Thinking of what to eat or prepare daily can be stressful, especially when already juggling a very busy schedule that includes work, family, and social obligations. Often, people usually put together meals at the last minute or even eat out when there are no plans available. To make it easier, rest assured there’s a better way to feed yourself and your family and this is why meal planning is important. Whether you’re on a special diet or not, planning your meals ensures that you’re never left wondering what’s for dinner. Meal Planning 101: Why you need to plan your meals.
What Is Meal Planning?
Meal planning is simply building or putting together a menu to suit your nutritional or dietary needs. It can take the guesswork out of planning spontaneous meals daily, help you to stick to a budget, and help keep your nutrition goals on track.
Types of Meal Plans
As with everything, meal planning is not a “one size fits all kinda venture”. Meal planning is usually tailored to meet a certain goal or need. Some people follow a meal plan with a specific outcome in mind, such as;
- Meal plan to stick to a food budget or map out meals for an entire family
- Meal plan for kids and toddlers
- Meal Plan for Weight loss or weight Gain
- Meal Plan for cholesterol improvements
- Meal Plan so an athlete or fitness enthusiast may plan their meals to ensure that they get enough of the nutrients they need to perform.
- Meal Plan geared towards managing a specific health condition, such as type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar levels, or heart disease. These meal plans are often created with input from a registered dietitian or healthcare provider.
People who aren’t trying to manage a health condition will typically make their own meal plans by selecting healthy recipes that their families enjoy.
Benefits of Meal Planning & Why you should meal plan
There are many reasons to planning your meals in advance is important. Some of the benefits include;
- It removes the usual anxiety that comes with deciding what to eat for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner. It also takes away the stress of planning and cooking meals every day.
- it’s a really good way to get organized and have some sort of road map for the week. Simply having a rough guide can be enough to take some of the stress out of grocery shopping and preparing meals every week.
- It helps you stick to a specific budget. If you don’t have a plan in place, you may be more inclined to order shawarma on a busy evening, even if it’s not something you’re going to truly enjoy. But if you know you have a healthy and delicious meal waiting for you at home, that shawarma may sound less appealing.
- It helps you stick to your dietary goals whether you have a health condition, a fitness goal, or a family to feed. With a plan in place, you’re more likely to follow a healthy eating pattern. Eating healthier is beneficial for everyone, but it’s especially helpful for people who need to pay close attention to the foods they eat, like those with type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Having a meal plan can make healthy eating less overwhelming for these people.
- It helps you save money by cutting down on food waste. When you go to the grocery store or market without a plan, you just kind of buy whatever sounds good at the moment, but you have no idea what to do with it. Inevitably, that food will sit in your fridge or cupboard until you finally throw it out. But when you plan out your meals, you know what and how much food to buy, which leads to less food (and money) wasted. Meal Planning 101: Why you need to plan your meals.
How to Create a meal plan
Creating a meal plan is pretty simple. To do that, you’ll need tools like a sheet of paper, a digital planner (click here to learn how to start digital planning), or a planning Journal . To begin;
- You can start by doing some research to suit your dietary, nutritional, or economic needs.
- Make a list of the meals you want on your meal plan.
- Put these meals in a prepared Template
- Stick to the plan.
Want a free meal plan? Click Here & Scroll down to get the Free Meal Plan.
Tools for Meal Planning
To begin Meal planning, you don’t need to overhaul your kitchen. All you need are a few tools to help you stay organized;
- A Planner: What is meal planning without a planner? It could be a digital planner or If you prefer pen and paper, you could use a paperback Planning Journalinstead. Just fill in which meals you have planned for each day of the week and then write out what items you need in the shopping list section. The shopping list is usually perforated so you can tear it off and bring it with you to the grocery store.
- Food Storage Containers: You can get a variety of freezer and microwave-friendly containers to store your pre-planned meals.
- Labels & Stickers: When labeling the containers batch by batch and according to preparation dates, you might need to get good labels and stickers.
- A Meal Planning App: There are various types of meal planning apps to download. Simply search for one with a good rating and download it.