One of ThinkFit’s resolutions for 2020 was to create more free tools for our community to utilize during meal prep and not surprisingly, a meal prep calendar was at the top of everyone’s list.
Because decisions are difficult. As adults, we are forced to make countless decisions everyday. Whether it’s how we spend our money or manage our time, we are constantly questioning ourselves on whether or not we are maximizing our choices.
If choosing what and when to eat is high on your stressful decisions list, the ThinkFit 2020 Meal Prep Calendar is your new secret weapon.
Meal Prep Calendar’s are game changers.
When you succumb to last minute lunch plans, ordering takeout, or choosing grab and go convenience foods you can expect to pay more for what you’re eating while getting less value nutritionally.
More quick carbs, fat, salt, and sugar - which doesn’t sound terrible for a meal or two but when it becomes the standard your energy levels and motivation will drop, keeping you from reaching your wellness goals.
If you already know all this and are ready to download the meal prep calendar just scroll to the bottom of the page!
If you’re still weighing whether or not to add a calendar to your meal prep tool box, let us convince you. We started ThinkFit with the intention of providing the best meal prep products on the market and we’re proud to say that our portion control lunch box has been the best selling meal prep system on the market for years, in part due to our relentless commitment to make it durable, affordable, and easy for a meal prepper at any level to use.
But just because you have the containers to carry the food, doesn’t mean you have everything you need to get going.
What we know from our community and our own experience is that meal prep calendars are the key to staying consistent and committed to a meal prep diet plan.
As organization methods vary, we made our meal prep calendar more versatile to allow everyone to create a meal schedule that is most suitable for them. This calendar will help you to prep both your materials and your mindset as you ease into the new year.
How far in advance should you be planning your meals?
Focus on a weekly meal prep calendar if:
- you are new to the meal prepping world and are seeking to make small changes to your daily routine
- you enjoy variety and need a bit more flexibility, as well as freedom to include new and exciting foods
- you have an ever changing schedule week to week
- you travel frequently
Print out multiple sheets for the month if:
- you prefer buying foods in bulk at the start of every month
- you like meal consistency and get on specific food kicks where you want the same thing nearly every day
- you are who are working towards a specific goal and need more long term structure in your diet
Planning out the full year, one week at a time would be good for you if:
- you are extremely organized and perform best with little to no modification in your daily routine
- your fitness/nutrition goals are long term and you would prefer a more structured plan for how you will execute each month in light of travel, special events, and holidays
- You enjoy cooking and eating seasonally and want to get a head start on finding recipes to fit your diet plan
What are the nuts & bolts of an easy to use calendar?
The ThinkFit meal prep calendar allows you to track not only your meals, but your snacks too, and we included a grocery list section to knock out two tasks on the same sheet.
Our meal prep calendar includes a section for inspiration too. Why?
This is part of intention setting and we like to specify it by the week. Long term goals can be frustrating because hey - they take a long time. On a weekly basis however, you’re still able to achieve small wins to keep you interested and motivated.
Trying to drink more water throughout the day? Put your daily goal in the box. Have a quote that speaks to you? Jot it down.
A note about format: We’ll always prefer using a physical print out of a meal prep calendar over a digital tool or app.
- We like to write notes on meals we’ve enjoyed and those we didn’t so we know what to repeat in the future and what to not waste our time on again.
- We have 1 million and 1 apps on our phone and are easily distracted once we have it in hand. A quick check of the grocery list can turn into a 30 minute social scroll session a little too easily.
- After some expensive mishaps and spills, we try to keep all phones, tablets and laptops out of the kitchen.
- Also - when was the last time you sanitized your phone?
Think about all the bacteria transferring back and forth between your food and electronics after touching it, and all the places it’s been.
Paper calendars are also a great accountability tool because as it turns out, rudimentary tasks such as physically writing something out serves to reinforce your intentions.
According to an article in Forbes magazine, by simply writing down your goals, you are 1.4 times more likely to achieve them because the act of writing things down aids in the encoding process during memory.
Last, but not least - if you’re anything like us, our email inboxes and Google searches aren’t always the most organized. Digitally we can be a bit of a mess; if you find yourself in the same boat we can highly recommend ditching your screens, at least when it comes to using a meal prep calendar.
How can you get the most use of your meal prep calendar?
Don’t worry- it’s not rocket science. And we will walk you through it step-by-step!
- First things first, when using a meal prep calendar block off days or meal times when you know you’ll be traveling, have planned to eat out, or expect food will be brought in during a work or social event.
- Mark holidays and any potluck events with the dishes you’ll be responsible for.
- Meal prepping for more than one? Make sure both schedules are included so you don’t over or under prepare meals for the week.
After you have a clear vision of the days and meals you’ll need to plan for it’s time to decide on the menu.
- Start with meals you know you love and enjoy preparing.
- For any open spots, consider trying a new recipe you’ve been holding onto or go searching for inspiration online!
- If you’re using the monthly or year long calendar you can plan far in advance. Say you come across a recipe you think sounds amazing, but can’t make it due to seasonal ingredients or it’s simply the wrong season of the year, pencil it in way ahead! I mean, we love gazpacho… but maybe not in January.
Now that you have your meals planned and pencilled in, use our Grocery List section to map out the ingredients you’ll need.
- Always shop your pantry, fridge, and freezer first. You might be surprised by what you have on hand.
- Write out your ingredients in the order you find them in the store. This will help to make sure you don’t miss anything and will keep you on track and out of the candy aisle.
Let’s fast forward. You have your calendar, you have your plan, you’ve made your meals and you’re eating the food you made! Mostly.
If you find yourself not eating the food you’ve made be sure to mark on the calendar why. This will help you to see what your eating patterns are and plan more appropriately in the future. Even with the best intentions, some of us need that Friday lunch out of the office.
You'll waste less time, money and food if you use your calendar in a way that's true to your actual eating habits!
Simply writing down your habits will help you to avoid the mindless consumption of products that no longer serve you. By fully utilizing our meal prep calendars you will become more conscientious of what is entering your body, without the worry or guilt.
It takes some planning up front, but the time you spend now will more than make up for the time and money you gain from having a meal plan mapped out in advance.
Even with the best intentions, products, and tools ThinkFit understands that a support system is often the most important factor in remaining committed to your health goals.
Our hope is that we provide that for you and are able to be a part of your support structure as you progress on your nutrition and fitness journey. If there is ever a tip, trick, or tool you think would benefit you - let us know. We’ll do our best to provide it for you, or get you access to it!
Download ThinkFit’s weekly free printable Meal Prep Calendar for 2020:
-The ThinkFit Team