meal plan

To be successful at anything requires a plan, and that includes eating right!

Without a meal plan, it’s a whole lot easier to order take-out trap again… only to realize you made dinner once this week, and it was or cereal.

Use the weekend to your advantage and plan your meals for the week ahead of time. There’s no one way to do it, and you definitely don’t have to be super strict about it 100% of the time. But even if you just plan a few dinner and snack options, you’ll be on track to a healthier lifestyle!

meal planMap out your meals for the week

If you’re new to meal planning, you might want to start small by just planning out one type of meal for the week, such as breakfast. Once you master it, add another meal to the plan. Try setting aside 10 minutes on Friday afternoon or evening to map out the coming week. When planning your meals, consider the following:

  • Look at your calendar. Do you have a lunch meeting on Monday? Are you meeting friends for dinner Thursday? You can subtract those meals from the weekly meal plan so you know how many meals you really need to make.
  • What kind of meals do you enjoy eating? If it’s cold out, consider making soup or roasted veggies. You want to have food around that you actually want to eat! If you can, think about what foods are in season and use one or two of them as the base for your meal.
  • Spend a little time each week going through your recipes or searching new ones online or on social media. I recommend this website! Just keep in mind your cooking strengths and how much time you have for cooking!
  • If you’re lacking inspiration, consider theme nights! It could be Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Breakfast for Dinner, Pasta Night, leftovers… whatever you like. Sticking to a theme can make coming up with meals a lot simpler.
  • Check your pantry, freezer and refrigerator for inspiration. Is there some baby bok choy in the produce drawer just waiting to be used up? Great, then make a stir-fry. How about that can of black beans in the pantry and the chicken thighs in the freezer? Sounds like ingredients for Taco Tuesday!

Go Shopping (Saturday)!

Now that you know what you’re going to eat, make a list! Check your fridge and pantry to see what you already have, then make a list of anything else you need. That will also reduce the chance of impulse buying or wandering aimlessly around the market looking for some inspiration. Go through your spice and seasoning drawer to purchase or replace any old spices, except for salt and pepper (if your spices are over one year old, it’s time to replace them). Seasoned food just tastes better!

If you can, try to stop by your local farmers’ market. If you you’re pressed for time, make a one-stop trip to the grocery store. Shop in the morning to avoid busy grocery store lines in the afternoon and early evening.

Also, make sure to go through your cabinet full of containers to make sure you have enough food storage for the week. You might want to consider purchasing a new set of stackable containers.

Prep Time (Sunday)

Part of meal prep is deciding if you want to make everything for the whole week, prep some of the meals, or just chop up veggies and organize ingredients to be cooked fresh on the night you want a particular recipe. Many people like to get it all done on Sunday so all you need to do each night is microwave it. It will take a little more time out of your Sunday, but you’ll spend less time in the kitchen the rest of your week. Here are some prep tips!

Consider cooking double batches of recipes and freezing half, which you can then take out in a few weeks and reheat.
Sheet-pan meals are ideal if you want little to no clean-up. Just line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and load it up with veggies and a protein. Season and bake in the oven until done. When cool, load it into containers and recycle the foil. No clean-up!
One-pot meals are another great way to cook with little clean-up. Sauté your veggies in some heart-healthy oil, add brown rice or quinoa, your protein of choice, broth, and seasonings and then cover with a lid and simmer until done.
Use your slow-cooker to make soups, chili or stews. You can load up the slow-cooker in the morning before you leave and set it to cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. When you get home, all you have to do is serve. Make extra so leftovers can be enjoyed for days to come.

Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast: frittata (for Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and smoothie (Tuesday, Thursday)

Lunch: Leftovers from last night’s dinner for lunch. You can turn it into a sandwich, mix and match, or just eat it exactly the same as before!


  • Meatless Monday—vegetarian chili
  • Taco Tuesday—chicken, black beans, shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole/avocado and mini corn tortillas
  • Breakfast-for-Dinner Wednesday—scrambled eggs topped with salsa, toast and fruit
  • Crock-pot Thursday—simmer chicken thighs with 1 cup frozen organic corn, 1 can black beans, 1 container fresh salsa, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and broth. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, then shred chicken and mix everything together. Top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Pizza Friday—buy a store-bought whole grain crust or make your own crust and top with marinara or homemade pesto, parmesan cheese and whatever veggies you have on hand. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is crunchy.

Snacks (optional): prepare snack-size baggies with mixed nuts or make containers of chopped veggies and hummus. You could even bake your favorite banana bread recipe and cut it into single servings for dessert every night!

Once you get the hang of it, using your weekend to plan and prep your meals for the week will save you time, money and stress. That means more time to enjoy your meals, squeeze in that workout after work, or just relax with friends and family!

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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healthier super bowl snacks

The Super Bowl is almost here!

Whether or not you’re a football fan, you can still enjoy the opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy snacks! Lucky for me, I’m a HUGE Pats fan, so I’m really looking forward to the game… almost as much as I am excited for the Buffalo Cauliflower!

I’ve rounded up 10 Healthier Super Bowl Snacks for you to enjoy on game day.

The first few are from The Colorful Kitchen cookbook, and the rest are from some other tremendous bloggers!

1. BBQ Cauliflower Poppers from The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook

healthier super bowl snacks

2. Herbed Polenta Fries from The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook

healthier super bowl snacks

3. Creamy Baked Kale & Artichoke Dip from The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook

healthier super bowl snacks

4. Cauliflower Kimchi Mac n’ Cheese

healthier super bowl snacks

5. Taco Cornbread Casserole

healthier super bowl snacks

6. Thai Curry Jackfruit Tacos

healthier super bowl snacks

7. Smoky Baked Cashew Cheese

healthier super bowl snacks

8. Crockpot Chili with Cashew Sour Cream

healthier super bowl snacks

9. Cheesy Kale Nachos

healthier super bowl snacks

10. Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

healthier super bowl snacks

Will you be watching the game this weekend? Making or enjoying any snacks? Let us know in the comments below!

healthy travel snacks

The Holiday season is closing in, which means airplanes, long drives or perhaps even vacationing where the weather is warmer.

No matter where you’re going, you can’t escape the literally sugar-coated temptations that surround you at every rest stop and gas station. When you’re traveling, it’s easy to go overboard on the processed junk simply out of desperation.

Check out these tips to ward off unhealthy snacking, and to help you practice healthier habits!

  1. Rather than stopping at the gas station for food, head to the grocery store. The extra time it takes will be far worth it, especially since you won’t be left feeling bloated or tired like you would from candy or chips. Pick up carrots and hummus, nuts, fruit, or even a salad from the salad bar for a more nourishing option.
  2. Don’t ignore your hunger in the attempt to “save” your calories. You may be driving home to a big dinner, but if you don’t regulate your blood sugar during the drive, you’re far more likely to overeat when you finally do sit down to the table. Even an apple and a cheese stick mid-afternoon will help you enjoy your dinner without regret.
  3. Drink lots of water. Especially if you’re flying! It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday craziness and forget to drink, but water is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Not only will it help prevent your skin from drying out on the dry airplanes, it wards of unnecessary hunger, and may even help prevent jet lag. So don’t forget your reusable water bottle!

Options for travel-friendly perishable foods:

  • Vegetables like carrots and broccoli
  • Hard boiled eggs (pre peeled!)
  • Pre-cooked roasted sweet potatoes
  • Meats like shrimp, chicken or beef pre-cut into strips
  • Single serving packs of guacamole
  • Slices of cheeses
  • Pre-made salad (yes, you can get this through security with dressing on!)

Options for travel-friendly “no fridge” necessary foods:

  • Bars like RXBAR, Larabars, or Square Bars
  • Nuts and seeds (or pre-made trail mixes)
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruit (dried mango or apple chips)
  • Individual packets of almond butter or peanut butter
  • Tunafish (in a pouch, not a can!)
  • Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, avocados or oranges

No matter where you go this holiday season, bring along a few of your favorite healthy snacks. I promise, it’ll make the trip a lot easier!