Planning out your meals is a great way to keep on track with your diet. It’s a super simple way to ensure you never waste groceries and that you eat healthily! Meal planning, which can be done in an hour or two each week, is simply planning out all of your meals for the coming week, then making a comprehensive grocery list based on your meals. For best results, you should plan for all three meals a day as well as snacks. With meal planning, there are never times where you’re scrambling for a meal and end up with fast food, which means it is a great method for losing weight!
Mornings can get crazy! That’s why so many of us end up with breakfasts of sugary pastries, greasy fast food breakfast sandwiches, or nothing at all.
Instead, plan ahead with a hearty meal of protein and whole grains to keep you full until lunch time. Eating a big breakfast full of protein and fiber will not only keep distracting hunger pangs at bay, it also helps you lose weight. Your body will burn more calories to digest the meal, plus you won’t need a mid-morning snack (which often means cookies or chips).
Homemade egg white breakfast sandwiches, veggie fritattas, and oatmeal with your favorite seasonal fruits are some great options.
Lunch and Dinner
Meal planning is key for lunch. We often feel too rushed to make a lunch in the morning, so we’re left at the office with a rumbling stomach at noon. The options for lunchtime that are the quickest to get and eat are usually pizza, hamburgers, and other unhealthy options. To cut these excess calories (and save money), take the time to pack your lunch at night before you go to bed. A fresh salad, tasty wrap, or cup of homemade soup will make both your body and your wallet feel better! You can even pack leftovers from last night’s dinner to save even more money and ensure you’re getting a nutritious meal.
When you get home after a long day, the last thing you probably want to do is cook. That’s why so many of us turn to convenience foods like frozen pizza or TV dinners for a quick dinner. However, these foods are packed with salt and fat, which are not so good for you. Try planning dinners that are both nutritious and easy to make like salads and sandwiches. Alternatively, putting soups and stews in a slow cooker before you leave for work lets you come home to a fully-cooked, ready-to-eat meal. Many meal planners also do something called meal prep, where they cook all their meals for the week ahead on Sunday afternoon, then freeze or refrigerate them until needed. That way you can just heat and eat a healthy dinner!
Don’t Forget Snacks!
You know you’re going to need a snack once in awhile, and this is the most important part of meal planning. Packing a nutritious snack in your work bag or having them readily on hand in the fridge helps keep you away from vending machine junk. Good options are easy-to-eat fruits like apples and bananas, single-serve cups of hummus with carrot sticks, and snack-size boxes of raisins. You can tame the tummy grumbles without the extra calories, sugar, and fat!
Planning out all the things you will eat during the week takes away the temptation of junk food. With healthy meals and snacks on hand, you’ll get more essential nutrients, feel amazing, and lose weight in no time!