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3 Steps To Easy Meal Planning For Busy People (With A Quick Recipe!)

3 Steps To Easy Meal Planning For Busy People (With A Quick Recipe!)

When you’re ready for a meal, there’s a lot of “other stuff” in the way – like hunger, temptation, and being tired, which leads you to eat fast and unhealthy.

If you set up your week before you’re in the moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re tired or hungry – you will still make a good decision because the easiest option is already prepared and ready.

Meal planning can sound like it takes a lot of time and maintenance. Some meal planning strategies have so many steps that you could spend hours just planning your meal planning! And most likely, you’ll just never do it.

Here’s an easy 3-step guide to meal planning that you’ll actually be able to do!

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1. Make two sides during the weekend

Make easy sides like bean, lentil, healthy carb or vegetable dishes. They can be refrigerated for most of the week. You can pull them out every evening for dinner and pack for lunch the next day.

Choosing sides with flavors and spices (does not have to be spicy) will make you want to eat it. Spices and flavors really work themselves into the dish more over time, so they taste even better each day! A spice blend that works for almost anything is 1 teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper.

I share a recipe below for an easy side that is quick to make and you can easily take on the go below, my “No-Cook 3-bean Salad.”

2. Store food in glass containers

Glass helps food keep its freshness for longer (I tested this myself) and they’re safer for your food. Each side can be stored for at least 4 days in a glass container.

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Buy different sizes to store at home and take to work. You can also buy plastic containers to transport to work because they’re lighter. However, plastic containers do not keep food as long and are not safe for longer-term storage due to the material of the plastic. It’s better to use plastic just to take to work and discard after a few uses.

Here are my favorite glass containers: Kinetic Go Green Glasslock Series (I have the 64, 37 and 17 oz. sizes for my family of four).

3. During the week make an easy protein

Preferably use white meat or eggs, such as grilled chicken, fish, or an omelet. You can also have a whey protein shake or tofu, which are both great sources of vegetarian protein.

Pair this protein with the sides you already prepared, and it will be delicious and easy! Make extra so you can take it to work the next day. To further save time during the week, you could also marinate and/or prepare your protein portion on the weekends.

Imagine if you came home from work to Cumin Coriander Fish and No-Cook 3- Bean Salad already prepared! How much easier would it be for you to lose weight or just eat better? Do you see how you would be setting yourself up for more energy + weight-loss?

Your mouth will be watering at lunch time and you won’t even be tempted to go get a sloppy burrito from that taco truck around the corner.

If there’s one thing you can do to get the most bang to buck ratio – it’s to think ahead for the week. Check out my easy side dish below which you can make ahead of time – it’s packed with protein, healthy carbs and it’s super fast to make! Plus, it’s easy to transport to work and when you’re on the go.

No-Cook 3-Bean Salad

Prep Time 15 Minutes

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 whole tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional, only if you prefer heat)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

Dressing

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except spinach and dressing ingredients.
  2. Add dressing ingredients to a separate small bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour over beans and mix. Add baby spinach and enjoy!

Check out my website for my free “Weight-loss Recipes Handbook for Ambitious Women” which includes the Cumin Coriander Fish recipe that goes so well with this 3-Bean Salad!

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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