Everyone knows that they should eat right to maintain their health. Yet, most would agree its not the easiest thing in the world to do. For starters, temptations like fast food, sugary treats, and salty snacks are easily accessible and quite pleasurable to eat. Other issues include not knowing what to cook, not having enough time, and the costs of healthier alternatives. Though these obstacles can cause a setback, you can make changes to your eating habits by creating a meal plan.
Meal planning is a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly breakdown of what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. It takes the guessing out of healthy eating and saves a lot of time and money. It’s essentially a three-step process that first includes choosing your meal ideas, going shopping for the ingredients, and finally making preparations. Here’s a more detailed description of each step in the process.
Look for Recipes
With each meal, you want to try and incorporate a protein, fruit and/or vegetable, and a carb (preferably brown carbs). You may have some favorite meals you like to prepare, but some find it difficult to eat healthy without always eating the same things. For variety, you can view recipes online. There, you can sort meal ideas by the type of ingredients you want, the ease of preparations, and more. Depending on how many meals you’re planning for (3 per day or just dinner, for example), you’ll need several ideas lined up to get you through the next few days.
Time to Go Shopping
Now that you know what you’re going to cook for the next few days, the next step would be to go shopping for the ingredients. Review each recipe to see what you’ll need, then create a list so you don’t forget anything. If it turns out you need to really stock your pantry or spice rack, then apply for an easy cash loan so you have extra money on hand. This way, you can get everything at once and don’t have to stop at the grocery store mid-week (which can tempt you to just order something if you’re schedule is tight).
Let the Preparations Begin
Finally, once you’ve gotten all the supplies you need for your meals you’ll want to prep. Meal prep is beneficial in that it shaves a lot of time off cooking throughout the week when the time is limited. You can do things like seasoning meats, cleaning and chopping veggies, and even preparing broths or sauces. Now, on the day you intend to eat it all you have to do is throw everything into the pot or oven and cook. If you really have time on your hands during the weekend, you might take it a step further and prepare some of your meals in advance. This would mean you could simply store the meals in microwaveable containers and heat them up when you’re ready to dig in.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, build strong muscles, or just fuel your body with things that are better for it, meal planning is the best way to get started. It takes away a lot of the frustration of trying to figure out what to eat, go shopping for the ingredients, and preparing it on those busy weekday nights.