Looking back to when I started THM over 6 years ago, I feel like I over complicated it a lot. The thing that has helped me the most in being able to follow this amazing plan, other than getting to have chocolate everyday, has been to simplify, simplify, simplify!! I’ve found that a lot of people over complicate THM and then just throw in the towel. The truth is, you can make this plan as easy or as complicated as you want. As a coach, I have been focusing on this concept with my clients this month because whether you’re a newbie to the plan or an experienced THM’er, what better time to simplify the plan than in the summer?

Here are my top 6 tips to simplify THM so you’re more likely to stick with it and be successful:

1. Don’t feel like you need to set aside several hours each week to prep. For some people who are very organized, this works, which is great! For the majority of us, it is really hard to find the time. But we can all find pockets of time to prep ahead. My family usually has Italian dishes on Mondays, so when I’m making Monday’s dinner I make a huge salad, enough for dinner that night and to eat on for the rest of the week. I also like to make a batch of quinoa and sweet potatoes Monday morning to have on hand for the week. When I make French toast, I will make extra of the milk-and-egg mixture to use for the rest of the week. When washing berries, I just wash all of the berries at once so they’ll be ready to go. I use another afternoon to make some quick and easy desserts to have on hand for the week. I have a sweet tooth, so I love that we can have sweets on THM. (Did anyone say chocolate?) I also know that when I don’t have them on hand, I am more tempted to cheat. Whichever meal you have the hardest time with, make that your priority for prepping ahead. If it’s breakfast, then make a big pan of baked pancakes to eat throughout the week. If it’s lunch, then focus on prepping that. Take 5 minutes the night before to plan what you’re eating for the next day. Even if your plan changes, at least you’ll have some kind of plan in place.

2. Utilize convenient healthy foods. I am a drive-thru-Sue at heart, mostly because I have 5 kids and I have to do things quickly or they don’t ever get done. One of my favorite healthy convenience foods is pre-washed spinach from Costco. I still give it a little rinse, but knowing I don’t have to thoroughly wash it is a time saver. I also love frozen riced cauliflower, the seasonings blend with pre-cut frozen peppers and onions to throw in an omelette or a stir fry, frozen veggies I can steam in the micro for about 7 minutes and they’re ready to go, frozen berries to throw in smoothies or to make sorbet, and on-plan store-bought bread so I don’t have to make my own for French toast or sandwiches. Remember, store-bought bread needs to be sprouted or sourdough to be on plan. My favorite easy fruits are clementines and apples that I can just grab and go. My favorite easy veggies are sweet bell peppers and pre-cut/washed celery and carrots. I also love the “Joseph’s” brand products–they are a lifesaver to me, and I love using them to make on-plan chips and pizza. If you can’t find them, low-carb tortillas are great too. String cheese, babybell cheese, 100-calorie nut packs, triple 000 yogurt cups, true lemon drink packets, and 85% dark chocolate are all yummy, on-plan convenience foods.

3. Write out your go-to snack and easy meal lists to put on your fridge for when you’re “hangry” and can’t think straight. This is a lifesaver during snack and meal time. If you like to eat the same few snacks, that’s okay. Do what you like and what works for you! Don’t feel like you have to be changing up your snacks every single day. It’s good to have variety and to change up your fuels, of course, but if you have go-to snacks, there is nothing wrong with eating them frequently throughout the week. The same goes for meals. I alternate between similar breakfasts and lunches because I love them and they work for me. I don’t like to have to think too hard about either of these meals. Some of my go to’s are cheesy eggs and French toast for breakfast and quinoa bowls and leftovers for lunches.

4. Make a master grocery shopping list for the stores you frequent. I have a master list for Costco and Walmart because that’s where I mostly grocery shop. Make sure you have THM staples on hand so you can make a healthy meal anytime, and then when you meal plan, add the few items you need to your grocery list. Try grocery shopping once a week at the most to save on time and money.

5. Don’t make meals you know your family won’t like. Speaking of saving yourself time and money (and heartache), if kale isn’t your thing, then don’t force it. THM-ify or health-ify meals your family already loves to eat. If you don’t know how, just ask an admin to chime in on any of the THM FB pages or reach out to a coach. I’m happy to answer any questions. 🙂 Go through the cookbooks and pick out meals that sound good to your family. Set aside however much time you have each week to write down recipes that sound good to you. Once the time is over, just stop. Then do it again the next week. Don’t feel like you have to go through all of the cookbooks in one sitting; that would be overwhelming. If you make this a habit, before you know it you’ll have plenty of recipes to choose from.

6. Create daily themes to make meal planning a cinch and not get too overwhelmed by all the recipes available to you. I’ve been doing this for several years now, and it has saved me a lot of time. If you’d like to learn how I do it and what my themes are, sign up for my weekly newsletter and I will send you my free meal planning guide! Like I mentioned earlier, we do Italian dishes on Mondays. Instead of having thousands of recipes to choose from, I only have to choose from the handful of Italian dishes I know my family loves. I can plan my meals in under 10 minutes. If we are trying a new recipe, I have my family rate the dish. If the average is 7 or above, we keep it in our meal rotation. If not, we don’t make it again or I just make it for my hubby and me. For breakfasts and lunches, I keep it super simple. I allow myself flexibility, but when I have a plan in place, not only is it easier to meal plan and save money, we also eat more of a variety of meals and I don’t get caught during the bewitching hour before meal time where everyone is hangry and tired, including me, without a plan! It takes less time and far less money to make a healthy meal for your family vs. going through the drive thru. Like I said, I’m a drive-thru-Sue at heart, but that doesn’t mean I go through the drive thru very often. It simply means I like to make quick and easy meals. I make my families’ meals in under 30 minutes every night because honestly, who wants to spend forever in the kitchen?

How do you simplify THM? Leave your tips and suggestions in the comments.

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