One of the best things an endurance athlete like a runner or cyclist can do for their performance is to start creating meal plans. Making a weekly menu plan is easy to do. And, although it requires some time up front, it’ll end up saving you time—and money—in the end.
1. Resolve to make the effort. As with any goal―losing weight, exercising, or eating healthier―the first step is making a commitment,. Just decide you’re going to do it. Involve those who eat with you by asking what they do and don’t like to eat―even kids as young as five or six can be included―then factor their preferences into your plans.
2. Break down the ingredients.
Next, break each of your planned meals down into ingredient lists. If you already know how to prepare each meal, this step will be fairly easy. If not, look up a few recipes online and write down the ingredients from there. Remember: Include the necessary spices and little extras in addition to the main ingredients! This is what essentially becomes your grocery list for the week
Related Article: Benefits to Meal Planning
3. Assess your fridge and pantry.
Now that you have your ingredient/grocery list, it’s time to take a look in your fridge and pantry to see what you may already have on hand and what you’ll need to pick up at the store.
4. Head to the grocery store.
Once you’re at the store, pick up the items that are on your menu list first. This will help you stay on track and keep your grocery bill down. When you have all your menu items, get a few extra items that are either on sale (pastas, rice, etc.) or look fresh (green beans, broccoli, etc.) so that you have a few extra sides on hand to pair with leftovers. This will help you stretch your three big days of cooking into the other four days of the week.
5. Time to cook!
Decide which days you’re going to cook, and which meal you’re going to cook on which day. Try to spread them out a bit so you can enjoy some of your leftover filler meals in between. Meals involving meats and other items that may not have a long shelf life should go first.
6. Grade your efforts.
Every time you finish a meal, you should critique it. When a meal works, give it a gold star. Build a collection of gold-star meals so menu planning takes less time. In only a few weeks, you’ll have a complete collection of time-tested and family-approved meals.