Let’s talk meal planning. There are some impressive strategies to ensure that you have the fuel you need during the day. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Our food consumption affects our health just as much as, if not more than, exercise. You cannot out exercise a bad diet. That’s the truth, Ruth.
Before we dive into meal planning, let’s differentiate it from meal prep. Meal prep has been all the rage for the past few years. It’s a weekly effort to ensure that you have meal prepared ahead of time. Chefs and personal trainers lay claim to meal prepping, and it’s caught on. People usually meal prep lunches, and sometimes batch prepare dinners, usually on Sundays. But, let’s take our knowledge a step further and get into meal planning.
Meal planning is truly a vital precursor to meal prep. Meal planning means you have planned ahead to know what vital nutrients you need. You take time to write down and ensure that you’re eating you macros – the big good food groups – and micros – the vitamins – in your daily meals that you have prepared.
So what is involved in meal planning? You take about 30 minutes to decide what you want to eat for the MONTH. Then, write it down on a calendar or in your handheld device. The TLW medical power planner has special meal planning pages. Talk about a time saver! No more daily decision-making about what’s for dinner. These small decisions every day can add up and actually create stress in our lives.
Strategies to effectively develop your monthly meal plan include choosing specific days for designated meals or types of meals. For example, Sundays are for cooking fun and innovate meals or new recipes. Mondays and Wednesdays are for leftovers, Tuesdays are for chicken, Thursdays are a slow cooked meal, and Friday is a healthy carryout purchase. Plan out some fun Saturday breakfasts when you have more time to cook. Weekday breakfasts are something that can be bagged on the go like wraps, healthy breakfast tacos, or smoothies. Lean on apps like Epicurious for recipe ideas that align with your food preferences and restrictions.
All meals are prepared in large enough quantities to double as lunch the following day. It’s less about doing it all on Sunday, and more about knowing what you’re doing ahead of time so you can avoid snack attacks. Some of us don’t really want to eat the same thing all week, and prefer to cook more often.
When you meal plan, you’re also cutting commute time instead of having to drive to get food all the time. Plus, you’re saving money by avoiding fast food. You can pocket an extra $50 weekly easily with the meal planning approach. This is totally a win. It takes preparation, but once you have the 30 days all written out, you are home free for the month. Give it a try.