Nutrition plays a large part in weight loss. In fact, many studies indicate it accounts for 80% of your success. Meal planning can feel intimidating, but it’s really simple once you get the hang of it. It doesn’t take that long, and it saves you money at the grocery store. Probably the biggest benefit is that you’re less tempted to indulge in unhealthy food when you’ve taken the time to plan and prepare food ahead of time. Keep reading to find out the 7 simple steps I follow when creating my own meal plans.
Here are a few simple tips that will make meal planning easier for you:
1) Print out a blank weekly meal planning worksheet.
If you don’t already have one you like to use, check out my free fitness journal download.
2) Start creating a master list of healthy meals to choose from.
You can find lots of great clean eating recipes online. You’ll refer to your list over and over again, so save it somewhere that is easy to access. I created a Clean Eating Board on Pinterest to keep them all organized and in one location. You can also check out all the clean eating recipes I’ve posted here on Sublime Reflection.
3) Using your calendar, cross out any meals you won’t need to make this week.
For example, Friday date night or a lunch out with a friend.
4) Start planning the easiest meals first.
For most, that will be breakfast and snacks. A lot of people usually eat the same thing for breakfast or switch between a few options. Fill in those slots first.
5) Next, plan for dinner.
Often you will have leftovers that you can use to put in some of the lunch slots. Plan to have leftovers at least one night during the week. Designate a night or two for vegetarian meals as well. Plan crockpot meals on days where you don’t have a lot of time.
6) Add leftovers into lunch slots.
Fill any empty days with simple things like soup, wraps, sandwiches, or salads.
7) Make a grocery list.
After you have your meals planned determine what ingredients you already have, and which ones you need. If possible, make your list according to the layout of the grocery store to save time while shopping.
Here’s what I have planned for dinner this week:
Several of the recipes this week came from Clean Eating Magazine. It’s always full of great ideas. I like it because a lot of their recipes focus on common ingredients that are simple to find.
How about you? Are you a meal planner? I’d love to hear any tips you’ve found that make planning easier. Share in the comments below.
Photo courtesy of Simon Cowden | Freedigitalphotos.net