One of my constant struggles is meal planning. I'm just not very good at it. It's not that I'm a bad cook– I'm actually pretty good in the kitchen. I've just never established a system for cooking for a family, in a regular pattern. Stocking a pantry with essentials instead of random gourmet nonsense, for example. I tend to get bored of leftovers and eating the same stuff over and over, so I tend to wait until the last minute to decide what to make for dinner.
It's not the healthiest way to do things, especially with kids. Too often I'm making one thing for Bob and myself and a plainer, more kid-friendly version alongside it. We use way too much bread, way too much cheese. And instead of concentrating on mealtime as a happy family occasion, I'm rushing to get something ready and getting cranky in the process.
I thought it might be a good idea to try something new in 2013, so I signed up for an eMeals meal plan subscription. There are ten different styles to choose from, ranging from low carb and low fat options to gluten-free and vegetarian and simple gourmet. Not all of the plans are specifically tailored for weight loss but quite a few are. My family has been wanting to eat healthier and leaner, so I signed up for the Paleo Meal Plan, which focuses on meats and fresh produce, eschewing grains and processed ingredients.
Every week, I'll receive a meal plan via email that features seven dinner recipes, including entree and side dishes. What makes eMeals so cool is that along with the meal plan, you also receive an itemized grocery list that can be customized for sales at your local grocery store. You get more organized about shopping, cooking and feeding your family every week, while saving a little money and potentially losing a bit of weight in the process.
Obviously, the easiest way to lose weight is to watch your calorie intake. Here are some handy tools from eMeals to help you think about what your body actually needs versus what you're actually consuming.
One of the best motivators for weight loss is supposedly keeping track of every calorie you ingest. I've never been very good about doing this but there are tons of free online calorie trackers and apps to make it easier. I like the My Fitness Pal app on the iPhone because it will calculate the calories in your personal recipes based on ingredients, which makes it very convenient. You could also start with a simple chart like this one:
Use code newyear to save 15% on your eMeals subscription!
If you're a blogger and would like to try eMeals for yourself, apply for their Blogger Network. (Please mention Superdumb Supervillain in the "How Did You Hear About Us" field– I'll be eligible for a prize.)
In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and the WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that I received a a complimentary subscription to the eMeals Paleo plan. No compensation was provided for this post. All opinions are, as usual, entirely my own.