What's for dinner?

It's such a loaded question, especially if you're trying to improve your eating habits. At the end of a long day, the last thing I want to think about is pulling a meal together.

I'm not alone.

Last week, I sent out an email asking about your biggest challenge. Many of you said meal planning or prepping is a major struggle.

For years, I saw articles and viral posts about meal prepping. I tried to read them and would just feel overwhelmed.

In my case, when I don't have some sort of plan, that's when I resort to convenience food or going out. There's nothing wrong with that once in a while. But, it became my go-to dining option and it did me no favors.

This week, I want to give you a few places to start when it comes to making mealtime a little easier based on some of the issues sent to me via email.

I want to say the outpouring of emails from you and your willingness to share your struggles with me. Please know I intend to answer every email as soon as possible and I will be adding lots of content to my blog and the newsletter to help meet your needs! You're going to keep me busy!

Ready to bring a little joy back to cooking? Remember, it's #JoyfulJuly! Let's do this!
Meal Prepping vs. Meal Planning
First, let's look at the difference between meal planning and meal prepping. They are tied together but are different ideas.

Meal planning is taking time to sit down and come up with meal ideas ahead of time.

Meal prepping is typically taking one day out of the week to cook meals or ingredients in bulk to eat later in the week.

Full disclosure: I lean heavily into the meal planning camp and dip my toe in the meal-prepping ocean.

This week, I'm going to talk mostly about meal planning. One day I may get organized enough to set aside a couple of hours on the weekend to cook, but I haven't hit that level of nirvana. If you're looking for expertise on how to do this, check out health coach and weight-loss veteran Amanda Valentine! Every week on IG, she does #MealPrepSunday live and it's pretty amazing.

When I started meal planning, I only jotted down dinner ideas for a couple of days a week and tried to keep it flexible, because schedules are busy and no one is perfect! I'd pencil in a few meals during the week but if it had to switch up, no problem. I keep the meals easy most of the time.

You can see a photo of a sample meal plan that I created above.

If you haven't tried meal planning, how about sitting down this weekend and picking out three meals and making sure you have what you need to get them on the table?

Need some inspiration for new and easy recipes? Check out these--some are mine and some are from some of my favorite sites!

Would some sort of meal planning guide or menu be helpful for you? Let me know what you think! Drop me an email or leave me a comment on the Facebook page!

Don't forget about #JoyfulJuly!

Have a favorite song that gets you in a good mood? A great book that puts a smile on your face? Share something that brings you joy on the Lighter Side's Facebook Page! We all could use some joyful inspiration!
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See you next Friday!

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