5 Sunday Cooking Habits to Prep for an Awesome (Healthier!) Week 

Fact: A little planning goes a long way when it comes to keeping your healthy-eating game strong throughout the week. Below, five simple habits to pick up to prep for an awesome, healthier, less money-hemorrhaging week. Try one — or if you’re feeling ambitiious, try ‘em all! – this weekend.

1. Make a grocery list — but first, plan your meals.
Confession: I love grocery shopping (the samples! The obscure product finds! LITERALLY EVERYTHING!) — but I am really bad at it. Like Lana Del Rey’s disastrous SNL performance-level bad. And it all comes down to the fact that I never, ever stick to my grocery list. Straying from my lists leads me to get home with a fridge full of groceries — gochujang! Locally fermented saurkraut! Veggie breakfast sausage! — and no idea how on earth I could possibly put those ingredients together. Somewhere throughout the week — Every. Single. Week. — I give up and resort to Sweetgreen for dinner instead. (My wallet does not approve.)

But recently, instead of making a — let’s call it what it is — useless list of random ingredients that I think I might like to put in my face that week, I’ve started planning out each and every meal for the week before I make my grocery list. Not only does this force me to stick to my list when I hit Whole Foods, but it also makes it super easy to identify which ingredients on my list can be used for more than one dish, which dinners will make great leftovers for work lunches, and which days I will actually treat myself to a lunch or dinner out. All of this results in me being healthier throughout the week (because I never met a Sweetgreen salad that I didn’t want extra bread with) and saving money. #Winning

2. Decide when you’re going to treat yourself. 
Sure, cooking at home saves money and is generally healthier, since you know just how much of this and that is going into your food. (My boyfriend is a chef and from him I’ve learned the mystery ingredient that makes all restaurant meals taste better than they would if you’d made them at home. Spoiler: It’s butter — and lots of it.) But still, it’s nice to treat yourself to a meal that you didn’t make every once in a while. Plus, I find that when I have something to look forward to — like, say, a warm, gooey slice of pizza from Pizza Brain or a salad smothered in Spicy Cashew dressing from Sweetgreen — I’m happier to eat my make-ahead quinoa salad in the moment. It’s like having a vacation to look forward to while answering email after email after email at your work desk, you know?

3. Roast a bunch of vegetables.
Nothing screams “I am a responsible adult!!!” quite like spending your Sundays roasting vegetables instead of spending your Sundays drowning the soon-to-come Monday blues in a vat of mimosas. And this super-responsible easy weekly habit pays off big time. In about 35 minutes, you get a week’s worth of salad toppings, grain bowl add-ins, and emergency snacks.

And all with VERY little effort, because, once the slicing and dicing is done, roasting vegetables is hella easy. Like if a seven-month-old could reach the oven dial, they could honestly do it. (If you need instructions, find ‘em here.)

4. Pick a grain you love and make a big batch of it. 
The reasoning here is simple: If you have a big batch of grains (my go-to is quinoa — call me #basic) and roasted vegetables on deck, you have the fixings for healthy meal hanging out in your fridge at all times. So even if you don’t plan your meals ahead of time, you still always have the components of a thoughtless meal — that won’t set back your healthy-eating goals — in your fridge. Because let’s face it: After all a long day, who really has the mental capacity to think about dinner? When I get home, I just want to think about whether Grey’s Anatomy is actually still good, or if I’m just loyal, you know?

5. Don’t forget about breakfast. 
The amount of money I’ve spent on muffins (chocolate chip muffins, at that) at La Colombe is shameful. Don’t be like me. Plan to have some breakfasts that are easy to grab and go in your fridge. Prepping a bunch of overnight oats — which are super versatile — for the week is a good place to start.

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: