Meal Planning 101
Hello, my beautiful people!
I have a treat for you. Below are the 4 steps for successfull meal planning and the Meal Planning Worksheets for free!
My work hours vary anywhere between 60-80 hours (or more!) per week. Planning meals ahead of time is absolutely necessary for me to be healthy and stay at my ideal weight. If you work a ton or just have a lot going on, but still need to make your health a priority, then this is for you.
I want you to think SIMPLE. No calorie counting. Journaling your food intake or keeping track of it in an app is useful for identifying where you are getting stuck, but is not necessary. It is an additional tool.
I want you to think SUSTAINABLE. This is not a fad diet or super restrictive plan. This is a plan tailored to you, created by you.
Before I met my husband, him and the kids would have hamburger helper and those packaged noodle and rice sides with some kind of fried meat almost nightly. Over time, with some wifely coaching, he was able to come up with a “food protocol” and didn’t even realize it was happening. He was trying different healthy foods and kept eating the ones he liked. Now he eats healthy about 70% of the time. He no longer has high blood pressure and has way less heartburn.
So here we go…
Step 1: Food Protocol
Make a list of foods that you PLAN to eat and a list of ones you don’t. We know that refined carbs and sugar cause a spike in insulin. Remember that insulin is a storage hormone and causes you to gain weight. So decide if you are going to completely cut out the badness (yes!!!!) or if you are going to cut back on the badness.
Refined carbs vs. what’s better
White rice –> brown rice
Sugary cereals –> oatmeal
Pasta –> mashed potatoes
White potatoes –> sweet potatoes
Sugar –> NO sugar 🙂
Step 2: Weekly Meal Planning
Ideally on Sundays, or whatever day works best, carve out 1 hour to plan and 1 hour to grocery shop. Put this in your calendar ahead of time. While you are planning your meals for the week, add the time in your calendar for the next Sunday so that time is ALWAYS saved for meal planning. As you do it you will find it might not take a full hour for each, then cut it back to what works for you.
Write down what you are going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I intermittent fast (more to come on this), so I don’t eat breakfast. I only have black coffee, so that’s what I write down. I don’t snack, I drink water with lemon as my “snack” so I write that down. Use the foods from you protocol.
Step 3: Grocery List
After you plan your meals, write down everything you need by section in the grocery store. Produce, meat, seafood, dried goods, spices/herbs, dairy, paper products, and miscellaneous. Then give yourself that ONE hour only to shop.
Pro tip: you can have the groceries delivered or do curbside pick up. This is clutch for long work weeks.
Step 4: Recipe Collection
As you make healthy food combinations or recipes that you like, KEEP THEM. All in one place. Make a system and be consistent. Print them and put them in a binder with your worksheets. Keep them on a pinterest board. Write them on little index cards like Grandma. Consistency is key.
I didn’t get disciplined and achieve my ideal weight overnight. Let me tell you though, once I figured out this simple system it was easy to stick with it and I’ve been at my ideal weight for 18 months. Cut yourself some slack and keep trying.
Remember.. cutting out the refined carbs and sugar will give you the most bang for your buck.
If you want to dive deeper or need some help, I’d love to work with you one-on-one once I have a slot available. Click here, scroll to the bottom and enter your e-mail to get on the waiting list.