We are so excited to rock this clean eating program! For those of you joining us next Monday for the Post-Summer Detox Challenge, we've been working hard behind-the-scenes so you don't have to. We know how good it feels to eat healthy but we also know that building a new habit isn't easy. Next week, you might naturally feel overwhelmed, encounter unexpected changes to your schedule, or maybe forget to buy an ingredient or two, or five.
We know the feeling.
That's why today's post is all about how we can set ourselves up for a successful week and overcome the challenges we all face when it comes to meal planning and eating healthier at home.
1. Consult your schedule.
Everyone's schedule is going to look different, so take some time in the next few days to look over what you have planned next week. Write down which days you are busy, and which days you are most free. This will determine how much time you have to prep each day and whether you need to re-jig your plan.
For instance, if I'm super busy next Tuesday, I might want to have Greek Chicken Burgers for dinner instead. I could make and freeze the burgers this weekend (eat 1 or 2 first!) and defrost them Monday night. Then all I have to do on Tuesday is reheat and eat!
2. Make freezer-friendly recipes ahead of time.
Get a head start by making recipes that can be frozen for later. If you still need dinner plans this weekend, try making one of our challenge recipes and freezing the leftovers, or make a double-batch if you're feeding more than two (remember, you can adjust your serving size!). On the night before, transfer your food to the fridge to thaw.
Freezer-friendly recipes from the Post-Summer Detox Challenge:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (don't overfill, leave 1-inch space at the top if using mason jars)
- Kale Chips
- Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies
- Greek Chicken Burgers (cooked)
- Honey Garlic Chicken (raw, in marinade)
Check out: How To Use Your Freezer Like A Boss
3. Storage is key.
Protect your precious food babies! There's nothing worse than ingredients going bad in the middle of the week before you even get to use them. Here are the most vulnerable ingredients in the Post-Summer Detox Challenge and how to keep them from spoiling.
- Refrigerate or freeze immediately after grocery shopping
- Cook fresh poultry within 2-3 days after purchasing (despite what the expiry says), otherwise freeze it
- Always thaw frozen raw chicken in the refrigerator (in a bowl or container to catch any juices) or cold water (here's how)
- Greek Chicken Burgers: Cook and freeze ahead of time. If you don't plan on making the recipe within 2-3 days, freeze right away. If you want to refrigerate your cooked leftovers, eat within 3 days.
- Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs: our prep guide suggests freezing the raw chicken with marinade in a freezer-safe bag so it stays fresh for Day 5 and 6. It will continue to marinate while defrosting.
- Yellow Bell Peppers (in Hummus Dippers): keeps 1-3 days, washed and sliced in fridge. Will last 1-2 weeks if kept whole in fridge.
- Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats: up to 3 days in fridge (may need to add extra liquid)
- Mushrooms (in Portobello BLT and Veggie Goat Cheese Omelette): keep in paper bag or wrapped in paper towels up to 1 week in fridge, never in a plastic bag.
- Figs (in Fig, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quesadillas): keeps 2-3 days, refrigerated. Try to buy under-riped figs, or wait until mid-week to purchase them. If they are starting to get too soft, eat them and replace with another fruit for the recipe!
4. Customize your plan.
Does a recipe take too long to make, or include ingredients you wouldn’t like? Already have dinner plans on Day 4? Make a copy of the Post-Summer Detox plan so you can modify it. Here’s how (at 0:36).
How to Get Started with the Quick n' Easy Meal Plan from That Clean Life on Vimeo.
5. Reach out to us!
Remember, you aren't alone in this. We have an incredible community at That Clean Life. We're constantly chatting and supporting each other on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and you can follow the conversation using the hashtag #thatcleanlife. You can always reach us directly anytime with questions, feedback, for extra support or just to say hello. We love hearing from you!
Here's to a healthy week ahead. Have fun, everyone!
More meal planning resources you might find helpful:
If you're still unsure about joining the challenge, we came up with 10 crucial reasons here that might change your mind ;) If you're all ready to get this party started, head on over to ThatCleanLife.com to get signed up!