How to Food and Meal Plan Around your New Schedule

Happy September! For a lot of you – that means your schedule and routine is changing. A LOT. Either you or your kids are going back to school. Some of you may even be starting new jobs. And that means that your food and meal prep routine - which worked for you so well over the summer - may need a serious makeover. Here’s what you can do to help yourself.

  1. Write out your schedule for each day during the week. I use the Calendar feature on my iPhone. Enter in your work hours, any appointments, when you’re exercising, when you need to run other errands, etc. After those are in, you will be able to find those “gaps” where you can set aside time for your food and meal prep routine.

  2. Pick at least one day to menu-plan. AKA figure out what you want to eat for the week. I suggest that most of your meals have a protein, a complex carb, a healthy fat, and either a fruit or a vegetable. I do this on Friday (which is also when I go to the grocery store).

  3. Then, build your grocery store list from this menu and estimate how much food you’re going to need for the week.

  4. Pick a day and time to go to the grocery store (it can absolutely be the same day as your menu-planning day). Again, for me, this is usually Friday afternoons. I like Fridays because that means I don’t have to go to the store over the weekend.

  5. Figure out a general time and a specific day for when you're going to food prep and/or meal prep. This changes for me depending on what I’m doing over the weekend. Most of the time it ends up being Sunday for me - but if I’m busy Sunday, I’ll readjust and prep Fri or Sat. For those of you who track, this is a good time to start entering your meals into your tracking app.

This is going to take some trial and error. You might end up doing 2-3 small food preps. Or just 1. You might need to go to the store 2x per week instead of once. You might need to change the TIME OF DAY when you're prepping food/cooking. You might need to prep out all your meals in advance in a single day. Or you might need to prep each meal the night before or morning of. Everyone's routine is individual to them.

Author: Megan Markoff, Head of Coaching & Development, @meganmarkoff