For many, coming into the New Year is a great time to start new habits with the best intentions of a New Year resolution. This means that countless people will be looking for help about how to make and keep their resolutions. So, let’s kick start with eating healthy with meal planning.
The Many Benefits of Meal Planning.
- Variety in your meals. You do not have to think about what to eat when you are ready to cook and hungry. This can help vary your weekly recipes and flavors exciting your palette.
- A healthier diet. Planning meals gives you more control of what you put into your meals and home cooked meals are the healthiest way to fuel your body. Eating out does not need to be a sin either.
- Saves Time. At first you may feel it is overwhelming however after a little while you will spend less time thinking about what to buy and to eat and getting it done more quickly and efficiently. Making grocery lists for the needed ingredients saves you time in the grocery store and helps eliminate unnecessary purchasing.
- Limits food waste. When you create your meal plan and grocery list you will consciously make the effort to purchase the correct amount of food for each recipe helping eliminate food spoilage and over buying.
How do you create a meal plan?
Meal planning is relatively easy. Planning all your meals for the week ahead of time to help eat healthier and help eliminate those quick munchies of unhealthy bites will become your go to for meals. There are many ways to achieve a meal plan and here are some steps to get you going…
The 6 Steps to Success.
1. What style do you want to use for your meal plan? You can download some free meal plans from the internet if you need some help. Here’s a simple one to download. Free Weekly Meal Plan
You can plan your entire week and grocery shop for all of those ingredients cooking along the way. Yet some people cook all recipes and portion out all of their meals using individual containers so there is less cooking throughout the week. Choose what works for you. You can pre cook or not, and still have the meal plan be a success.
2. Your kitchen needs the right gadgets. If you do not have containers for storage or utensils to cook with you may struggle and be less successful. Fridge containers, mason jars and bags are a basic necessity as are knives and pots, pans and oven proof dishes for cooking.
3. Your pantry and fridge needs stocking. Stock your pantry and fridge with the basic ingredients in your recipes and remember to add some of your favorite herbs and spices. Your pantry has the master ingredients so check your recipe before you purchase more of the same. Keep within your diet restrictions if you have some. Add your Keto, Vegan or Gluten free recipes or add these just for fun and variety. Once you have an array of basic ingredients your meal planning and prep will come to life much easier.
4. Plan your meals and select your recipes. The most important step is to choose your recipes. Think about what healthy meals you’d really like to eat. Think about a week’s worth of meals and grab and go breakfasts if you have a morning schedule that leaves you with less time. Check your fridge for expiration dates and shelf life and incorporate those into your next plan.
5. Schedule your planning and grocery day. Find a day that helps keep you on track. And try to be consistent with these and cook making it a weekly routine that is easier to stick with.
6. Prep and cook. Set your day for the prepping and cooking of your meals. Relax and make it enjoyable and think of the rewards you will reap throughout the week.
Remember to vary your meals to include healthy greens, protein rich entrees and minimal unhealthy fats. You may need a couple of convenience one pot meals, such as a slow cooker or crockpot. Or you may want to cook enough to have leftovers for the next day. Follow your plan but be flexible as necessary. The longer you stick with it the more successful you will be.
Here are a few links to get you started on some recipes.