Meal Planning is a trend that is here to stay. With the new year upon us, we are too busy handling meetings, keeping up with robust social schedules, and playing catch up with too many things. This leaves us exhausted to care much about our meals. This is one of the reasons we often times find ourselves at the nearest fast-food joint binge eating on kebabs and chips. Not how you planned to start the year, especially after making that health and fitness resolution.
One of the benefits of meal planning is the position it places you at. Planning your meals affords you a sense of accountability, enabling you to stay true to your healthy eating goals, without the added negative excuses. Additionally, meal planning saves you a bunch of time. Planning your meals before the start of every week makes your daily routine simple, and without the added stress of figuring out what your next meal will be. You will be much more calm and focused knowing that all your food decisions have been met.
The benefits of meal planning are abundant, and with such an array of perks, I came up with these three steps that will guide you into the groove of meal planning.
Before starting anything, it is always crucial to ask yourselves a bunch of questions that help you come to a practical conclusion. Before meal planning, it is essential to always ask yourself these two questions:
- How many meals do you need?
This is a self-evaluating process. Everyone is different when it comes to the number of meals they consume a day. By figuring out how many meals you need, you then need to do a quick inventory to realize how many meals you will need for the coming week.
- How much time do you need to cook?
Busy schedules are the reason you have sought out a meal plan. Cooking before the start of every week is the most practical time to meal plan. For those who are still working around busy schedules, investing in a slow cooker is highly beneficial.
Pick and schedule your dishes. Taking into account all you have planned, choose dishes that suit your schedule. Keeping meals simple is always a plus, but if you have extra time for an elaborate dish, go for it! One of the main things to take into consideration when choosing meals, is the shelf-life. Be sure to schedule you meals in such a way that your meals don’t turn bad before the end of the week. Make use of a calendar to assist in keeping track of your meals. You can print it out and hang it in plain view in your kitchen. A visual representation of your meal plan is a great way of keeping you on track with your health goals.
The grocery list comes next. Once you have your meals down, take a quick inventory of what you have in stock, and list down all that you will need. This is a crucial step as it also helps you budget your meals to know how much you will need, and where you can save.
Start meal prepping and cooking! One of the things I always try to do is to switch up my meal plan by incorporating new meal ideas, and try out new healthy recipes. Sticking to one plan can becoming boring, once you get the hang of meal planning, play around with new recipes.