There are many ways to transition to a healthier lifestyle or weight loss plan, and every strategy won’t work perfectly for every person. Having said that, meal planning is overwhelmingly successful for a large number of people, because it creates commitment and encourages follow-through. Plus, it’s just easier to plan in advance, when you’re already struggling with a packed schedule.
But not everyone finds meal planning to be as simple as it should be. If that sounds familiar, follow these five steps to streamline the process.
Take a look at your calendar. You might assume that all you need to do is plan for seven meals, and now you’ve accomplished a week’s worth of meal planning. But make sure to check your calendar first. Plan your simplest meals on the hectic nights, because you probably won’t feel like cooking a more complicated dish when you’re exhausted from a full day of activities. This is prime time for drive-through temptation, so circumvent that problem that by planning very simple meals on those nights.
Go ahead and prep. Extend your meal “planning” into meal “preparation”. Go ahead and chop veggies or mix salad dressings ahead of time, if you have a free afternoon. Now you won’t be rushed to complete those tasks on busier nights.
Check the sale ads. Some people say that transitioning to a healthier lifestyle or weight loss plan can be expensive. That doesn’t have to be the case, but you might find it easier to plan your meals around sales. Check your favorite store’s sale ads, and base your menu selections around that week’s specials.
Buy seasonal produce. Produce that is in-season is often cheaper, and might be more appealing to your taste buds. Plan your recipes around seasonal produce to take advantage of these benefits.
Back up your list. Writing a lengthy grocery list, then arriving at the store without it, is more common than you might think! Don’t try to recall all of those items from memory, or you will probably end up with a second, inconvenient grocery store trip later in the week. Take a picture of the list with your smartphone, or simply use a grocery or note-taking app to plan instead.
Naturally, meal planning is only part of your overall lifestyle change. If you need help crafting meals that fit into your weight loss plan, please call us to schedule an appointment. We’ll review your caloric and nutritional needs, and help you establish an eating strategy that helps you achieve your goals.