You would create a daily or weekly to-do list to help you stay on track for the week, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your meals?
Meal planning can not only help you stay on track while trying to eat healthy, but it can help you save time and money in the kitchen.
You’ll no longer wonder what you’ll be eating tonight, run out of food, or fall victim to a drive-thru window again!
Here are my tips for healthy eating meal planning.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
This method is perfect for those of you on a tight schedule!
If you haven’t heard of the “Cook Once, Eat Twice” method, I’m going to break it down for you! Instead of making one meal each night, you make twice as much when you do cook so you can enjoy it later in the week or freeze it for later.
Leftovers can make it easy to eat healthy when you’re short on time.
Yes, this is one of my favorite methods of cooking. In fact, I do “Cook Once, Eat Three Times”! I buy a couple of large packs of chicken legs from Sam’s Club. I make one pan of BBQ sauce chicken legs, one pan of Italian Dressing Legs, and one pan of ranch legs. I use one pan for dinner that night and freeze the other two pans. It’s so stinking easy!
Use Leftovers For Lunch
Leftovers are a cheap and easy way to ensure that you stick with your healthy meal plan beyond dinnertime.
When planning your dinners, plan to make more than you know you’ll eat to make sure you have leftovers to each for lunch for the next day.
You won’t be tempted to grab something while you’re out running errands, and you can save the cooking and preparation for dinner.
Choose Meals That Get You Excited
If your meal plan is full of food you don’t really like, you are setting yourself up to fail before you’ve even made a single dish!
There are so many unique and healthy options out there, so you should never force yourself to eat something that you won’t love.
When creating your meal plan, be sure to include meals that make you excited to cook dinner.
Do you know how many taco and Mexican recipes there are out there?!! You could pick a different one every night of the week for a MONTH and still never finish them all! (And yes, our family loves spicy Mexican food so I’ve looked for all kinds of fun Mexican meals to make throughout the week!)
Prep Your Meals On The Weekend
Healthy meals can sometimes be challenging to stick to.
If you’re rushed, carving out the time to chop up vegetables, cook your meat ahead of time, and prepare pieces of your meals can make sticking to your meal plan a breeze!
Weekends are when we have the freest time, but if another day works best for you then choose that day.
Map Out Your Game Plan
When meal planning, it’s crucial to look at your schedule before setting up your meal plan schedule.
You need to know which nights you’ll be busy, working late, or out for most of the day.
While eating out may not be encouraged, some nights it may need to happen.
If there is no time to stop at home for a quick bite, or you can’t bring food with you, eating out is still an option.
Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to make smart and healthy choices when it comes to your restaurant choice, even if you are eating out.
One of the biggest downfalls of healthy meal planning is that most people don’t know what they should eat!
Start by making a list of your favorite healthy recipes. This can include snacks, breakfast, or anything else you make that falls into this category.
Once you’ve exhausted this list, start looking through Pinterest and food blogs for healthy meal ideas. Look for recipes that include foods you will enjoy, and that aren’t too complicated.
Here are some of my favorites to get you started:
Keep Your Fridge, Freezer, And Pantry Organized
You can have the best meal plan on earth, but if you can’t quickly figure out what you have, your meal plan is going to fail!
One of the main causes of food waste is not knowing what you have!
A messy fridge, freezer, or pantry can make it difficult to find the things you need, making it more stressful and difficult to stick with your meal plan.
Keep Staples On Hand
Having staples on hand will not only save you from meal planning mistakes, but it also helps make it easy to plan meals for the week.
You can use these staples to start brainstorming what you might make each week, and you’ll be able to buy these items at their rock bottom prices!
Don’t Buy Processed, Pre-Packaged Meals.
While these can be great go-to to keep you out of the drive-thru, if you are trying to eat healthier these are going to be your downfall!
Having quick access to all the foods you are trying to stay away from can lead to failure and your meal plan will be useless.
Don’t Forget Breakfast And Snacks
If healthy meal planning doesn’t come naturally to you, then you need to make sure you have a plan for every meal of the day.
While lunch and dinner may be natural to plan for, we usually forget all about breakfast and snacks in our meal plans.
Make sure to include these items in your meal plan to make sure you have all the necessary foods on hand to keep you eating healthy all week long.
Meal planning can still be done even when you’re eating healthy.
With these tips, you’ll be on your way to healthier meal plans in no time at all!
YOUR TURN: Do you think about creating a healthy meal instead of what you really want to eat? Let me know in the comments below!
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