How many times were you on a healthy diet plan, but suddenly hunger pangs strike amidst a hectic day and you find yourself surrendering to fast food? We guess this has been happening a lot lately because you don’t have the energy or time to prepare a healthy meal, and you’ve been blaming your busy schedule for so long; but not anymore!
Believe it or not, “Meal Planning” is your only savior. When you have balanced meals prepared ahead of time and stocked in your fridge, you are more likely to stick to your healthy diet. We can’t deny that the idea of cooking in batches can be overwhelming or even time-consuming to some people. However, if you choose your recipes, schedule a grocery shopping day, and organize your prep times, meal planning can be a no-brainer!
What’s on the menu?
The first key step towards an effective meal planning is choosing your recipes. By doing so, you have to decide how many meals you are going to plan for. Are you going to plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or dinner is your only concern? While choosing the recipes, make sure they have common ingredients. For instance, chicken breast can be used with tacos one day, turned into chicken soup the next day, and then served with greens. The easiest way is to choose traditional recipes that you already cook frequently. You can also consider trying at least one new recipe per week with different spice blends for a change! In order to maintain weight loss, add high protein foods and foods with iron to your menu, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Ready for grocery shopping?
Now that you’ve picked your recipes, it is time for grocery shopping. However, check your pantry and fridge before heading to the supermarket as you might already have some of the ingredients.
Meal planning is a huge time-saver because it saves you from frequent visits to the grocery store. Consider going grocery shopping once per week and choose the day that works best for you. Keep in mind the shelf life of the ingredients as some food can’t maintain their quality for so long.
The hard part is finally over, and now everything is at your fingertips. Before dwelling on what to cook in the coming 7 days, check your calendar. Are you going to eat out any time during the week? Then plan a theme day! For example, Monday is for soups, Tuesday is for pasta, Wednesday is for salads, Thursday is for grain bowls, Friday is for homemade pizza, Saturday is for fish, and Sunday is for burgers! Of course, this depends on your busy schedule; if Thursday is your busy day, consider choosing a slow cooker recipe. Who said that you can’t eat the same meal multiple times in one week? You can prepare rice or grain in bulk and eat them many times during the week with different toppings and spices. Moreover, you can always make another dish out of the leftovers. After cooking in batches, make sure to store the food in a freezer bag or meal prep container to keep it fresh!
Can “Meal Planning” save your waistline?
Of course, it can! In case you are wondering why you aren’t losing weight despite your regular workout routine, consider adopting the meal planning strategy. Meal planning can help you keep those extra pounds off as it improves your nutrition intake, controls your calories, and ensures healthy eating. Preparing your meals in advance helps you control the ingredients that are nutrient-dense and associated with weight loss. Moreover, when you are “not in the mood” for cooking, you usually resort to fast food. However, if you already have prepped meals in your fridge, you will definitely settle for the closest option!
Weight loss occurs when you are in a calorie deficit, which means that you are burning more calories than you are consuming. However, counting how many calories you need to lose weight is not enough. It is highly recommended to consult a dietitian before embarking on meal planning to determine the appropriate calorie range you need to lose weight; especially since calorie intake varies according to height, weight, gender, age, and activity level.
Our personal trainers at My Coach and Powerhouse Gym believe that a constant workout routine along with balanced meal planning is the best combination for weight loss. Moreover, Diet House is always ready to save you on your busy days with its healthy and appetizing food. So, what are you waiting for? Give meal planning a try!