Time for Meal Planning
So much of our challenges with healthy eating would be solved if we took the time for meal planning. When we don’t have a plan we let our emotions decide what we should eat, or we default to high fat, high sugar food because that’s what our bodies will default to for survival. But with proper planning, we can make wise choices that keep us eating healthily and the best part about it is that we don’t have to give it much thought. We simply eat what we planned.
Stick to the Plan
Unfortunately, most of us get completely overwhelmed with the thought of planning out an entire week of eating. We often don’t even know what we’ll be eating for our next meal, let alone 6 days from now. Secondly, many women often tell me that they rarely eat what they planned because they don’t feel like eating that particular food when the day arrives. To that, I would say, if you’re truly serious about wanting to release your excess weight, put your feelings aside and eat what you’ve prepared. The question will always come down to, “How bad do you want it?”
Meal Planning Do’s and Don’ts
With that “not so gracious but honest answer,” let’s look at some do’s and don’ts of meal planning:
- Commit to it! It may sound simple, but if you’ve never actually parked your behind in a chair with the intention of planning your meals, it might seem overwhelming, so the first step is to make up your mind and commit to the process.
- We get overwhelmed because we’re busy focusing on low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat options that leave us feeling like we have no choice. If something happens to be high fat, simply have less of it.
- Schedule a consistent day and time each week that you will plan, shop and prepare your meals. For example, I begin planning on Friday, shop on Saturday and cook on Sundays.
- Print out a weekly calendar and start by filling in the blanks with foods that you automatically eat (morning smoothie, taco Tuesday, etc)
- Brainstorm a list of foods that you enjoy. Break it into breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners, proteins, carbs, healthy fats, veggies and plug those in your calendar first.
- Take an inventory of what foods are currently in your freezer, or fridge that you can incorporate into your meals.
- Measure your food using zip lock bags, containers, spoons, or even the palm of your hand.
- Keep it simple. Select 1-2 meat varies and change it up. Ground beef can be used for chili, burritos, Sheppard’s pie, and a pasta dish.
- Don’t feel you have to be super-creative and come up with different meals everyday. Change it slightly from one night to the next.
Practical Meal Planning Makes It Simple
- Visit Pinterest for meal planning ideas.
- Start where you’re at. If the prospect of planning all your meals seems too overwhelming, start with just dinners.
- Try a meal kit company like Hello Fresh, Chef’s Plate, or Good Food
- Try meal prep apps such as Yummly or Mealime.
- Keep it simple by having theme days such as Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesday, or Soup on Saturdays.
- Invest in proper storage containers.
- Double, or triple batch recipes to save time and energy.
- Don’t be afraid to eat the same thing a few days in a row.
- Invest in a slow cooker, or Instapot so you can throw food in and go about your chores without having to constantly watch over your meal.
- Pair fresh salads with already prepared foods from the grocery store such as Rotisserie chicken.
Plan out your meals for an entire day. Start with dinner since that’s usually the most challenging. First, think of your choice of protein and a small starch, if any at all, then do your best to fill up your plate with vegetables. Also, plan what time you will be eating your meals.
1. What keeps you from meal planning? Is it intimidating, or overwhelming?
2. How do you think that meal planning would benefit your health?
3. What is one thing that you can do to move you closer to developing the discipline of planning your meals?
This blog was taken from my new book, “Healthy Eating, God’s Way.” To learn more about meal planning and healthy eating, pick up your copy today on Amazon using this link.
For Your Good Health!