You’re trying to eat healthier but your busy schedule keeps getting in the way.
Meal planning is intended to save time in the kitchen and make eating healthy easier.
Less than an hour of planning each week can make all the difference for success in sticking to your healthy nutrition goals.
When you have a plan, it is much less likely that you will succumb to the fast food vortex. With the added bonus that you’ll be able to keep the hairs on the back of your neck where they belong when you hear the dreaded question “What’s for dinner?”
Here are the steps to meal planning (and healthy eating) success:
Step 1: Grab a pen and paper and write the days of the week down the left side and the meals you want to plan across the top; Add 2 columns on the right side; one labeled “already have” and the other labeled “need”.
Step 2: On your graph, sketch out some notes depending upon your weekly schedule i.e. “quick meal before meeting”, “date night”, “family dinner”, “lunch meeting”, “packed lunch”, “snack on the go” etc.
Step 3: Write down the details for each meal (main & sides) you have decided to plan keeping in mind the notes you have already made in step 2. Make your selection based on what you’re in the mood for, your available preparation time, family favorites, what’s on sale and what’s available.
Step 4: The key to healthy nutrition is including appropriate portion sizes of protein, “smart” carbs, vegetables and healthy fats in each meal. Check each meal to be sure no components are missing and determine appropriate portion sizes for each family member.
Step 5: In the last 2 columns make a note of the meal ingredients you already have and which ones you need to purchase.
Step 6: Create a shopping list based on the last “need” column in your completed graph.
You can start by planning just one meal, a few meals, a few days or a full week worth of meals.
Don’t get overwhelmed.
For success you need to be sure that the process is manageable for your current situation and mind set. Start with whatever feels right for you.
This process takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become.