If your weekends fly by full of good intentions but not a whole lot of productivity, these five things will change your life next week. You’ll need a grand total of about 2 hours, you can smack it all on Sunday, no sweat required and it will make next week run smoother than my forehead after a fresh round of Botox.
Whether you want to nix Monday-itis, crush next week, get a head start on your weight loss goals or simply avoid the ‘what the f*&k can I cook for dinner’ every damn night of the week next week – this one’s for you.
Evidence-based, scientifically proven, guinea-pig tested on our blended family of two working adults (with a total of NINE jobs between us), my two kids, his one kid and the merry-go-round of rotating houses, rosters and dietary preferences. It’s a right shit-show if we don’t get these things downnnnn on the weekend. Give it a bash and see how much easier next week goes. Life changing? You got it.
1. Chop, cook and pack your lunches
Lunches are where many of us go wrong. Vending machines, sandwiches, a quick Uber Eats to the office or worst of all, the invisible lunch (‘what? I didn’t have time to eat. I just had another coffee’ – sound familiar?) can all derail your healthy habits and mess up your body transformation progress.
If you’re chasing gains, you need to eat. If you’re chasing fat loss, you need to eat. If you want energy to survive everything you need to do today and remain vertical till bedtime – you need to eat.
Meal prepping your lunches takes no extra effort and will reap MASSIVE rewards all week long. Here’s what we do:
When you get the groceries home:
- Wash, peel, measure and chuck vegies on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. (We do chicken breast at the same time – cut into 150g servings x 5 serves on a baking tray.)
- Spray lightly with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add whatever seasoning you like. For us, it’s smoked paprika and cumin for the win. Cumin-roasted cauliflower is EVERYTHING.
- Roast in a pre-heated oven on 200C for 20 minutes.
- Cool, then portion into 5 containers for the fridge.
When it’s time for lunch:
- Grab your lunch pack of veggies and chicken and microwave for 2-3 minutes until piping hot.
- Add 20g rinsed, drained brown lentils or chickpeas for extra carb and fibre.
- Top with 50g cottage cheese or Chobani plain yoghurt (high protein, low fat), then drizzle on 10ml sweet chilli sauce, sriracha, Frank’s Hot Sauce or whatever your tastebuds like.
When you get home too late to cook dinner:
- Grab one of those lunch packs. Nuke it. Eat it. Thank god you sorted yourself on Sunday so that late-night Wednesday didn’t end with a large supreme pizza on the couch (written from personal experience – this is a win).
P.S. Sundays in the kitchen are one of my fave ways to relax. Music on, kids out, cooking for fun and not because the little monsters are demanding food. If you need some chilled tunes to accompany your culinary pursuits, we’ve got you covered – check out our Meal Prep Sunday playlist on Spotify.
2. Breakfast boxes for the win
We track all our food, so we know we’re hitting our macro targets each day.
Also, my kids are freaks who refuse to eat the same food as us. Or each other. So breakfast in our house involves 4 people, 3 different meals, multiple trips to the fridge and tripping over each other left and right. We make it work by cutting and measuring breakfast boxes in advance. No time spent weighing individual vegetables when you’re trying to get out the door – more time eating.
We eat the same kinda thing every day. Why?
Removing decision making removes the need for willpower.
If you’re not asking “What do I feel like for breakfast?” you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to talk yourself into honey toast, almond croissants or maple bacon. These breakfast boxes most often turn into either vegetable omelettes or stir-fry veg and scrambled eggs. And if you’re still on the toast-and-tea for breakfast regime that we all grew up with, chuck it out the window in favour of vitamins, minerals, fibre and no-bloat, no-craving, low carb fare.
Here’s what we chuck in our breakfast boxes:
- Grape tomatoes
- Baby spinach and/or kale
- Spring onions
Weigh everything, chuck it in 5 individual containers, keep it in your fridge and just slice and cook each morning. Add 2 eggs scrambled in a bowl (no milk or cream, you don’t need it if you cook it in a non-stick pan until just set) and you’ve got a killer breakfast. Ours delivers 15g protein, 6g carb, 12g fat and 2.5g fibre just from one breakfast bowl.
(While you’re at it, make up some smoothie bags (from our subscribers Free ebook): kale, cucumber, pineapple, green apple, mint, ginger in zip lock bags. Chuck ‘em in the freezer. In the morning, blend with 1 cup water, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp lime juice until smooth. Pour into a mason jar or bottle and drink throughout the day when you need a pick-me-up. Or have it as a breakfast on the go.)
3. Work out your workout kit – for the entire week
When you’re juggling school, work, life and trying to squeeze in training, you don’t need to be running around trying to find your favourite tights or the insert that came out of your sports bra (again) in the wash. If I had a dollar every time The Husband asked, ‘Honey, have you seen my straps?’ I would have my own tropical island.
Get ALL your training kit for the entire week sorted and lay it out somewhere easy to grab. We’re talking, plan the entire outfit day by day – sports bra, socks, shoes, any gear (lifting straps, gym card, resistance bands, goggles, running belt – whatever). Charge your ear buds and your phone. Fill your drink bottle.
This is all about get up and GO.
If you waste time trying to find your gym gear, you increase your chances of talking yourself out of it.
Get sorted on Sunday, five separate outfits, then don’t even give it another thought all week.
You’ll love this when you’re blindly foraging in the wardrobe before sunrise trying to find your training shirt without waking the kids or spouse. Your spouse will love it also. Believe me. The Husband is a swim coach. That means 4.30am starts. Plan your clothing in advance and save your marriage, friends.
4. For parents: Sort the school uniforms in a separate part of the kids’ wardrobes
We run two kids between two houses as a divorced-and-remarried kinda sitch. Which means they will inevitably need whichever school shirt is at the OTHER parent’s house. The daily stress of ‘have you got my white shirt?’ and ‘my sports shorts are in the wash’ can f*ck your day before you’re even out the door. Not to mention ‘I can’t find my socks’ and ‘I’ve only got one school shoe’.
We organise and hang every uniform (and variable) for every day in a separate part of the kids’ wardrobes (no chance of getting ‘lost’ in amongst everything else because these kids have domestic blindness). Doing it on Sunday means no aggro on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday . . . you get the drift.
The weeks we don’t do this are guaranteed the weeks we have to start work early, run a full load in the washing machine at 5am and have the wheels fall off the routine before 7am.
Bonus for the non-breeders: Shove something in the slow cooker you can eat for a week
No school uniforms to worry about? You lucky cat. Here’s a bonus round for you – shove something in the slow cooker on Sunday that you can eat five different ways.
Slow cookers are GOLD. No stress, no effort, no tinkering – and they deliver deliciousness 8-10 hours later. The very definition of set and forget.
We cook something we can transform into multiple other dishes so we don’t get bored, and we’re not cooking every single night. Think: chilli con carne, pulled chicken or our Slow Cooked BBQ Beef Brisket. This bad boy does double/triple duty in omelettes, burgers, on a pizza and with our Best Ever Brussels Sprouts. (And P.S. all you need for a quick dinner or lunch is your veggie box from Step 1 and a serving of leftover brisket. Yum.)
5. Plan one thing every day that will move the needle on your big 2020 goals – and write that sucker down
Whatever your big goal for 2020 is – lose 10kgs, buy a new house, change careers, meditate daily, break a world record or smash a PB – you have to get MOVING. Next Saturday is exactly FIVE MONTHS till Christmas. Yes, really. This is legit – COVID has derailed many of our plans this year and weekends seem to blend into each other, but the weeks are passing FAST and if you haven’t made progress on your big-ass goals, the time is NOW.
For The Husband and me, there is so much to do on our big To Do list that it can seem overwhelming. So instead of trying to tackle it all and achieving nothing, pick ONE task each day that will move the needle the most on your big 2020 goal. For us, it was about getting this website live, planning a content calendar, writing X blog posts – specific tasks that achieve progress. Then I write it down on my weekly planner – ONE task per day. Don’t be super-ambitious that you’ll achieve more than that. Hell, most days just getting to that one thing is a mission. But rather than failing at 3, it’s easier to block out time to do 1. And so satisfying to tick it off the list.
We use Asana to keep track of our tasks and deadlines. But whatever works for you – family calendar, scrap of paper, Notes in your phone or Google calendar. Just write five tasks down on Sunday, commit to achieving them each day during the week, and see how good you feel come next weekend. Just in time to do it all again!