Maintaining a meal plan has many advantages, from saving both time and money to eating healthier, reducing food waste, cutting back on grocery store visits, and following a specific diet plan. All it requires is some planning.
However, if you’re having difficulty staying on track with your diet and wellness plans, these tips may help: 1. Keep a well-stocked pantry.
1. Keep a well-stocked pantry
Meal planning becomes much simpler when all the necessary ingredients are readily available. Running out of lemon for salad dressing or discovering you don’t have enough for stir fry can quickly derail any plan, so taking time to stock your pantry with shelf-stable staples that can easily be prepared regardless of your cooking skill level or budget is worth your while. Professional baker Vallery Lomas provides great advice for creating the ideal pantry.
Begin your next shopping expedition by inventorying what’s already in your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards. Don’t hesitate to discard items nearing their “sell by” or “best by” dates; these are not accurate; many foods–particularly canned goods–last for years when stored properly.
A well-stocked pantry should consist of basic grains (short and long-grain white rice, bulgur, freekeh etc), flours, beans and legumes, dried fruits, canned and frozen vegetables as well as some bottled condiments like olive oil, balsamic vinegar honey ketchup as well as herbs spices salt. You should also stock different kinds of pasta sauces long and tubular as some essential basics like tomatoes and tuna in olive oil may be consumed regularly enough that purchasing bulk quantities makes economic sense.
Once you know what ingredients you have available, select recipes that incorporate them. It may be beneficial to post your meal plans prominently in the kitchen such as on a chalkboard or whiteboard to help everyone stay informed and accountable for what’s for dinner – including yourself!
Keep your family’s eating habits and schedule in mind when planning for meals out, snacks and leftovers. Planning seven days worth of meals could waste both money and effort if they won’t all get used up; perhaps considering creating a weekly menu and then altering it as necessary might help to maximize efficiency.
2. Make meals ahead of time
Meal planning can save money, promote better eating and reduce food waste – but only if it’s actually adhered to. A great way to ensure success with meal planning is preparing and freezing meals ahead of time – taking away stress over daily dinner decisions while eliminating last minute trips to stores!
By planning and shopping for ingredients on the weekend, creating a meal plan, shopping for ingredients and cooking a few dishes you will make it easier to stick to your plans during the week. Plus it provides you with healthy options that you’ll use during the month! You may also find recipes easily scalable for different number of people; perfect for days where family may join for dinner!
One of the main factors causing people to deviate from their meal plans is difficulty in keeping up with daily cooking duties. To stay on track with your plan, look for recipes that can be prepared in bulk and frozen to give yourself options on busy nights; or those made from ingredients like chicken breast, zucchini, or berries that work together seamlessly.
Make one dish several days, leaving enough for leftovers on subsequent days, to reduce stress in meal prep. Add snack options into your plan for the week and shop accordingly.
Meal planning may initially seem overwhelming, but once you become used to it, it will quickly become part of your routine. With these helpful tips in mind, meal planning will soon become part of your regular life and contribute towards an easy and healthy diet!
3. Have a backup plan
Meal planning requires more than stocking your pantry with staples and prepping for dinner in advance; having an emergency meal backup plan is even more essential. These healthy, quick, and easy options can come in handy when unexpected meetings or playdates arise – they could even come in handy if unexpected guests drop by unexpectedly or your dinner plans fall through!
Establishing a meal-planning routine takes some practice, but there are a few tricks to help you become an expert planner!
First, determine how often you would like to meal plan. Most people find weekly planning is ideal; however, some find planning just once or twice every month works more effectively for them.
Once you’ve chosen your meal-planning style, begin by creating a day/meal chart. This typically involves creating a grid with each day of the week labelled, along with type of meals (leftover, crock-pot or fresh) across one axis and type across another axis. You can use either physical calendars or apps like Prepear for this step – Prepear allows users to easily create and print weekly meal lists!
Next, write down any ingredients in your fridge and freezer that need to be used quickly before they spoil, in order to reduce food waste while simultaneously keeping your grocery costs at a manageable level. Doing this can help avoid food waste while also keeping grocery costs affordable!
Have a lot of fresh ingredients on hand, you can use these to craft tasty backup meals. For instance, having chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes, eggs and basil on hand could make an amazing Chicken Caprese Quiche or Omelet!
Take a quick glance at your calendar to note any commitments that might impact the timing of dinner – like piano lessons or work events. This will give you a good sense of when to plan to arrive home that night, and help ensure a successful dining experience.
Once you have your meal and backup plans ready, sit down with your shopping list of groceries that need to be purchased – remembering to include snacks and convenience foods too!
4. Remind yourself why you’re doing it
If you find yourself tempted to deviate from your meal plan, remember why you first started it in the first place. Perhaps your goals included saving money or creating healthier meals while getting everyone together for at least one home-cooked meal each day – whatever they may be, sticking with your plan will help ensure all three goals are accomplished.
Staying motivated to reach your weight-loss goal can be challenging. Enlist the support of friends and family to keep you on your plan; they may provide new recipes or inspiration. Social media can even serve as an additional source of motivation; post photos of your finished meals on Instagram or set up video calls while cooking to stay on track without becoming sidetracked by distractions.
Meal planning can be a difficult process and takes some effort and dedication, but sticking to your meal plan should be just as essential to reaching your body composition goals as committing to an exercise routine. Establishing healthy eating habits is essential if you want to reach those body composition goals more quickly and with less stress. A workable meal plan system deserves as much thought and care as any exercise routine planner; having one will allow you to reach them faster!