I know I can make quickly and that everyone loves.

Some of the things on the list:

-energy bites

-crudités and dip

-banana-egg-oat pancakes

-homemade granola bars

prepped food

Go for Protein and Produce

These are the two things that I like to emphasize in each of my meals, and the veggies + protein I like to eat involve a bit of prep. (Fruit is easy because it’s so grab-and-go.)

Some faves:

-Chicken cooked in the Instant Pot, shredded, and topped with a sauce of choice: BBQ, pesto, or salsa

-hard-boiled eggs

-Cauliflower rice (in the pic above, I added chopped veggies and pesto)

-Chopped fresh veggies, or roasted veggies for salads, omelets and wraps

chopped veggies

Outsource the Dinner Planning

I’ve found that the best combo for us is to plan out 3 meals each week, and outsource the rest. Groceries here are much more expensive than they were in San Diego, so it’s even more cost-effective, and it prevents me forgetting crucial ingredients at the store and then scrambling during the dinner rush. (Like that one time I made chicken coconut curry and found out I had forgotten the chicken. It ended up being NBD, and we loved our vegetarian meal, but still.)

I’ve tried quite a few meal delivery services, and the one I always come back to is Blue Apron. While many services do the same thing -plan out the recipes and send you the ingredients you need- there is something that makes Blue Apron very different and special: the ingredients are always fresh, and the meals are always fantastic. With every other service I’ve tried, we’ve had a bad box where either the ingredients arrived warm, or the meals weren’t anything noteworthy. Blue Apron is always good. They feel a bit more “fancy” even though the meals are healthy and filled with fresh ingredients, and I love that the family box is even quicker to put together.

Blue Apron meal

Blue Apron meal

(Honey-pepper chicken and farrow with cucumber, tomato, and feta salad)

More About Blue Apron

Blue Apron meals are chef-designed recipes you can create at home. All of the ingredients you need arrive in a fully-insulated box with recyclable materials. Since everything is perfectly measured out, there’s no need to make a trip to the store or buy full-size products you may not use. 

Blue Apron Quiche

(Summer Vegetable Quiche)

-They offer two plans: the 2-person plan and the Family Plan

-All meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less, and range between 500-800 calories per person. (<— the servings are extremely generous and we often have leftovers for lunch the next day)

-They’re working to create a sustainable system, and source their products from various farmers throughout the US. They’re committed to sustainable seafood, meat that is raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones, and non-GMO ingredients. You can read more about their commitment to sustainability here.

-They have a huge selection of recipes and are always adding new ones

Me with my Blue Apron meal

If you’ve been wanting to try out Blue Apron, now is the perfect chance! The first 25 readers to place their first order here will get 3 free meals in their next box.

What are some of the things you do to streamline the meal planning process?



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  1. Molly Petsch on September 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I’m sure it’s simple but can you share your cauliflower rice with veggies and pesto recipe?
    Also, you look super healthy and gorgeous! XO

  2. Emily @ Pizza and Pull-Ups on September 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I love Blue Apron, it always makes me feel motivated to try new things. Hope you have a great day!

  3. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on September 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Having ready made meals like this makes healthy eating so easy for people. One of the biggest challenges I see for people as a nutritionist is I can give them all the advice in the world, but if they don’t have the time or aren’t comfortable in the kitchen they won’t follow through.

  4. Caitlin on September 6, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for sharing! I like to have day time staples around too!

    My go to meal prep service is PreFare Foods, its local to Denver which I love.

  5. Crystal on September 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Honestly, the only thing that makes meal prep easier for me is to eat the same thing all week lol. Or maybe using the crock pot. I think I’m finally going to give blue apron a try!

    p.s. Your top is adorable!

  6. Janae on September 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Everything looks sooooo good! I need that quiche right now. Blue Apron is our absolute favorite!

  7. Kath on September 6, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Weeks when we do Blue Apron are really so much more simple. Even though we still go to the store for staples, the trip is so much quicker! And I think knowing the recipes you’ll be making when they arrive inspires me to get a head start on the prep. Beautiful photos 🙂

  8. Sheila Black on September 7, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Great post

  9. Anne @ fANNEtastic food on September 7, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I seriously don’t know what I did before services like Blue Apron! So awesome.

    • Fitnessista on September 8, 2017 at 10:02 am

      seriously! such a game changer

  10. Jennifer Hoffman on September 7, 2017 at 10:26 am

    You look so pretty in that floral top!

    • Fitnessista on September 8, 2017 at 9:49 am

      thank you, friend!

  11. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby on September 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve also felt blue apron taught me new cooking skills! Interesting that groceries are more expensive!

    • Fitnessista on September 8, 2017 at 9:47 am

      yes, groceries are oddly expensive out here. i most of our pantry staples online, but fresh foods and meats (especially organic) are ridiculous. like a small organic cucumber is $5

  12. Sarah Cathrine on September 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I wish I had the time to do more meal planning. it is the cornerstone on healthy eating. unfortunately its extremely time consuming and expensive.

    thanks for the blog!


    • Fitnessista on September 8, 2017 at 9:47 am

      that’s why i try to make some staples, but not make everything in advance. that’s when things get a little crazy!

  13. Jen Pilchak on September 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    In my house we are trying to have more healthy staples readily available. I find when we do, it’s so much easier to make better eating choices – especially ones that involve food from the fridge instead of the pantry!

    • Fitnessista on September 8, 2017 at 9:45 am

      yes, i always make better choices when we have supplies, too!

  14. melissa on September 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    You look sooo good! and happy 🙂 do we get to see your results?! will you be showing stomach pictures for those of us interested in the type of procedure you had? I love that you are removing these stigmas and bringing it to light. Everyone clutching their pearls over this stuff is full of it or lives in a cave. So many women I know have had something done – whether it is botox or something more.

    Didn’t get to post on your original post but saw these radiant pics of you and it reminded me 🙂

    • Fitnessista on September 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

      thank you so much!!
      i still haven’t decided if i’m going to post them. it feels weird to put them up for criticism, especially when it’s something i did for myself, ya know? so many people have asked for them, and i totally get it because i lurked the heck out of websites for pictures when i was deciding! so, i’m not sure, but if i don’t, i’d be happy to email them to you
      and “clutching their pearls” may be my new favorite phrase hahaha

  15. Tina on September 8, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I love meal prep! Your meals look so good!

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