Weekly Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping for a Healthy and Fit Lifestyle (+my list of 20 pantry staples we ALWAYS have on hand)

I’ve had a few people ask my about my weekly grocery list and how I plan meals, and honestly, because I spend a couple of days every few months prepping freezer meals, my grocery trips are pretty simple. Every Sunday morning I very quickly (because I don’t feel like spending all day meal prepping and planning) figure out what I’m going to do for dinner that week. This usually consists of 3 meals from the freezer that I already have cooked and ready, one easy dinner to make, and a dinner I spend a little more time making on Sunday evenings.

It’s a house rule that we always eat takeout on Friday, no exceptions. That’s our cheat day when we get whatever we want and reward ourselves for eating healthy and at home throughout the week. Saturdays, we normally make a quick trip to the grocery to grab something to grill- usually burgers or ribs or something along those lines. And yes, we’re the kind of people who grill year round. My husband will stand outside in the snow manning the grill because we both just like the flavor of grilled meat so much better than anything in the oven.

When it comes to breakfast, I wake up really early in the morning and leave for work before my husband and son are out of bed. I don’t have time to waste making breakfast, so I always need something fast and easy. I have pretty much three weekday breakfasts I eat:
1. Overnight chia seed pudding– I normally just make it in a mason jar the night before and grab ‘n go in the morning.
2. Baked oatmeal cups- Blueberry, chocolate chip, and pumpkin (recipe coming soon!) are my favorites. I make this when I prep my freezer meals and just pull them out of the freezer the night before.
3. Bulletproof coffee– Sometimes this is all I need/have time for, and it keeps me full until lunch.
coffee

My husband prefers eggs in the morning, so we make egg bakes and frittatas that we cut into pieces and freeze. One of his favorites is my Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Frittata, but usually we just do eggs and whatever veggies we have on hand and need to use, nothing too fancy.
frittata7

For lunch, my husband eats leftovers from dinner, and I eat salad with grilled chicken, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dried blueberries every day. I make a homemade vinaigrette in a mason jar on Sunday night and use that throughout the week. We make tons of grilled chicken at a time to use for dinners and my lunches, and then freeze them in individual portions, which makes packing my lunch really easy!

grilledchicken.jpg

So, what are the things I always have on hand for snacks or last minute dinners or for when I’m in the mood to bake (which is pretty often). Here is a list of my pantry must haves. I try to buy as much as I can on Amazon in bulk because I know I’ll use it, but sometimes I just get it at the grocery on Sunday if I realize we’re out.

1. Natural peanut butter- I use peanut butter A LOT in my baking, and when my one year old decides he wants to be a picky eater, he never turns down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Just make sure peanuts are the only ingredient!

2. Real maple syrup- I use this instead of sugar in almost all of my baking, and on the weekends I usually make grain free pancakes or waffles for breakfast.

3. Rolled oats- These are my oat of choice for baked oatmeal and homemade granola.

4. Quick oats- Sometimes I just crave a bowl of oatmeal, and for that purpose, I always have quick one minute oats on hand too. I like the texture better when I’m just eating plain oatmeal than rolled oats.

5. Raw and unsalted walnuts, pecans, cashews, and almonds- We have a giant bowl of trail mix we just continually fill to snack on throughout the week, and I put all of these nuts in it. They have amazing health benefits and make the perfect snack.

6. Raw, shelled pumpkin seeds- These are so good for you, and I put them on everything!

7. Canned black and pinto beans- I use these in so many recipes, I always have them on hand.

8. Canned tomatoes- Same for canned tomatoes! These go in so many of my crockpot recipes, I keep a full stock in my pantry!

9. Canned coconut milk- This is great for quick stir fry curries and also an amazing dairy alternative (because I try to go light on the dairy).

10. Dark chocolate chips- I always make sure they have at least 70% cacao for the health benefits. I use these in muffins, cookies, oatmeal, and trail mix.

11. Tortilla chips- I make a lot of guacamole and a lot of Mexican-style dinners, so yeah, we always have a few bags of these ready to go.

12. Canned garbanzo beans- perfect for curry, hummus, or a low carb snack.

13. Chia seeds- A nutrient packed superfood I eat for breakfast all the time.

14. Almond flour- My favorite low carb baking flour. I go flourless when I can, but when I can’t, this stuff is my favorite.

15. Coconut oil- I use this for most of my baking for the amazing health benefits, and I also use it in my bulletproof coffee.

16. Olive oil and red wine vinegar- Aside from cooking uses, I hate store bought salad dressing and always make these the base of my homemade dressings.

17. Honey- When I don’t sweeten something with maple syrup, I sweeten with honey. I try to steer clear of refined sugars and use natural ingredients whenever I can.

18. Mustard based BBQ sauce- whether it’s ribs, pulled pork, or bbq chicken pizza, we use this stuff pretty often. My husband and I both love the taste of mustard bbq sauces over the super sweet ones (and they’re generally healthier/contain less sugar).

19. Hot sauce- More specifically, Skyline Hot Sauce. I put hot sauce in and on a lot of stuff, and my husband puts it on even more. We also use tons of Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce.

20. Byron’s Butt Rub- I bought Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Barbeque Seasoning BBQ Rubs (26 ounce) after reading the great reviews. We’ve been using it on every meat imaginable ever since! We put it on grilled chicken, burgers, ribs… everything. It’s the best.

I hope these tips help you with your own weekly meal planning and prep, and I’d love to hear any tips that you guys have for trying to eat healthy despite busy schedules! Fill me in on your suggestions in the comments! Have a wonderful week!

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