Meal planning your way to healthier eating habits
Meal planning is a really fantastic and yet simple tool to help you implement changes to your diet. Once you have a dietary action plan to follow, developing a weekly meal plan is a natural stepping stone to eating well, raising energy levels and ultimately feeling productive in your daily life.
Although it may feel like another thing to add to your to-do list, meal planning really will SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. In fact, if you are keen to create healthy eating habits, meal planning can help SIMPLIFY the process, setting you up for success to achieve your health goals.
Meal planning really helps you get organised, so healthy eating can become a natural part of your daily routine, without creating overwhelm.
Meal planning works in your favour, helping you make healthy food a priority, whilst allowing for some good old fashioned TREATS along the way. Yes, it’s important to plan those too!
Not only will it ensure you have a good balance of healthy foods in your cupboards, meal planning can help to minimise the anxiety of preparing new meals and changing up your diet. You will feel ORGANISED and PREPARED for the week ahead, making the whole experience of evolving your diet, that much easier and more enjoyable.
If you want to include more WHOLE-FOODS in your diet and cook more meals from scratch, meal planning really is your best friend. By planning your home-cooked meals in advance, you limit the number of processed foods you buy, including those impulse-buys. This can be a huge help with WEIGHT LOSS and WEIGHT MANAGEMENT, since YOU are in control of the food and what you are putting in your body. As I talked about in my last post, whole-foods can help boost your energy at breakfast, lunch and dinner and snack-times.
Getting organised for meal planning
Pick a day to be your menu planning day: I normally plan on a Sunday to start on a Monday, but it has varied during lockdown as shopping trips have been more limited. Just go with what's best for you.
Plan out your breakfast, lunch, dinner AND two snacks: Don’t forget those two snacks - normally one for morning and one for mid-afternoon. Snacks are just as important as your main meals and so important for sustaining your energy levels between meals. Having a planned snack can stop you from reaching for the biscuit tin and suffering a blood sugar surge, resulting in dips in mood and energy.
Start with recipes that you know: So you don’t feel OVERWHELMED. You can add to these little by little from cookbooks, recipes online or your social media faves. Or talk to me about a getting a bespoke set of recipes and meal plan tailored to your needs.
Focus more on meals you often skip or struggle to enjoy: Consider why you often skip them? Maybe you need to rethink what you eat or mix up your meal options. Perhaps you need to alter the time of this meal. Get creative and explore new recipe ideas.
Consider your lifestyle: Plan your meals around slow periods and more hectic evenings (yes, maybe those ZOOM calls!). There are nights where you may just want a quick healthy evening meal. Slow-cooker dishes, stews or a quick stir fry are great for these days. Maybe on a weekend though, you'd like a healthy 'fakeaway' option...so plan that in too.
Plan in your treats: Include some wonderful deserts in your meal plans. Pick your favourites and make it really special. Healthy living is about enjoying food and indulging from time to time.
A couple of tips:
Consider what you can ADD IN to your recipes to elevate the nutrient content. ADD 1 or 2 new vegetables and change them up each week. Eating a rainbow of different coloured fruit and vegetables throughout the week, should ensure you get a good mix of vital vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Cook once, eat twice: Plan to make double what you would normally make for dinner so you have leftovers for lunches (for adults as well as kids) and/or another dinner. You also have the option to freeze some of the leftovers to use the following week if you prefer.
If you are new to meal planning, it might be a bit daunting at first. Start by planning a few meals each week, maybe starting with dinners, and go from there. It will all make a difference.
I hope you have found these points helpful. I feel so much less stressed during the week when I meal plan. It's always reassuring when I know I’m ready for the week and have my meals all planned out. Taking 30 minutes to plan your meals will save you much more time and energy in the long run. Once you start implementing a weekly meal plan, you’ll notice you feel less stressed over the dinner-time rush and you may just have a better answer to the question “What’s for dinner?”
Need help with a meal plan?
My 2 and 3 month coaching packages both come with Meal Plans and recipe packs included. I’m also including a FREE 7 day meal plan & Set of recipes with my Nourish package, priced at just £89. But hurry this offer only lasts until the end of June!
Nourish gives you a thorough dietary assessment, a set of recommended action steps and a bespoke meal plan, ALL designed to help you achieve your health goals. All food preferences and dietary lifestyles can be accommodated - plant-based, gluten-free, vegan, low sugar, whole-food etc...In addition to the meal plan you get a set of recipes, shopping list and detailed meal preparation guide to help you put your plan into action.