1. Utilize the weekend. Look at your schedule and think about the upcoming week. Will you be traveling any days? Will you go out for lunch or bring it to work? Dinner plans with family or friends? What meals do you need to make? What snacks do you want? What do you want for breakfast?
2. Survey the kitchen. Look at what is in your refrigerator and cabinets so you know what you have on hand and what staples you are out of. Look at websites and cookbooks and plan out what you want to make for the week; Cooking Light is a great resource. Think about foods that can be used twice (for example, can you use the quinoa for dinner Tuesday night and also have for lunch Wednesday?) Look for crock pot and freezer recipes; these are so easy. Don't make it difficult on yourself! If you see recipes you like but may not be making this week, print them out and keep them in a folder in the kitchen to refer to at another time. Have a chalkboard or notebook handy where you write your meals and snacks out for the week. Also, add to this when you are out of a staple item to remind yourself the next week to shop for it. A visual is very helpful and helps keep you organized.
3. Shop off your list. Divide your grocery list into where you would find it in the store to make it easier for yourself. Go to a few places if necessary to get exactly what you need. Think about your budget and be realistic with how much time you have to shop. Have a high protein snack before you shop; often when we shop hungry we impulse buy unhealthy foods. While shopping, shop only off your list. Don't be swayed by deals, specials, samples or something that just "looks good."
4. Prep your Food. Come home and prep your food immediately. Wash and cut vegetables and fruit and put in small ziploc bags. (If you don't think you will do this, it's so much better to buy pre-cut produce. The extra money is worth it if you know yourself and you won't actually cut a whole head of cauliflower or peel and cut mangoes, etc.). Cook your proteins. Make side dishes. Make entrees and freeze them for later in the week. Take the large container of almonds and divvy into smaller bags. The more you do today the easier it will be on a weekday when you are much busier.
5. Congratulate yourself! Great work on being organized and planning for the week ahead. You will most likely save money and eat healthier. It's a win-win!