Quick and Easy Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep for Fall


Anti-inflammatory recipes are a great addition to a healthy eating pattern as they can help manage, prevent or reverse the effects of inflammation in the body.

Ingredients like dark leafy greens, beets and cauliflower are packed with anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce chronic pain and prevent age-related illnesses.

Eating anti-inflammatory foods doesn’t have to be bland or boring either, as there are plenty of fresh and healthy recipes to choose from that cater to different dietary needs. Incorporating these recipes into your meal prep routine can help balance your blood sugar and reduce chronic inflammation.

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

It aims to reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which can help prevent chronic diseases and promote overall health and well-being.

What are the benefits of anti-inflammatory meal prep?

No matter the season, your life is probably super busy. We have 4 kids (3 at home), and regardless of whether school is in or it’s summer or even winter break, things are always sorta chaotic.

So this method has actually been a lifesaver for us so that on weeks where I don’t even have the brainpower to put a meal plan together, this is our lifeline.

We have a backup.

No thinking about it all day, no scrambling at the last minute, and definitely no ultra-processed, inflammatory, and overpriced drive-thru or takeout.

So I’m gonna show you how to meal prep with fall anti-inflammatory foods (meaning: in season for fall in the US).

I’m also linking the example meals that we made for the week with all of the produce that we got.

And if you scroll a bit, you can get the GUIDE that shows you the details for all of this so you can keep it on hand for ANY time you have weeks like this.

PS- when you grab the guide you get a mega discount on our Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meal Planning Kit, which is 4 weeks of sugar-free, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory recipes, meal plans, and prep guides including:

  • Dinners
  • Lunches
  • Breakfasts and Snacks
  • Smoothies
  • Desserts
  • And even Fall-Inspired m/cocktails!

Step 1: Choose your produce

So for anti-inflammatory meal prep, you start out by simply choosing a bunch of SEASONAL produce.

Our shopping order for this meal prep session I got:

  • broccoli,
  • brussels sprouts,
  • kale (can be already chopped up in a bag),
  • mushrooms, you can choose any kind,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • regular potatoes,
  • an onion,
  • sage,
  • and cauliflower.

And all of this was just random stuff that I know my family will eat and that gave us a pretty good variety for meals this week.

Step 2: Prep your workspace

And after washing all the produce, I pre-heated both ovens for 350 degrees F.

The tools you’ll need for your meal prep session are a large cutting board, good knives, and roasting pans- probably with a lip, and something to line it with so stuff doesn’t stick.

Now I use something I found by accident with is a BBQ grilling mat—I love these because I can cut them to fit perfectly in my pan and NOTHING sticks to them—they come in a pack all rolled up in a box.

(Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on and then purchase, I’ll get a portion of the proceeds, at no additional charge to you.) 🙂

Step 3: Get your base seasoning out

So our base seasoning includes avodado oil to drizzle on, I use this to cook with because it has a high smoke point. Or you can use something like this Misto spray can where you put the oil in, pump air in to build pressure, and spray it on.

Then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and it’s ready to go in the oven.

fall anti-inflammatory meal prep guide free pdf

Step 4: Prep foods that cook the longest first

So, even though I didn’t have full meals planned out when I got all this produce, I had a loose plan for a few things. So I knew I’d want to do baked potatoes one night, so since they take an hour to bake you’ll want to do these first if you’re doing baked potatoes one night.

And for baked potatoes, you just coat each one individually with oil, salt it, wrap it in foil, and then punch some holes with a fork.

Once I’ve got those all set and into the oven for one hour, I get to work chopping everything else.

Step 5: Prep all other foods that cook the same length of time

Broccoli and cauliflower

I started out with broccoli, and just basically cut all the florets off—and if you don’t like to chop you can always buy the bags where it’s pre-chopped. It does save time, but may cost a little more.

Once these were all cut up, I put them all on the pan on one end, because I put the cauliflower on the other end.

Then I started with the cauliflower and removed that large base then cut those into florets as well, breaking some of them apart. And you can also buy these prechopped if you don’t like cutting them up- it does save a lot of time and mess.

Then I placed all those on the second half of the pan where the broccoli was. I cook these on the same pan because cook at right about the same rate.

And then I wanted a bit more flavor than just our base seasoning, so I chopped an onion into chunks and just spread it out evenly on the pan.

Brussels sprouts

Next I prepped brussels sprouts, and the easiest way to do these is chop off the end piece slice them in half and lay them face down on the pan.

I arranged mine with a hole in the middle for all the loose little leaves because they get extra crispy and are a super yummy snack!

Then drizzle or spray with oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.—and they’re ready to go!


I decided to split the mushrooms and do half chopped pretty small and the other half roasted.

I chopped one half because I like to mix them in with ground meat to give it bulk and really boost the vitamin content-and my kids can never tell! I don’t precook those, so I just put them in a baggie to store in the fridge until the night I needed them.

The other half I just spread out on the pan, and I had a pack of sage I grabbed at the store as well—this is such a fragrant and nutrition-packed herb, and perfect for colder weather.

So I just chopped some of it, sprinkled it on the mushrooms, then added our oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and it’s ready to go.

Sweet potatoes

I roughly chopped the sweet potatoes because I had loosely planned mashed sweet potates with cinnamon- my kids love those- and the rest I planned to use in my lunches during the week.

But that meant that all of them needed to be chopped.

Regular potatoes

Then I started on the rest of the regular potatoes I had. So for the ones I wasn’t using for a whole baked potato, we like to sometimes do homemade fries and this tool makes it super easy.

It’s a fry cutter and has this grid blade inside to cut the potato in perfectly squared fries.

So how it works is that you take the lid off, place the potato wedge on top of that grid, then put the lid on and push it down to force the potato through the grid. And you have perfectly shaped fries.

So I repeated this process until I got all the rest of the potatoes cut, then put them with the sweet potatoes on a pan, because they cook at about the same rate. I got them all seasoned and ready for the oven.

Step 6: Put all prepped veggies into the oven

All of the veggies go into the oven at that 350 degrees F for 30 minutes- just keep an eye out and take out anything that’s cooking a little too much.

Step 7: Any veg that won’t be pre-cooked

And the last thing I prepped was kale. Since this came in a bag, I picked out any bad pieces since it was already chopped, and planned to wilt some one night for dinner, and then would have a massaged kale salad one night as well.

So once all the bad pieces were picked out I just stored it in a Ziploc in the fridge.

Step 8: Remove veggies from oven

And when they’re done, just take all the pans out, and let them cool…

Step 9: Store prepped veggies

Then start putting them into your storage containers.

I do recommend putting them in separate containers because some veggies do have a higher water content and a lot of times they get a little bit mushy in there and you don’t want that water running into the other vegetables.

And then you’ve got all your veggies prepped for the week! You can store all of these AND your baked potatoes in the fridge until the night you need them.

4+ Meals with pre-prepped fall anti-inflammatory vegetables

The meals we cooked with our freestyle meal prep session were:

Chicken sausage with the broccoli and cauliflower,

Baked potato with shredded chicken, sugar-free bbq sauce, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts,

Turkey burgers that had the chopped mushrooms with sage built into it, and those homemade fries with Dijon mustard for dipping, and a massaged kale salad, AND

Lemony baked cod with wilted kale and mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon.

And there ya go! That’s how to do Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meal prep!


Summer Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep to Beat the Heat in Under an Hour


Today we’re doing anti-inflammatory meal prep for SUMMER that balances blood sugar, fights inflammation, and packs in nutrients from fresh seasonal produce.

I really love to eat seasonally, I think mother nature provides us with specific nutrients we need for each season, but also—it costs less to buy produce that’s in season.

summer anti inflammatory meal prep plan guide gluten free sugar free

Now I love to prep ingredients to be able to throw together, but I also know that weeks are CRAZY so it’s also important to have recipes that you’ve prepped for so you have as little as possible to think about during the week.

That being said—let me know in the comments if you like doing meal prep with actual recipes—or if you like prepping ingredients to assemble meals and snacks as you see fit throughout the week.

So this summer meal prep does both of those things – And I’ve created a PDF with instructions and links to the recipes so you can do this meal prep easily at home. 👇

summer anti inflammatory meal prep plan and guide

So today we’re meal prepping :

  • Cherry Almond Smoothies
  • A batch of Low Carb Blueberry  Scones

And our summer anti-inflammatory dinners we’re prepping vegetables and sauces for this week are:

  • Grilled salmon with sauteed green beans
  • Paleo Chicken Fajita bowls
  • Low Carb chicken and eggplant Parmesan casserole
  • Pesto chicken and zucchini and squash medley
Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans
Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans
Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
Paleo Chicken Fajita Bowls
Paleo Chicken Fajita Bowls
Pesto Chicken with Zucchini and Squash Medley
Pesto Chicken with Zucchini and Squash Medley

So let’s get started prepping!

Summer anti-inflammatory meal prep steps

woman unpackaging summer vegetables on a countertop

Pre-step 1: Get out your prep foods and supplies, and wash everything

So to get started I get all that produce out. I get out my cutting board, my good knives, and a pan to roast the veggies on.

Then I go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and wash all the veggies really well.

placing a sil-mat on a sheet pan with summer vegetables on a counter top

Some people like to use a Sil match to roast veggies on because stuff doesn’t stick, but I found it really hard to find one of these that fits my pan perfectly.

I do still use this for things that I bake that won’t leak into the oven, but for roasting veggies I found a secret kitchen tool that I accidentally stumbled onto.

It’s a barbecue grill mat and I’m telling you nothing sticks to this! They usually come in a pack rolled up all nice in a box (linked below).

placing a grill mat onto a sheet pan with summer vegetables on a countertop

And what I do is actually cut them to fit my pans that have lips so that they fit perfectly. And I’ve done this with baking sheets and I’ve also done this with CorningWare dishes.

(Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, so if you decide to purchase this product, I made a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra charge to you.)

Now for this summer meal prep session, I’ve got zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, green beans, bell peppers, and onions.

summer vegetables on a cutting board and counter top

Step 1: Chop

Once I make sure that everything’s been washed, I get started chopping.

So the way you want to chop veggies when you’re roasting them for meal prep like this is to try and cut them all around the same size. This just ensures that all those vegetable chunks cook at about the same rate.

Squash and zucchini

For the squash and zucchini, I just slice them in half lengthwise and then just chop slices all the way down.

sliced eggplant on a cutting board


Eggplants are tricky for some because they are part of the food family called nightshades. Nightshades cause inflammation in some people, but this isn’t a guarantee. Research has shown that nightshades causing inflammation is highly personal to each individual and any conditions they have, and the best way to know if you personally react is to do an elimination diet.

I like eggplants because they’re pretty filling but they have a soft texture without being mushy with liquid. Eggplant slices are really great for eggplant parmigiana, so it may help to slice it if you’d like to use it that way.

I’ve been told by an Italian chef before that they sometimes do that and leave the skin on to help the eggplant slice stay intact during cooking.

But I also like to peel mine and cut it into those kind of half-slices or half-moon slices to roast as well. One thing I’ve learned through the years about eggplant is that you may need to switch your peeling tool depending on the thickness of the skin.

For safety’s sake use a much smaller paring knife to get the eggplant skin off.

peppers and onions on a sheet pan

Bell peppers and onions

Then I moved on to my peppers and onions. For bell peppers, I usually will cut off the top and then I’ll work the knife around the insides to pull out that seed pod.

Then I’ll turn it upside down and give it a tap to get all those seeds out and then flip it upside down to cut it into slices. I did the same thing with my green, red, and orange bell peppers.

Then when those were done I peeled the skin of my onion. And then I cut the rest of it into larger slices to roast with the bell peppers.

These all get spread out onto a lined sheet pan as well.


Once I’ve got enough veggies to fill a pan I place all the chunks in sections.

The easiest way to prep roasted veggies–especially when you have recipes from different cuisines–is to do just the basic seasoning of:

  1. oil,
  2. salt,
  3. pepper,
  4. and garlic powder if you want

I used avocado oil because it has good monounsaturated fats, which is great for pulling down inflammation, and it also has a high smoke point. You can use the mister if you want a lighter coating of oil rather than it being drizzled.

Step 2A: Roast

Then everything’s ready and goes into the oven. We have a double oven so I actually take full advantage of that on days like this when I’ve got several pans to cook all at the same time.

I’ll just leave the light on in there so I can check in case something may need to come out a little earlier.

roasted summer vegetables on a baking sheet

The general time that I cook these summer vegetables is about 30 minutes.

While those are cooking, I’m gonna take advantage of that time in the oven and chop anything else, mix up my batter for the blueberry scones, and then assemble my marinades and sauces.

Other veggies that don’t get cooked

The last thing in this session that I did was chop green beans. I do like roasted green beans, but we’re having Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans for one of our meals this week.

I love sauteing green beans during the summer because the fresh ones taste really great when they still have a bit of crunch to them.

cutting green beans on a cutting board

So the green beans did not get roasted but they did get put into a storage container in the fridge.

Step 2B: Bake

And while everything is still roasting, we’re gonna mix our scone batter.

I want to go ahead and mix my batter for the Low-Carb Blueberry Scones, because as soon as the roasted veggies come out of the oven, the scones go in.

We start out mixing the dry ingredients, mix in all the wet ingredients, and then combine it really well. Then pour the batter onto a pan lined with parchment and shape it into a circle.

Chopping fruit

The summer fruits we’re using this week are blueberries, cherries, and limes.

The lime just needs to be sliced and juiced which takes no time, so I’m gonna leave that till the night I need it.

And I’m using frozen tart cherries, but if you’re using fresh, you’ll need to wash them, take the stems off, and pit the cherries to get the seed out. Then you’ll want to freeze them in a baggie until you need them for your smoothies because you want them to be nice and frozen.

So really the only prep for fruit is the cherries if you need to do that.

Chopping herbs

And then moved on to the herbs. This week I need cilantro and basil.

So I’m just gonna take the amount needed from the recipes and pull it from the stems.

herbs on a cutting board

Both of these recipes require the blender, so there’s really no need to go all out chopping these herbs unless your blender has a hard time pulling larger leaves like that down while it’s blending.

Veggies out | Scones in

By this time the veggies should be done in the oven, so we’ll pull the roasted veggies out of the oven to let them cool, and then the low carb blueberry scones go in at 350 F for 30 min.

Step 3: Assemble

Now that everything’s chopped and ready, and I’m still waiting on the scones to finish baking, I can start assembling prep packs and containers for stuff that will go in the fridge until the night or day I need it.

Smoothie packs

So let’s start with the Cherry Almond Smoothie packs. I’m making 2 of these for the week, and we just throw all the ingredients into a baggie that’s labeled.

These little handy things I’m using are called Baggie Stands, and I’m telling you—this makes it SO much easier to use baggies for storage when you have anything liquid, because if it tips at all—you’ve got liquid all over the counter if you don’t use these things.

That does NOT happen with these baggie stands.

You can grab them here: 👇

This recipe also includes a few ice cubes, but we hold off on those until the day we make them.

You can write instructions for the ice on the baggie too if you want. And then once those are made, they go in the fridge.

Marinades, dips, dressings

Next we’ll mix the marinades, dips, and dressings.

Fresh Cilantro Lime Dressing

The Cilantro Lime Dressing is gonna go on our Paleo Fajita Chicken Bowls and can also be used for dressing on salads, so you can double or triple this recipe if you want.

cilantro lime dressing with an avocado and lime

The ingredients just go all in the blender, blend it on high, and pour it into a container to seal and store in the fridge.

Homemade Low-Carb Marinara

Nex is our Homemade Low Carb Marinara for the Low-Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Now if you can find no-sugar added marinara in the store, it may be easier for you to just buy it made already. If you can’t, then this recipe is great.

And as long as you can find crushed tomatoes, you don’t even need to blend it if you don’t want to.

low carb marinara in a jar

Simply pour the ingredients into a saucepan, let it cook about 10-15 minutes, then when it’s cooled, store it in a jar in the fridge.

Fresh Easy Pesto

And last is our Easy Pesto—this is for our Pesto Chicken with Zucchini and Squash Medley, and again—is super easy.

All the ingredients go into the blender.

Now if you can’t find pine nuts, a good alternative is macadamia or even cashews.

pesto in a container with crackers and basil leaves on a platter

You just throw it into the blender, pulse it several times and then pour it into a container to seal and store in the fridge.

Scones out

When the timer goes off, you’ll pull the scones out of the oven and let them cool before cutting into them.

sugar free gluten free blueberry scones

You can alternately wrap the whole thing and store it in the fridge and cut it as needed during the week.

Cooling + storing meal prepped vegetables

The last step is getting the cooled veggies into containers to store in the fridge.

In our house, we use glass Pyrex storage containers that are rectangular shaped. I’m not sure who thought using round containers inside of a square-shaped fridge was a good idea of it in our house it pushes other dishes around and nearly pops them out of the fridge regularly, so we use square or rectangular shaped.

And then when they’re cool enough put the lids on and you can stack them nice and neat in the fridge until you need them during the week.

anti inflammatory foods in meal prep containers

Then during the week, you have all your veggie components ready to go for the week for these recipes.

And if you happen to have leftovers from your meal prep at the end of the week, my favorite way to use it is to make a nourish bowl or macro bowl with all the leftovers.

Now, as I mentioned at the start, I’ve created a summer meal prep guide for you that should hopefully make meal prep a little easier because it has the full prep guide as well as links to all the recipes.

And—when you grab the free PDF for the summer meal prep, you also get a huge discount on the blood sugar balancing Summer Anti Inflammatory Meal Prep Kit that has 4 weeks of summer meal plans, full recipes, and prep guides that include breakfast and snacks, lunches, dinners, and even desserts and cocktails—all sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free adaptable!

Grab the free Summer Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep Guide PDF with instructions and links to the recipes so you can do this meal prep easily at home. 👇

summer anti inflammatory meal prep plan and guide

Let me know in the comments: What summer anti-inflammatory meals are your favorites?! 💖 🍍


Lemon Tart Smoothie

This lemon tart smoothie is full of protein and healthy fats, making it a perfect anti-inflammatory smoothie for breakfast, snacks, or even a meal replacement!

In this winter anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe we’re gonna be taking advantage of cauliflower and, obviously, lemon.

anti inflammatory lemon tart smoothie

This smoothie recipe includes:

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp of coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
  • And 1 ½ cups of unsweetened milk
anti inflammatory lemon tart smoothie for breakfast

Frozen bananas

Now if you don’t have a bag of frozen bananas and just toss bananas into the freezer when they’re about to go bad like I do, the easiest way to use them is to put in the microwave for about 20 seconds, then just slice the skin off the banana and slice the banana up. I know it looks super gross, but bananas naturally brown in the freezer like that, so no worries.

Frozen cauliflower

frozen cauliflower in bags

For the cauliflower, you can find this in the freezer section at your grocery store, but just know that they should have cauliflower florets, and riced cauliflower. You can use either, but I prefer the riced because that’s just that much less blending you’ll need to get the chunks out of your smoothie.

Coconut butter

coconut butter

Now for the coconut butter, this can sometimes be tricky to find. Basically, coconut butter is the coconut meat ground down into butter, the same way that peanut butter or any other nut butter is made.

So for this recipe if you can’t find coconut butter, you can do one of 2 things:

  1. Either make your own coconut butter with coconut flakes—but you’ll need to make sure they’re free of any type of coating,
  2. Or you can use coconut oil.

The difference in the two lies in the fact that the fat is all extracted from the coconut butter, which is the oil. So on these containers you can see that they have the same servings size, and per 1 TBSP, the coconut butter has 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber.

Coconut oil, on the other hand, is 120 calories of only fat. No carbs and no fiber.

coconut butter and coconut oil jars

If you’re counting calories and/or macros, this is something to be aware of if you need to sub out the coconut butter.

Protein powder

putting protein powder into a blender

For the protein powder, I recommend checking the label and making sure there’s no sugar added. A lot of reputable protein powders are now using stevia or monk fruit to sweeten the powder.

If you can handle dairy, a whey protein powder is great. If you need non-dairy or vegan, pea protein powder is really great.


pouring milk into a measuring cup

And lastly, the milk can either be dairy if you can tolerate it or any other non-dairy unsweetened milk. Make sure it’s unsweetened so it doesn’t have added sugar.

I really don’t like using oat milk either because it has so many carbs straight from grains with no fiber.


So into the blender, we juice our whole lemon, add in the frozen banana, 1 cup of frozen cauliflower, 2 TBSP coconut butter, ¼ cup of vanilla protein powder, and 1 ½ cups of unsweetened milk.

Then blend or pulse it in a high-powered blender until it’s super smooth, pour, and enjoy!


Lemon Tart Smoothie

This anti inflammatory smoothie is packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fat, making it perfect for a winter breakfast, snack, or even meal replacement.

  • Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 smoothie 1x


  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp of coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
  • And 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened milk


Place all ingredients in a high powered blender.

Pulse or blend on high until super smooth.


Keywords: smoothie

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Citrus Pear Smoothie

This Citrus Pear Smoothie is a green anti-inflammatory smoothie that combines signature winter flavors to create an absolutely refreshing snack or breakfast smoothie.

citrus pear smoothie

So let’s talk ingredients.

citrus pear smoothie ingredients

Frozen avocado

So, first off, if you’re not using frozen avocado chunks, which you can buy at the grocery store, you can either freeze your own avocado ahead of time, or use it at room temperature.

Just know that if you use it at room temperature, that’s the only ingredient that was frozen, so we’ll need to use some ice in the place of part of the water so your smoothie is cold and slushie.


cutting a pear into wedges with an apple corer

We start out cutting up the pear and parsley. Pear is so delicious when it’s in season in the winter, and the skin is usually softer than an apple.

The skin is also full of antioxidants, and one in particular is quercetin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, plus it has lots of fiber.

So I keep the skin on. You can cut the top and bottom off so it stands on its own, then use an apple corer get perfect wedges while taking the core out.


chopping parsley on a cutting board

Parsley is full of vitamins K, C, A, and Bs. It’s also been shown to help reduce blood pressure and bloating, so I love to use parsley in any recipe I can. It just needs to be roughly chopped for this smoothie.

Lemon juice

juicing a lemon into a blender

Lemon juice adds just a bit of tang to this smoothie, as well as a bit more Vitamin c. Fresh is always best since most lemon juice in the bottle has added preservatives.


pouring water into a blender for an anti inflammatory citrus pear smoothie

Make sure you use filtered water, and if your avocado isn’t frozen, use ½ cup of water and about ¾ to 1 cup of ice to replace the 1 cup of water.


And then we just add all the ingredients to the high-powered blender, blend really well until all smooth—remember it’s chopping up pear skin if you kept it on, so you may need to let it go for a bit.

Then pour up and enjoy!


Citrus Pear Smoothie

This smoothie combines the winter flavors of pear and citrus with anti-inflammatory greens to create a refreshing combo that will keep you full.

  • Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 smoothie 1x



1/2 avocado (or 1/2 cup frozen avocado chunks)

1 pear

1 cup of spinach

1 handful of parsley (fresh)

1/2 of a lemon, juiced

1 cup of water


If you don’t have frozen avocado, you can freeze your own, or substitute 3/4 cup ice and 1/2 cup of water for the full cup of water in the recipe.

Keywords: smoothie, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free

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Share a photo and tag us @truewell.co — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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Top 3 Mistakes in Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning + What to Do Instead

So look, meal planning can be tough enough on its own, but when you add in a dietary style that you’re totally new to, that just makes it that much more complicated. 

When doing anti-inflammatory meal planning there are three major mistakes that I see clients making over and over again that are costing you serious time, money, and the ability to get those anti-inflammatory meals cooked and on the table every night so that you can feel amazing every day. So let’s chat about those to make sure you’re not making those same mistakes, and let you in on what to do instead.

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

🌟Don’t know which foods are on the ‘go/no-go’ list for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet? Check out ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners’

Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning Mistake #1: Being overly ambitious

Mistake number one is being overly ambitious and thinking that you need to cook every night of the week.

So I get it–when we get excited about something new (especially if it’s supposed to help us reach our goals like managing a condition, getting your blood sugar under control, or even kick-starting weight loss), we just want to jump all in…But I want you to slow your roll for a minute because when we get overly ambitious and think that we need to cook every single night you’re sorta asking for trouble.

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

The problem is that when we decide to jump all in and cook every single night, we’re going to get completely overwhelmed. And the usual response to getting overwhelmed is to shut down and do nothing. So I want to prevent that and just kind of take a step back instead. 

The reason that we’re going to take a step back on that is that when you stop putting that kind of pressure on yourself and allow yourself to learn in a really more relaxed way where you can learn to enjoy planning, prepping, and cooking and then appreciate what this dietary style can do for your body. 

So instead what I want you to do is maybe start out cooking three to four dinners in your first few weeks to get started…And take that time to get used to the types of food that you can be using. There’s a little bit different way of cooking sometimes for anti-inflammatory meals and I want you to really just kind of get the hang of what this whole dietary lifestyle and style is about before getting overwhelmed with the whole meal planning part of it. 

One of the really great strategies for this is when you cook those three to four meals go ahead and cook a little bit more so that you can have extra for other meals… which leads us into mistake number two. 

Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning Mistake #1: Not cooking enough food

So before you get all up in arms and overwhelmed at that let me just explain. It takes no extra time to cook 4 servings of a recipe versus 8 servings of a recipe. You’re simply using double the ingredients so what I want you to think about is that when you’re only cooking one recipe at a time for whatever meal that is you’re missing out on the opportunity to save so much time later. 

The reason why that happens is that whenever you cook more you have extra time, you have a fallback, and you have a backup plan. 

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

I know a lot of families who do one night a week for leftovers for dinner, (we absolutely do that because it saves me cooking one night of the week and it also saves all of the other clean up that happens, and it cleans up whatever is left over in the fridge.) 

So instead, think about doing one and a half or even doubling up on your recipes. You do also have the option to take one recipe and cook it for your dinner that night and then make a second one at the same time to freeze for later. So I always recommend doing that and or making double at the recipe so that you can have enough for lunch the next day. 

I work out of the house but whenever I did not work out of the house I would get into that hangry situation right before lunch because I’d been really busy working and usually forgot to have a snack. So by the time lunch got there I was just being like in this annoyed, starving state where I really didn’t care what I went to eat, so I would just grab the closest most convenient thing that I could. Which would never work out on this type of dietary style. 

So if you make enough for lunch the next day you can be assured that whatever you’re eating for lunch is compliant with the anti-inflammatory diet and that way you’re not even worrying about what you’re eating the next day because you know that it fit in because you made it for your dinner the night before.

Mistake #3: Not setting enough time aside

Mistake number three is not setting enough time aside for meal prep and for actual cooking

So the problem in this is that you’re making things more frantic for yourself if you have kids–and especially smaller ones. This could actually be pushing their bedtime later which we know makes us more stressed out and most of all you’re stressing yourself out trying to frantically cook a whole meal when you don’t really have enough time to cook it. 

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

Here’s why: When you do allow yourself enough time, it just makes your time spent cooking way more relaxing… You just assemble the ingredients cook what needs to be cooked at your own pace, no rush…Instead of frantically running around with your hair on fire just to get dinner ready. 

But it also gives you peace of mind during the day because you know that those things are already prepped and ready to go and have the extra time to cook dinner. 

I can’t tell you the number of clients that tell me that even though they have meal plans technically done they still have anxiety about getting the meals actually cooked at night because of how long it will take. 

What to do instead is to make sure that you schedule in an hour maybe on Sunday (or one other day at the start of the week) to meal prep: chop veggies and even go ahead and make some of the meat even sauces. Sometimes if it’s a casserole a lot of those ingredients are pre-cooked and then you can just assemble them the night of and then just stick them in the oven so that you have as little to do as possible on the day of.

Bonus points!

Add even more bonus points if you go ahead and shop and then prep all of your veggies the minute that you get back inside with the groceries so that you’re saving yourself an extra trip of taking things back out of the fridge just to chop them and then put them back in the fridge.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been making any of these mistakes (or even others that I didn’t touch on!)

Get started THIS WEEK on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet by grabbing the 1-Week Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan below! 💖

anti inflammatory meal planning mistakes

How to Drink More Water Every Day With These 7 Hacks (even if you hate water)!

How to Drink More Water With These 8 Hacks Every Day.

Waaaay back when I was in high school and college, how to drink more water wasn’t on the forefront of health news. And they certainly hadn’t started bashing added sugars, nor begun scolding us for drinking sodas. So back in those days, my beverages consisted of mainly straight juice, sweet tea (I am from the South), and sodas. All full of sugar. Like, LOADED with sugar!

I couldn’t understand why certain weird and undesirable things were going on as a teenager and young adult in my body. Things like terrible skin, horrible mood swings, and what I now know was the beginning of my panic attacks.

Being dehydrated, or even almost dehydrated can cause some really crummy things to go on in your body. And as a busy Mama, these crummy things are just some of the little things that stress us out, and put us on edge when we’re already being pushed to our limits in day to day life. Being hydrated by learning to drink more water is part of self-care because it’s crucial to health and processes going on in our bodies. This includes having enough energy every day. I constantly promote finding the magic ✨ place where healthy + efficient merge, and drinking more water 💦 every day absolutely holds a place high on the list of things that tick off both boxes.

how to drink more water when you don't like water or aren't thirsty

 The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Being properly hydrated every day is so, so important! It helps you think better, it gives you energy, and it keeps your systems running properly.

Think about how well a dish sponge would work with only a tiny bit of water in it. It would be extremely hard to get a dish properly cleaned with a ton of goop and not enough water, right? That’s what happens in your body.

But also, your kidneys are trying to balance the minerals in your body (which affects your circulatory system!) They get bogged down when there’s not enough fluid in your body. So don’t underestimate the importance of staying hydrated properly!

What happens when you drink more water?

>Improves your skin, hair, and nails

>Relieves headaches

>Reduces muscle cramps

>Helps to flush out your body

>Improves weight loss efforts

>Gives you more energy

>Helps wounds heal faster

>Improves concentration levels and mood

ALL of those things make it uber worth it to me to drink more water!! How about you?!

How much water should you drink in a day?

The amount of water needed in a single day has had lots of debate over the past few years. But here’s the reason why: Every person’s body composition is different, every person’s health situation is different, and every person’s activity level is different. Plus every person lives in a different climate. There are so many variables that it really depends on several different things. But here’s where to start:

Calculate your body weight, then divide by 2. That’s how many liters you should start with each day. Or-

The Mayo Clinic suggests starting with 11.5 cups/day for women and 15.5 cups per day for men.

However—if you live in a very dry climate, if it’s summer, if you’re sick, if you’re taking meds that make you dehydrated, if you drink lots of coffee, AND if you’re very active—you should drink more than that!

I challenge you to start out with the basic formula, then
add as needed. See how you feel every few days and add more if you feel like it.

How can you drink more water when you don’t like it or when you’re not thirsty?

1. Drink It Before Every Meal

The first tip for drinking more
water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass before each meal
and snack you consume
, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is
one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more of the good stuff,
without really having to think too much about it. Train your mind to know that
if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast
or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first.

This provides multiple benefits. First, it reminds you to drink another glass. It’ll also
going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it
prevents you from overeating since it helps to fill you up a little. It’s not
uncommon to think you’re hungry, when you’re actually thirsty. (Especially if
you’ve eaten a super salty meal earlier in the day!) If you’re not hungry after
a full glass, wait a bit before eating.

You should also try to drink a glass
of water before or after every other beverage you drink. Force yourself to
drink the same amount of it as the other beverage you’ve consumed.

2. Infuse or Flavor It

A common problem people have with
drinking water isn’t that they don’t remember to drink it, but they’re just not
interested in it.
This is totally true for me, and
was a big issue when I was pregnant. I finally found one brand that I sort of
craved. (Yeah, that had to do with hormones, those darn things!) The good news
is, you have some other options. You don’t necessarily have to drink just plain
filtered or tap water all day, every day. There are many ways to add flavor and
make it more interesting, without piling on the sugar and calories.

The Simple Method

If you are short on time and just
want a super quick way to add flavor, go with lemon water. All you need
to do is add a few lemon wedges, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the
wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water
quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other
juicy fruits like grapefruit. (Just one tip is to not let it sit for a long
time, even in the fridge. The rinds have a tendency to leech out super bitter/sour
taste if left too long. Trust me. It’s mouth-puckering.)

Fruit or Vegetable Infused

This is one of my absolute
favorites! And when I make this ahead of time and store it in a beautiful
pitcher in the fridge, I find that I crave it all day! When you can spend more
time on it, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor
your water
. This is called infused water, since it’s a longer infusing
process. You aren’t just flavoring it with these ingredients, but adding more
nutrients from the produce and herbs.

To make infused water, you should
have a glass pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your
fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced
so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled
first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release
the oils and flavors.

Add the ingredients to the bottom of
the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the
refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows
those flavors and nutrients to come through. And oh goodness, are they

3. Choose a Cup You Love to Use

Do you want to encourage yourself to
hydrate more? It’s all in the cup! Seriously, I’m so guilty of this, and it
drives my husband nuts! If you use boring water bottles you don’t like, then
you probably won’t drink as much as you should.
A good way to have fun with
it and remember to bring the bottle everywhere with you is to choose a bottle
or cup that works best for you.

This might mean the overall look and
color of it, or the ease of holding onto it while walking. There are so many
small details that determine if it’s a good fit or not. For example, if you
drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. On the other
hand, if you bike for exercise, you may want it to have a tight lid, but one
that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding.

Try out a few different cups until
you feel like you have found the one that is perfect for you.

4. Limit Other Drinks You Consume

Another little trick for drinking
more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This
doesn’t mean drinking water 100 percent of the time. But, it does help to
reduce the ‘bad’ beverages, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water
instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you’re
going for water when you feel thirsty, and not other beverages.

5. Track Your Water Intake

This isn’t something you need to do
every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard to determine
how much water to drink, and if you’ve even reached your goal for the day. Start
by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your
phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your
computer. {Or just download the one below!}

Start by tracking your water for a
few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how
much you’re currently drinking on an average day. If it’s less than 8-10
glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once
you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more
throughout the day.

6. Enjoy Fruits & Veggies with High Water Content

If you find that you simply can’t
drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to
drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little
below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high
water content, therefore helping to hydrate you.
(Read: This does NOT mean
drinking these as a juice–this means eating the fruit or veggie, thereby
getting the fiber to offset the sugars you’ll be ingesting.) These include:


7. Try These Reminders

If you enjoy water, but you often
forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you.

  1. Drink water before every meal, snack, and other
  2. Have a glass first thing when you wake up
  3. Hydrate before or after your workouts
  4. Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
  5. Have a glass or bottle every time you enter your office
    or your home

As long as you keep these reminders
in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on
your way to dramatically increasing your water intake and reaping the awesome
benefits from it! I promise your body will thank you!!

What tricks do you use to get more hydrated? Let me know in the comments!

Know someone that could use help with increasing their hydration? Please SHARE this post!

drink more water

The 15+ Amazing Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep that I Use Every Week

These are the best kitchen tools for meal prep that I use and LOVE in my household and recommend to others!

*As an affiliate, I may receive a small portion of proceeds of any items you buy through these links, at no extra cost to you. However, I only recommend products I know, use, and love.

Meal prep isn’t just a trend, it’s really a revolution of efficiency. But truthfully, it gets even more efficient when you have the proper and best kitchen tools for meal prep.

As a nutrition specialist and health coach, some of the first things I discuss with clients are the roadblocks to making healthy eating happen, whether it’s general healthy foods or sticking to a dietary style for weight loss or food intolerance. Lack of time is usually the biggest reason named, but it doesn’t have to be (which is what I work through with clients).

My philosophy is to always merge healthy + efficient to make an anti-inflammatory lifestyle doable on the daily.

Here are the best kitchen tools for meal prep that I feel are the most efficient in their own right to make meal prep happen with the least amount of frustration.

best kitchen tools for meal prep

Ninja all-in-one system

This Ninja system has everything you need to chop, dice, spiralize, blend, cream, and so much more! It comes with a bullet-sized smoothie cup, large blender, crazy-sharp blades that are absolutely amazing, a food processor bowl for chopping and ricing, and the smaller attachment for grating and spiralizing. It also includes a dough blade! This system eliminates the need for 3 different appliances, and also has preset functions so you can push the button and walk away while it does its thing!

Instant pot 8-quart 9-in-1

This larger 8-quart Instant Pot has the size to cook larger or smaller amounts, and eliminates the need for a separate slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, saute pan, and more! You can sear meat right in the pot before setting to slow cooker, you can use as a pressure cooker and even cook meats that came straight from the freezer (anyone forget to thaw something for dinner??), and it has settings for different types of meats, rice, eggs, yogurt, potatoes, and so much more. It seriously eliminates the need for multiple different cooking devices! It even has a function for sterilizing! (Baby toys or bottles, anyone?) My feeling, especially if you have a lack of space, is that the best kitchen tools for meal prep can multi-task.

(I like the larger size because it can fit so much more or cook less.) And if you really wanna get high-tech crazy, there’s even a “Smart Wifi” model!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid stand mixer is another amazing all-in-one. It obviously mixes hands-free, but it comes with dough hook attachment AND whisk attachment. But it also has a MILLION AND ONE add-ons! For example, meat grinder, spiralizer, pasta maker, juicer…. honestly the list goes on! The Aqua Sky color is the most popular, but check out the link below to explore all color options!

Silmat set

Ok, this may sound crazy, but this Silmat is amazing and eliminates the use of oil sprays or coatings when baking! I love that I have the option of cooking oil-free and know that it won’t stick! I also love that this set has multiple sizes since not all baking sheets are the same size. These can be used in baking sheets (whether baking, cooking, or roasting) or on the countertop for rolling out doughs WITHOUT the use of extra flour! The best kitchen tools for meal prep will also help eliminate extra ‘stuff’ you have might otherwise have to buy, like parchment paper, oil, flour, etc.

BBQ Grill Mats (my secret tool!)

Even though I love silmats, they pose the problem of not ever fitting inside my rimmed baking sheets or even my corningware and glass dishes. These BBQ grill mats solve that problem because they can be CUT to FIT PERFECTLY inside any pan!

Not only that, NOTHING sticks to them, and they’re easy to clean! (Win-win!)

Baggie Stand holders

Baggie stands are something I never knew I needed until I used them. Like something in my head told me this would be incredibly helpful, but having them makes my life so much easier when I meal prep!! (Ever have a biggie fall over while pouring liquid in? 😭

Yeah…no bueno.) With these baggie stands– PROBLEM SOLVED!

Reusable Storage Bags

If you’re a serial MEAL PREPPER like I am, or even WANT TO BE— these reusable storage bags ARE FOR YOU! I use a TON of baggies in meal prep!! We also send berries, chips, granola, etc in baggies for the kids to school because we either make our own stuff, or buy the large bag and divide for cheaper snacks. These reusable bags eliminate the overwhelming amount of plastic being thrown away, but also the overwhelming amount of baggies I’m buying every month!

Glass Food Storage Containers

Whether you do weekly meal prep or not, getting rid of plastic food storage containers is a MAJOR upgrade for your health!

I love these glass storage containers because they’re dishwasher safe, microwave safe, oven safe, and even freezer safe! They’re extremely versatile! Perfect for meal prep. Perfect for leftovers. Without the icky BPA.

Also, they don’t melt in the dishwasher. All the plastic meal prep containers you can buy will eventually lose their shapes (sometimes sooner, depending on the water temperature in your dishwasher). The glass meal prep containers are good to go forever.

And one last point– I’ve switched to rectangular and square-shaped storage containers because I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to try and fit a round storage container in a square-shaped fridge, but I’m done having dishes ‘pop’ out of the fridge when trying to find something or make room for something else. 😉

Misto Oil Sprayer

For some dietary styles, reducing total oil is a must. And honestly, sometimes a ‘drizzle’ is a bit too heavy when it comes to oil. Which is why I love the Misto oil sprayer. It’s free of butane (like is in cooking spray you buy at the grocery store) and you can use the type and quality of oil YOU prefer.

Silicone Muffin Pans

Silicone muffin pans are a dream for bakers and meal preppers alike! No more rusty pans. No more muffin papers. No more sticking or using non-stick sprays. Oh yeah, and no more washing silicone muffin wrappers individually!!​ HUGE time saver for me!! (Remember: healthy + efficient!)

Saute Pans + Skillet

In case you’re been under a rock the last decade, you already know the reason Teflon isn’t normally used on skillets any more. And although that non-stick surface was hella useful, it’s crazy toxic. Next best non-stick thing? Ceramic-coating! (If you have an induction cooktop, make sure to confirm the cookware works on it before purchasing!)

Fry Cutter

Although it’s not hard cutting a potato, cutting them into perfectly sized fries can be super tedious. That’s why I love our fry cutter.

One disclaimer on this one: I have several videos where I use a different brand. The one I use has never given us trouble, but on Amazon, it has a pretty low rating. So I linked to an alternative with much better reviews and one that’s pretty darn durable. If your family likes home fries, this thing saves a TON of time and headache!

Enamel Coated Cookware

If you love the versatility of being able to go from cooktop to oven, or even fridge to cooktop or oven, then enamel coated cookware is the way to go! The only ‘con’ I have to these is that they are very heavy because they’re cast-iron on the inside, and that means my kiddos can’t feasibly handle them, and also it means it’s nearly impossible to hold the skillets at an angle to pour contents out. Otherwise, these pieces should last for years (and many high-end brands like Le Creuset should last a lifetime). Plus you can get them in a ton of really preeeetty colors! 🌈

Good Knives

The best kitchen tools for meal prep will always include a quality set of sharp knives. A good sharp set of knives can mean the difference between beautifully and quickly sliced foods and an urgent trip to the ER. Invest in some really good knives!! Better knives cost more, but they last longer and are more durable. Plus if they get dull, you can sharpen them!

Mixing Bowls

This may sound like silly advice, but coming from someone who VALUES minimalism these days, a really GOOD, DURABLE, POURABLE, and STACKABLE set of mixing bowls that only takes up a SINGLE shelf in my kitchen is a mega win!! 🏅

Not to mention that this specific set has graters and a slicer you can attach right on top of the bowl!!

Proper Labeling Tools #1: Sharpies

When doing meal prep, the gold standard for labeling baggies is the good ole’ Sharpie. And while I LOVE me some colored Sharpies, unfortunately teal and lighter colors just won’t cut it. Use BLACK, DARK BLUE, PURPLE, or RED.

Proper Labeling Tools #2: Dry Erase Markers

Guess what—DRY ERASE markers aren’t ONLY for a dry erase board!! They’re PERFECT for labeling FOOD CONTAINERS when you’re meal prepping or have leftovers!! 🤩

THESE dry erase markers are my favorite, because they have a fine tip, are black (same importance as the Sharpie situation), and they have a magnet, so you can keep it on the side of the fridge for easy access when labeling leftover containers! *And a tip–although you may be super tempted to use the wet-erase version (usually Vis-a-Vis brand), DON’T! If any moisture gets on the container, the words will smear right off onto your hands and then take 17 days to get off… speaking from experience.)

Meal Prep Cutting Board

Ok, so I’ve saved the BEST for last. I never realized how much of a pain it was cutting up tons of veggies and fruits for meal prep until I started. This is my FAVORITE thing ever! A cutting board with containers for what you’ve chopped under it! Eeeekkk! There are a couple of other options for meal prep cutting boards, but this one is by far my favorite!

So there ya have it! My list of the 15 best kitchen tools for meal prep! Keep in mind it’s not a dire situation if you don’t have these or can’t afford them right now. They simply make it easier to meal prep.

Got any more suggestions? Let’s hear them in the comments below!

Know someone that could use advice on what the best kitchen meal prep tools are? SHARE this post!

best kitchen tools for meal prep

Quit Stressing About Dinner With this Free Printable Weekly Meal Planning Template with Grocery List

Although soooo many of us are moving to everything tech, there’s something to be said for something that doesn’t take ten minutes just to pull up on my phone (like a super-snazzy, mega cute, free meal planning template with grocery list.) So this post is for those of us that like a physical, tangible paper that you can write on and see without relying on a phone, computer, or tablet. To meal plan tech-free.

meal planning template with grocery list editable

In all honesty, I use both methods depending on what mood I’m in that week (I can’t help it, I’m a Gemini.) I really want to be all tech-savvy, but half the time I actually need something easily accessible right up in my face that I can touch and write on. And to be honest, we could all use a break from our screens. That’s where a meal planning template with grocery list comes into play. My philosophy is to always merge healthy with efficient to make our health goals doable, and if/when I have days where tech is not cooperating, it means more time spent trying to work through glitches when I could just do it on paper in half the time.

meal planning template with grocery list editable

The meal plan tech free way

So in order to meal plan tech-free with a meal planning template and grocery list, what I created was basically my counterpoint to any meal planning app. It’s pretty simple actually. It’s a paper that’s folded in half. I stick it to the side of the fridge with a magnet (crazy high-tech, huh?)

Then throughout the week I use it to start our shopping list (things we’re out of, things we’ll need soon, staples, etc.) The list is already categorized for sections of the grocery store, and since I can be a bit OCD I have it ordered by the sections that I visit in my routine order.

This makes it a lot more time-efficient because I’m not crisscrossing back and forth in the store for things I didn’t see on the list while I was standing in that section 👉 Remember: healthy + efficient is where magic happens!

Planning day with a meal planning template

So when it gets to shopping day or the day before, I’ll go ahead and flip the editable meal planning template I’ve printed over to the other halved side where the days of the week are listed.

Then I can plan what meals we want for the week and what we want/need for lunches, breakfasts, snacks, too.

Then I open up the page and add all the things I need for the meals I just listed onto the meal planning shopping list.

Shopping day

I take the list with me to the store, and the rest is common sense. Anyway, I keep the meal planning side, so that when I get back home I can list all the things on the chalkboard we have on our kitchen wall. (This isn’t necessary, but I find that it eliminates the husband and kids asking me for an hour a day what’s for dinner because then they can just look at the wall for the corresponding day and see.)

So I know this meal plan template with grocery list method isn’t all glamorous and tech-ie, but for me it works if I’m not in the mood to deal with phone screens, tablets, or my computer.

I do, however, recommend creating a system for collecting and organizing recipes (like other than Pinterest– whole other story, read about the best meal planning app for your family HERE.)

If you don’t like going the tech way, and would like to try this method out, I’ve got just the editable meal plan template PDF that you can download and fill in any way you want. I also included a free weekly meal planner template word option. I put the basics in, but it’s totally editable, and you can change fonts, colors, and sections of the grocery store and order it any way you want (cut/paste.)

Click the image below to get your Meal Plan template with grocery list!

meal planning template with grocery list

So how do you normally meal plan? Is it a challenge right now? Do you want to try the digital way? Let me know in the comments!

And if you think this meal planning tech free post will help another Mama out, please SHARE!

free meal planning template and grocery list

Meal Prep Ideas to Help You Save Time and Lose Weight

Finding meal prep ideas can undoubtedly be just as grueling as meal planning when you’re so busy every day. I get it– kids and work and quarantine (if that’s still going in your area). But the truth is, partnering meal planning with healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss can keep you on your diet (or get to losing that quarantine 15), keep you on budget, and also save hours in your week! It also saves loads of stress off you, which is why I include meal planning and easy meal prep in my definitions of self-care and stress management.

These things can be automated as routines that don’t take brainpower. You need some stuff off your plate, stat. And my philosophy is that when we merge healthy + efficient, we get a magical area ✨ that makes awesome health and ideal weight a doable daily thing. So let’s start with meal prep ideas to enhance your meal planning and weight loss efforts, shall we?

meal prep ideas to save time and lose weight

What Should I meal prep to lose weight?

The first obvious answer to this is to find healthy meal prep ideas that follow your chosen dietary style for weight loss. So if you’re doing keto, for example, you’d search ‘keto lunch meal prep’ or something similar. It’s easier and faster to find meal prep ideas for weight loss by using search terms that are very specific. Otherwise you’ll have loads of stuff come up that you don’t need.

If you’re not following any dietary style, search using the word ‘healthy’. In general, including protein, healthy fats, smart carbs (like whole grains– nothing refined and no added sugars), and fiber in the form of lots of veggies is the perfect formula for a filling meal that will fuel your body correctly. This means plenty of energy for walking, work, and taking care of kiddos the rest of the day.

To actually lose weight using meal prep, you’ll need to determine the number of calories, carbs, or macro ratios you’ll need for each meal, then plan accordingly. There are several apps that can calculate numbers for each recipe in this way. I use the Whisk app because it calculates all that automatically when you pull in a recipe.

{Recommended article: How to Find the Best Meal Planning App for your Family}

Can you meal prep for 7 days?

You can definitely prep for 7 days, but I recommend splitting the types of meals into ones that are fine for 3-4 days in the fridge, and then the rest for either the freezer or will store well in the fridge that long. This usually means meals to be reheated. Salads typically don’t do well sitting for that many days in the fridge. Produce can go bad at any time, plus when you mix veggies that way, one can make another go bad faster, especially when sealed up. 

I recommend being a little strategic about how you prep if you need a full 7 days. If you’re only doing meal prep salads, bowls, or wraps, go ahead and prep all the proteins and grains or starches, and maybe even chop the veggies. Then prep 3-4 days completely, but have the components of the last days of the week in separate containers in the fridge. Then you’ll need to do a quick prep session for the last few days of the week. 

Can you freeze meal prep?

This depends on the recipe. If it’s a recipe that you reheat, typically yes. If it’s a salad, no. You can, however, freeze some of the components of your healthy meal prep recipes. So any of the proteins like chicken, ground meat, shredded meat… those can usually just be frozen. Many of the veggies can be frozen as well. Veggies that contain a lot of water or are more fragile like cucumbers or lettuce don’t do well at all being frozen. Think about what you’d find in the freezer section. Those are the veggies and starches that will do fine freezing for a bit. 

If you want to freeze your recipes, though, I recommend doing batch prep with freezer meals. {Head to THIS PAGE to get 10 free freezer meal recipes!}

Where Can I buy food prep containers?

I usually use two different types of containers for my weekly meal prep, and it totally depends on whether or not the meal will go in the microwave to be reheated, OR if I’m doing a salad that’s on the go. 

If I need to reheat it, I use a glass pyrex-style dish. They’re rectangular, flat, and stack really nicely in the fridge.

{Check out this post for the Best Tools for Meal Prep recommendations!}

If I’m making a salad or bowl, I’ll either use the plastic meal prep containers (shown below) and add dressing right before eating it (because if you add it before it’ll make everything soggy), or I’ll use the Mason jar salad meal prep method if I’m taking it somewhere. The mason jar method is great because you can put dressings and anything more wet, like cut up tomatoes, at the bottom and then stack the rest of the greens and veggies, etc, vertically so nothing gets soggy before it’s time to eat it.

Cheap meal prep ideas

When it comes to cheap meal prep ideas, the general rule is to choose recipes with fewer ingredients. Yes, fancy seeds and sauces are nice and good. But when you need meal prep ideas on a budget, hitting your main macros will give you a delicious, filling, and nutritious lunch that’s easy on the bottom line cost. BudgetBytes has some awesome meal prep idea recipes that are extremely affordable.

What meals are good for meal prep?

Here are some awesome meal prep ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinners:

Breakfast meal prep ideas-

Lunch meal prep ideas-

Grab your free editable meal planning template by clicking below! 👇

Know someone else that would love to read about meal pep to save time and help lose weight? SHARE this post!

meal prep ideas to lose weight

How to Choose the Best Meal Planning App for Your Family

As a crazy busy mom, I can tell you that meal planning used to be one of the most stressful tasks I had until I found the best meal planning app for our family. I still use paper to write out meals to post on the fridge, but that’s more for my husband or kids because…ya know, they have questions. For the husband it’s to determine whether or not he wants to undertake dinner (“Like how complex is this meal and should I offer to cook it…?”) and for the kids I assume it’s to gear up for what level of complaining they should commit to for the evening.

So if you have any or all of these issues, I’m gonna walk you through what I believe should be the criteria for using and choosing the best meal planning for your family. Because bottom line is that to make great health doable on the daily, we need to merge healthy + efficient: that’s where the magic happens! ✨

best meal planning app

Why use a meal planning app?

  1. What’s funny is that moms usually think menu apps will free them of the harrowing job of searching for recipes and just designating something for the meal for the night. But the truth is that a meal planning app with grocery list can actually keep you on budget. I’m sure you’ve heard about the whole impulse buy phenomenon. It’s real. And the first line of defense against it is to have a grocery list while shopping. The next line of defense is to not go into the store, but do curbside pickup or delivery. Many of the best meal planning apps can now send your list straight to the store, which means you’re not going inside.
  2. The second reason to use meal planning apps is to help stay on a diet or dietary style. In all honesty, just not having to make the decision of a meal because it may or may not fit your dietary style is a huge load off your brainpower every day because it can serve as your healthy food planner. The same holds true for meal prepping lunches and breakfasts. And although I don’t know of a specific meal prep app, the idea is something worth exploring for anyone who needs to stay on a specific way of eating.
  3. The third reason for using meal planning apps is to save time, plain and simple. However, this requires you knowing how to use the meal planning app to its full potential, coupled with other tricks for efficiency (like being able to send your list straight to the store for pickup or delivery). But you should also be aware that any meal planner program isn’t necessarily better to do your weekly meal planning simply because you can pop a meal on a specific date. (More about that in a minute).
  4. And lastly, finding the best meal planning app for your family is a fantastic way to reduce stress. This is because of the enormous amount of information we process each day, in addition to the overload of decisions that we make daily. For moms, this is such a crazy amount it’s silly. All those thoughts and decisions compounded with things like clutter through the house and every other responsibility at home are the perfect storm for mega stress levels. (Why do you think organization sites and stores are so dang popular? Cause once you get a taste of freedom of your mind, there’s no going back!) And believe it or not, managing those stress levels should be priority one of self-care for your health and wellness.

What is meant by a ‘healthy meal planning app’

Ok this question needs to be addressed. I don’t believe there’s a such specific thing as a healthy meal planning app, per se. Many meal planning apps require you to input your own recipes, so in those instances the responsibility falls on you to make sure the recipes are ‘healthy’ or ‘not healthy’ per your own standards. Other meal planning apps have tons of recipes loaded, and can be set from the start to only give you recipes that fit your dietary style.

The problem with seeing any program as a healthy meal planning app is that many of these are recipe-sourced from bloggers who have no credentials or knowledge for deeming a recipe ‘healthy’. And believe me, I’ve seen many a thousand recipes labeled healthy that contained loads of refined grains and cups of sugar.

My recommendation is to choose an app or program based on your HABITS and what will fit your family best, then curate your own recipes based on your dietary style (we recommend Anti-Inflammatory around here) and types of meals that you need.

Meal planning app for moms or families

I’ve read through many recommendations for apps, and my conclusion is that there are several differences that will meet or fall short of your family’s needs. This is because every meal planning app or program has its own features. So it will really depend on what you need to fit your habits and alleviate your frustrations.

I’ve seen lots of clients and friends go through specific meal planner programs because they already had recipes in them, only to be disappointed at the recipes given. Many of these are not free meal planning apps, so they’ve been out of money for the app itself and out of all the time it took to learn it and try it out. So even though an app may claim to ‘personalize’ your meal plans, there’s no guarantee the recipes are any good.

I’ve also seen the mistake of thinking that the best meal planning app will set meals for specific days when the reality is it’s super easy to use the ‘collections’ function for grouping and planning your weeks. There aren’t many now, though, that don’t have a ‘meal planning’ function built in.

And lastly, things should be taken into consideration like how easy or hard is it to add recipes. If it takes too much time, you’ll likely get frustrated and quit pretty early in. Is the interface easy to use when it’s time to cook the meal? Can you edit recipes? Can you add your own? Are you able to send the grocery list to the store? And if so, which stores does it interface with?

All these questions should be considered when finding the best meal planning app for your family and your needs.

What is the best meal planner app

So here’s the million-dollar question, right? So I’m going to list the apps that I love best and recommend. And keep in mind that these are NOT apps or programs that generate a meal plan for you. These are apps or programs that allow you to collect and organize recipes (so it’s stuff you’re choosing), and then generate a shopping list. But they all have different functions and features. And keep in mind that what people think of as grocery list apps may or may not be just simply a list-making app. What we’re dealing with here are apps or programs that generate your shopping list for you based on the meals you’re cooking and send to the list.

If you really want a meal planner program that has specific dates for your meals laid out in order, the three I recommend are Whisk, MealBoard, or PrePear.

Whisk is the app I use and recommend first; it pulls in recipes super fast + easy. It’s also a free meal planning app. They’ve recently added the dated ‘meal planning’ function, which is awesome if you’re attached to dates with your meal planning. They have a Chrome extension and use the ‘send to’ feature on your phone where you can immediately edit or categorize your recipe with a few quick taps. (Meaning– awesome for those of us with nearly zero time to fool with copy/pasting a URL and then having more steps to get it into a category.) They now have a feature where others share their favorite recipes in groups that you can joing. Otherwise, for recipes you find elsewhere online, you pull in all that you want, and can edit any of them. But with how easy + fast it is, I’ve amassed a really large amount of recipes in very little time. It also can send your shopping list to the store, and is integrated with Walmart, many other local stores, and Instacart.

MealBoard has a ton of features that include storing recipes of your own, pulling in recipes (only by copy/paste of URL), editing recipes, and organizing into categories. It also allows you create ‘templates’, which are sets of meals you can name and reuse any time later. You can customize everything for yourself within this app, including multiple stores, the order of the store aisles, and even add pricing and barcodes for items. It also has a ‘pantry’ feature. What it does NOT do is send to any store. So when you generate a shopping list, you can either send it to someone else, or use it in the app in the store to shop. It also only has a couple recipes in it as examples, so all recipes will have to be imported that you use. It’s $4 in the app store.

PrePear also uses the dates for meals setup, but it DOES have recipes in the program. The downside to that is that it’s free with ads, and you can pull in SOME of the recipes for free, but they push buying an annual membership pretty heavily to have access to more recipes, ‘cookbooks’, and ‘meal plans’. These are all generated by bloggers. PrePear will generate shopping lists, and you can send to the store, but right now they only send to Walmart. You organize your recipes by ‘cookbooks’ and then within those you can create more sections. I’ve found it a little difficult to navigate this app and figure out how to add and organize recipes up front.

The last 3 apps I recommend at least exploring are really more for collecting and organizing. But if you have no interest in adding your own recipes or editing them, this may be a better meal planning option for you. These apps also don’t use ‘dates’ to set meal plans.

The first is Yummly, because of the 3, I recommend it most. It’s powered by food bloggers (every notice that little orange ‘yum’ button?) and has literally millions of recipes in it. I like it the most of the 3 because they do a great job of narrowing down your preferences and dietary needs from the start because of your ‘feed’ that shows up when you sign in. They also have a cool function where you input whatever ingredients you have on hand and it’ll give you recipes to make with them. You can create collections, and it has a ‘meal planner’ function that serves as a placeholder for the meals you want to cook for the week. You can send these to the store and it’s integrated with stores and Instacart. The downside is that you can’t edit anything or add your own recipes. For this reason, I usually use it as more of an exploration app to FIND recipes. I’m also not crazy about how they have each recipe set up when you open one. It usually forces you back to that blogger’s recipe post, and if you’ve ever had to fight 87 popup ads and 1000 words of text + images just to find the darn cooking instructions, you get my frustration with this.

Next is Tasty. This app is so colorful and fun, that sometimes I go in just to see what’s happening today. It does what Yummly does, except is a little less robust. It also does not have a ‘meal planner’ function. The collections function it has is nearly useless because they decide what to name or categorize the collections as. You can’t set that up for personalization. But if you need recipes, they’ve got it.

And lastly, I wanted to mention Food Network kitchen app. I’m not crazy about the cooking videos, etc, that they push the membership for. But they do have an insane amount of recipes. Their collection and organization methods are also subpar. But again–if you need recipes, you’ll find them here.

How to use ‘collections’ in apps for meal planning

I want to address the ‘need’ for you to have a meal planner app that has specific dates on it for meal planning. Because that shouldn’t be a limitation for you choosing an app that uses collections instead. I actually really like the collections option because you can set up collections as ‘templates’ or ‘weeks’ of recipes, then use them again. The Whisk app allows you to easily set multiple collections that any given recipe can be in at the same time, and I create a collection for ‘this week’ and ‘next week’ to plan weeks ahead of time for my placeholders.

Free template + how to use with apps

Get the free meal planning template and grocery list below and use it along with the best meal planning app for your family. 👇

I use paper templates STILL because my kids help add stuff to our grocery list all week. But I also have a paper listing out meals for anyone else to help out or just know what’s for dinner. It’s attached to the side of the fridge.

How do I make my weekly meal plan

Making a weekly meal plan doesn’t have to be hard. You obviously need to start out finding recipes that fit your dietary style and needs. This can mean following a specific blogger or site that has lots of those types of recipes, finding some on Pinterest, or even googling your search requirements. Recipes are super popular now, so lots of stuff will come up. Collect and organize everything you find.

Next you should figure out how many recipes you need per week based on your schedule. Do you eat out any? Plan for a leftover night during the week? Also consider your time available to cook. This may mean you cook a lot of slow cooker meals or even decide to do some mega meal prep. All these factors should go into the types of recipes you collect.

Once you know how many and what type of recipes you need, just start plugging them in. Either create ‘collections’ for the week you’re cooking or plug into the specific dates you need.

How do I make a meal plan and grocery list

Once you’ve made the meal plan per the above guidelines, you have two options: use strictly the meal planner grocery list feature to generate a shopping list (which you can add anything else you need in the store to), or you can transfer those ingredients in the list or recipes to a paper list, like the one in the free meal planning template and grocery list below.

{Click the image below to grab it! 👇}

best meal planning app

Again– I highly recommend you take a step back to evaluate your own habits and tech limitations to determine which is the best meal planning app for you and your family. It could make the difference between wasting a lot of time in an app you hate, or saving loads of time, frustration, and stress that can actually turn your evenings into joyful mealtimes with your family. 🥰

Know someone who could use some help choosing the perfect meal planning app? SHARE this post! 💕

the best meal planning app for your family

How to Stick to Your Diet with Meal Planning for Weight Loss

No doubt you’ve read many a trick, tip, or hack for losing weight, but as a nutrition specialist that works with crazy busy moms, meal planning for weight loss is by far the best trick there is.

Yes, we all aspire to meal plan on a regular basis to make sure our families are fed. But honestly, that’s where the problem is when it comes to losing weight. We get hung up on only dinners because we have to feed the kiddos. We’re not really going that one step further to think about the other meals for the day. Here’s how to stick to your diet with meal planning for weight loss.

How do you make a good meal plan for weight loss?

First things first: To lose weight, you must either create a calorie deficit, or reduce your carbohydrate enough that your body goes into ketosis. Creating a calorie deficit would be dietary styles like what I call ‘smart-carb’, Mediterranean diet, Paleo (for the most part), and plant-based (this is not an exhaustive list). Going into ketosis would be very low-carb diets and the keto diet. I won’t get into specifics for going into ketosis in this post.

What I will do is say that relying on packaged and ‘quick diet foods’ to reduce calories may help your bottom line, but it’s doing you zero favors in real health benefits. Which is why I recommend using nutrient-dense foods in a smart and purposeful way when going into a calorie deficit. This includes:

  • Quitting processed and packaged foods and added sugars (which are in nearly all packaged and/or processed foods). These foods make you think you’re still hungry when you’re really not. That can make it extremely difficult to stay on track when you have a certain calorie allotment per day.
  • Load up on vegetables and some fruits. Vegetables are full of fiber and vitamins, and will help you feel full faster and longer with smaller portion sizes. This includes legumes and beans, which are sorta like power foods in terms of fiber for weight loss. Fresh fruits are good, but in limited amounts. Make sure you’re having way more vegetables than fruits. Fruit with the fiber is good (and a million x better than packaged foods), but remember that fruit contains fructose. Fructose still makes an impact on your insulin response, and every time it’s hit up for more insulin, it sends the signal to store fat. Which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. So if you have fruit, pair it with a protein and a healthy fat. Great examples of these would be an apple + peanut/almond butter or blueberries + a cheese stick.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber. Both help you feel full faster and longer, and protein helps you build muscle when doing strength training. This matters because more lean muscle will also boost your metabolism.
  • Try using a meal planning app. Yeah, I get it– some of us are die-hard paper planners. But storing all those recipes makes it hella easier to get organized and have a good recipe on the ready when it’s time to sit and plan. Get ahead of the game by choosing a good one, getting organized, and always use it when you find something good (ie-quit tossing them on your Pinterest board that you never look at again!)

{Recommended: How to Choose the Best Meal Planning App for Your Family}

Is meal prepping good for weight loss?

Oh my goodness YES! Meal prepping makes actual meal cooking take less time, and allows for spending more relaxing time with family during cooking and meal time!

One of the first things I recommend to clients is to meal prep anything you can. But also, pull in help. This can be a segway to teaching your kiddos cooking as a life-skill plus allows time to have conversations. Purposeful time like this is crazy important for them and you! It can also be a great way for you and your partner to connect and get on the same page for meals and maybe your plans for the week. I have lots of clients who end up pulling their partner into meal planning and change the way they both eat, resulting in healthy clean eating being a family affair.

Meal prepping for weight loss is so important because you’re not only planning out your meals (which is the number one way to stay on track with your diet), but also making sure it’s doable. We all have crazy lives when we have kids and a business to run, so having a plan and doing your prep work up front is everything when you’re trying to stay within specific calories or carbs every day!

Also, meal prepping allows you to make sure your breakfasts, snacks, and lunches are taken care of as well. This is the biggest time for downfalls when trying to lose weight, because any small meal during the day is an afterthought, until it’s not. And if you don’t have a plan in place, the hangry you will win with whatever’s most convenient. Which is usually processed and full of empty calories.

What is a good meal plan for weight loss?

A good meal plan for weight loss starts with outlining your schedule, how much time you have for meal prep and cooking, and obviously–how many calories or carbohydrates you need as your daily limit. To determine your caloric needs as a start, calculate your basal metabolic rate. Once you know that, you can cut that number according to your activity level and adjust from there.

Calculate your caloric needs with this calculator :

EER Calculator – Estimated Energy Requirement

So now that you have an idea of the deficit you need in calories daily to lose weight, use that as a guide for your meals. Two options for keeping track of those that I recommend are either MyFitnessPal (which integrates with Fitbit) or the Whisk app for recipe collection and meal planning. You can read more about that HERE. Why I love Whisk is that it was designed with data in mind and calculates all macros and calories for any recipe you put in. That way you know exactly how much of the recipe you can have portion-wise (or if you don’t need it at all!)

The Ultimate How-to Meal Planning for Beginners Guide

How to Meal Plan for Beginners Guide

As a busy mom, I’m sure you can relate to the dinner-time frenzy of ‘what’s for dinner?’, as well as the panic that beginners of meal planning encounter regularly. It’s seriously draining to have tiny humans to feed when you have no clue how to meal plan or where to start meal planning. 

I actually advocate meal planning as one of the FIRST things to get in order in your household to help reduce stress. (Seriously–order and a plan = calm + collected).

Finding the magic ✨ middle between healthy + efficient will change everything.

But there are actually a lot of other reasons to meal plan, and here’s why you should get your ish in order and get started!

meal planning for beginners

1. Benefits of meal planning

Meal planning is one of those things that people just hate doing. It usually feels like an impossible task, not knowing where to start or end. Most people are very confused about what meals they should include for staying with a particular dietary style, which meals through the week they should plan for, and how make the shopping lists.

I get it—before I started meal planning it felt completely overwhelming. Evenings were stressful, because even if we did agree on a meal, I had no idea if we had the ingredients to make it. (Forget whether or not it fit into our ‘diet’ we tried to adhere to at the time!) The frustration of not ever really knowing what was for dinner got the best of me once we had kids and our time became a gazillion times for valuable (because it was qucily becoming in more short supply).

That’s when I decided to get serious about meal planning.

And you know what? I discovered that there were several benefits to  meal planning I didn’t even realize until we were into it a couople weeks.

First, our ‘diet’ we were trying to follow—we stuck to it because I took the time to search out recipes that followed it. The confidence it built in both my husband and I after eating good for two weeks was amazing! That alone helped us stay motivated to keep working out as well. We didn’t want to waste our efforts at proper eating habits.

Second, we saved money. (Serious.) When you have an actual plan, you don’t wander through the store and grab at whatever looks good. You get your stuff and get out. This also allows to intentiaonally search up recipes that cost less if you’re serious about bringing your budget down on groceries.

Third, we eliminated multiple trips to the store. Translation: time saver!! We honestly didn’t have time to make so many trips to the store in the first place, and this just put me into panic runaround mode the days I had to ‘stop real quick’. Think about how much time (and brainpower) it’s taking for you to realize you forgot something or you’re out of whatever you dreamed up for dinner on a whim, then the time to get into the store (especially if you have to take kids in with you!), the time in the store, loading the car back up, then unloading everything while unloading kids. Oh yeah—and getting everything put up. This can suck hours out of your week. Only one trip a week has saved me boatloads of time!

And last, our stress levels were exponentially less in the evenings. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I’m not kidding. There was no scrambling around, no arguments, no searching online like a madwoman for something—anything—I could make with mushrooms and ajar of relish. We had a plan, we both helped in cooking every night, and we started having some amazing conversations while spending relaxing before-dinner time with the kiddos.

So now that you’re convinced you’re definitely on the right track–

2. How do you start meal planning?

Meal planning will come down to a couple of different things.

First, are there any dietary styles you need to adhere to? If so, those are the kinds of recipes you need to search up.

Second, how many people will you be cooking for at night? Think about if you need to cook for adults and kids.

Third, do you want to take advantage of leftovers for lunches? This will determine the number of servings you cook of the dinner recipe. This is a GREAT way to also make sure you stay on track with your dietary style. As long as you cook your dinners in that style, you’re assured your lunch is the same when you’re using them as leftovers. Plus you don’t have to go searching for lunch when you’re hungry. It’s already done and ready in the fridge.

Do you need to plan for breakfasts, snacks, or more lunches? If so, you should also account for these when sitting down to meal plan.

3. How do I create a weekly meal plan?

Creating a meal plan takes a little time each week, but once you have a system set, you begin to follow it automatically and it gets easier.

The first thing you should do is print out a meal planning template (which you can get below), and find recipes. Consider all those things above when coming up with your plan.

Next, start filling in the days and slots you need a meal for with the recipes you’ve found. Think about any nights you won’t be home for kids’ practices, nights you eat out, or nights you’re planning for leftovers. Mark those out or make a note.

You’ll also want to note any nights you want to cook but it needs to be simple or a slow cooker meal that you threw in first thing in the morning to be ready by dinnertime.

Third, you’ll need to create shopping lists. This can be done by either using recipe or meal planning apps, or by simply writing a list with a meal planning template and shopping list template yourself while looking at the recipe. It’s a little time-consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult.

Fourth, double-check you don’t already have those ingredients (I hate when I buy something I already had 5 of !)

Last, I suggest posting your weekly meal plans somewhere anyone can find it. This is so that if your partner needs/wants to start the meal, or even has questions about it, you always have a designated place so there are no questions.

4. Meal Planning Template With Shopping List

Meal planning templates with a shopping list can be very simple, planning only for dinners, or you can find very complex meal planning templates when you need to plan for multiple meals per day. The advantage of printing these out is that you have a very clear, organized picture of your week right in front of you.

meal planning for beginners

5. Schedule in Meal Planning Every Week

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners make is not taking the time to meal plan, and not making it a priority. If you’re serious about saving time in your week and nixing the constant anxiety about what’s for dinner- schedule in a time to sit and do meal planning every single week! 

6. Get organized

Every time I ask a client where their recipes are, I know what’s coming: “Oh they’re on my phone”. But the where is the bigger issue. I know how this works– we get going down the recipe rabbit hole on Pinterest, pin a thousand recipes that all look amazing, then we never see them again. 

Friend! Stop doing this!! If you find something you think looks fantastic and your family will love it, do yourself a HUGE favor and get organized with your recipes so you can find them again later!! I use a recipe organization app that’s amazing at analyzing nutrition information, too. They use a ‘collections’ feature to organize recipes, and (although they will have an official ‘meal planner’ feature soon within the app), I use that ‘collections’ feature to do my meal planning. Plus they generate my shopping list and you can send it any store from there for shopping– SO EASY!!

7. Save + Reuse Favorites

This one is so easy, but always easily forgotten. When you find something that everyone likes, don’t forget to save it and reuse it. These start to fall under the category I call ‘Family Faves’. What’s so great about these is that once you’ve made it a time or two, it starts to be second nature– meaning it takes you less time and brainpower to make it. Heck-some of ours I actually know all the ingredients by heart now! 

So now that you have your steps in order for how to meal plan, grab the free meal planning template with shopping list below and get started! 👇

meal planning for beginners

Know someone else that could use help meal planning? SHARE this post!

meal planning for beginners meal planner with grocery list

What Anti Inflammatory Diet is Best for Me? Ultimate Guide and Roadmap

what diet is best for me

As a nutrition specialist, this is by far the most commonly asked question. And I get it– your dietary style has a lot to do with how you feel every single day.

I wasted so much time trying to lose baby weight after my second and third kid using a dietary style that didn’t support my body type and allergic condition.

It was a miserable multitude of months seeing weight go up and down while relying on daily antihistamines and asthma medication that made me feel like I was in outer space.

I felt like a failure, and I didn’t get why my allergies, hormones, and energy levels seemed to get worse even though I was eating ‘healthy’.

(In my defense, I didn’t understand food labeling or what even food intolerances can do, at the time–that came much later as I completed my formal education in nutrition.)

what diet is best for me

How do I know what diet is best for me?

So when people ask this question, the thing to know first of all is this:

Whether your goal is losing weight, maintaining weight loss, managing a condition, or looking for steady energy and emotional stability, finding YOUR perfect dietary STYLE, first and foremost, is where you should start.

This means a dietary style that supports your conditions in addition to your health goals.

*If you’re looking to lose weight, START with a dietary style that supports your body first, then calculate your daily energy needs and do things to boost your metabolism. Another option is reducing portion sizes, which inherently reduces calories or carbs (or both).

What is the number 1 healthiest diet?

Studies from the last decade or so have consistently deemed the Mediterranean diet a top global recommendation because of its lack of junk food and calorie dense foods, and focus on healthy foods that have been shown to reduce disease risk. This includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory conditions, among others.

Instead of it being in the shrinking lot of low fat diets, or even a low carb diet, it focuses on fiber and resistant starches (healthy carbs) in the form of lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans, legumes, and lentils, and also promotes healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil, and even coconut oil.

It also limits red meat and unhealthy forms of saturated fats while eliminating added sugars and processed foods.

Other examples are the paleo diet and a more plant-forward dietary style. The common factor is that these are all anti-inflammatory diets, which is what TRUEWELL is all about.

what diet is best for me

How do I know what diet is best for me?

Most people want to know this as if there’s a magic answer. But there’s a lot more that goes into this question. Here’s why.

First, every single body is different. Meaning your metabolism is different. Your body type is different. Yes, your DNA is different. But also, your tastes, environmental factors, lifestyle, and habits are all so very different!

So what I aim to do is give you some guidance on where to start based on what your goals are. Then you can further research different dietary styles with the resources listed below.

And keep in mind that many people have more than one health issue that needs to be addressed with diet. When you’re looking at your issues, notice recurring dietary style recommendations. These are where you should start.

But I cannot stress enough 2 important things:

1) EATING CLEAN will do more for you right off the bat than counting anything. If you’re eating starchy or sugary junk (sugar + processed junk foods), refined carbs and flours, and processed foods, eliminate those first.

2) Finding the closest dietary style should be a goal in getting curious about healing your condition and managing inflammation with food. This will make it easier to find recipes.

3) It will probably require you TRYING a few styles to get the one that’s BEST FOR YOU. There’s almost no way around that. But there are some guidelines to which ones you SHOULD try. So let’s get started.

Start with your conditions, intolerances, or food allergies

What I like to guide clients and readers to do is figure out which goals they have based on their medical issues FIRST.

Do you need to avoid foods you’re allergic or intolerant to, pull down blood sugar levels, decrease inflammation, manage anxiety and/or depression, get your gut health back on track, get energy levels steady all day, get blood pressure under control, or something else? This is not all-inclusive, by the way–there are many, many other health issues that could be leading the way on this.

Bottom line is that starting with the Mediterranean framework (or basic anti-inflammatory dietary style), then eliminating possible foods inflammatory to YOU can be accomplished with an elimination diet. This is the best way to find the anti-inflammatory dietary style unique to YOU and your needs.

Next think about your habits

Unfortunately, some dietary styles are harder to maintain until you get the hang of it.

Some will start a dietary style only to quit because they get in the habit of listening to friends or family members giving advice or push-back.

Some get in the habit of going in hard and strong, only to lose interest in a couple of weeks.

And yet others are in the habit of trying simply to see ‘how hard’ this is gonna be before throwing in the towel.

My whole-hearted advice is to:

  • Go into this with the attitude that this is going to be a life-long change for you (and maybe your family), so instead of worrying about if it’ll be ‘too hard’ or ‘too boring’, look at in through the lens of you and your family’s lifelong health and well-being.
  • Just be prepared up front for some work on your part. The sad truth is the diet industry has purposely made this as complicated as possible. Honor yourself by being ready for some work, but seeking the truth for YOU, and being prepared to put in that work up front to make massive gains for your life.
  • Don’t brush off the idea of CHANGING your habits to ensure you can stick to your perfect dietary style. Of course it’s easiest to just keep your current habits and figure out how to work within them. But you wouldn’t be reading this article if you believed your current habits were keeping you healthy. So be ready to learn about modifying or eliminating habits when it comes to behavior change that will benefit your health for life.
what diet is best for me

Which type of diet is best to lose weight?

I consistently recommend starting with an anti-inflammatory lifestyle change that includes an ideal diet for yourself, then working on a weight loss program within that if you also seek weight loss.

Part of this is because once you start eating clean and reset your body from processed junk foods, refined flours, and sugar, weight tends to naturally come off. So if you’re supporting your body’s needs first it’s much easier to just adjust your macro levels within that framework to achieve even greater weight loss.

Since studies have shown that the best diet is the one you’ll stick to, I recommend following the above process to nail down a dietary style perfect for you FIRST, then working on your metabolism.

As far as what works with your body type, some people do much better on low-carb or keto styles where you severely limit carbohydrates. Others do better when limiting total calories.

This is a lot of information overall, and it can be confusing to figure out overall.

So really dig into what diets you’ve tried in the past and how you’ve FELT on each.

Think about your past attempts to lose weight

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did I lose weight in a healthy, steady way?
  2. Were the recipes and types of food easy to find, cook, and choose when out (eating out/drive-thru)?
  3. Did I have enough energy to do my work AND exercise?
  4. Did the diet disrupt any gut issues? Or solve any?
  5. Were there any other noticeable changes (good or bad) regarding skin, mood, and brain fog/focus?
  6. Why did you quit? What were the barriers that made it unsustainable for you?

Here’s a flow chart to get an overview of what this means so far:

what diet is best for me for weight loss

How to Choose a Diet or Dietary Style

Once you’ve explored the options for each dietary style, see which recurring ones come up for your conditions.

And now comes the fun part: Trying different things.

Yes, this is a pain in the butt. Yes, it takes time. But this is the way to finding the *perfect* diet or dietary style for you. You wanna be in the group of people that actually lose weight because you stick to it? Then quit asking, ‘what is the best diet for me’ and actually do the work to find it!

YOUR NEXT STEPS –> Get started with the free 1-Week Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan below! 👇

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what diet is best for me