When it comes to weight loss, one of the most important things you should do is keep track of your calorie intake. But with everything life throws at you, this can get super difficult. Between work, kids, errands, school, laundry, and trying to not let your life totally fall apart, often it’s just easier to pick up fast food or order takeout. To help combat the craziness that is life, meal planning is going to become your new best friend. Not only will this help keep your calorie count on track but you’ll always feel great knowing that you’re choosing the healthier option for both you and your family.
I’ve been meal planning steadily for a little over a year now and because I’d rather be watching Netflix, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to help streamline the process and make it as easy as possible. And I want to share those with you! Follow these 5 items and you’ll be meal planning like a pro in no time!
- Keep a list of your favorite meals in one place. If you have one spot where you keep a list of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals that you enjoy, it saves you that much time when actually planning out your week. All you have to do is go through your list, figure out what meals are easiest for you, and make your grocery list. You’ll be sure to get the variety you need along with saving time looking for a recipe that is both healthy and delicious.
- Put yourself on a set schedule. The easiest way to continually do something is to work it into your regular schedule. Let’s say you have some extra time on Wednesdays and Saturdays – make those your planning day and your shopping day. Once you work those into your routine, it’ll become much easier to make sure you always have what you need on hand when doing the actual cooking.
- Create theme nights. So a big complaint about meal planning is that people aren’t getting the variety they need and they get bored. That’s why it’s important that you change things up. And what better way than to create a theme night? You can have Meatless Mondays where you choose a vegetarian recipe, followed by Taco Tuesdays, and then leftovers Wednesday. These theme nights make it easier to find a recipe while also giving you the change you desire. Some other ideas are sandwich nights, stir-fry night, soup night, etc.
- Bookmark sites from other meal planners. Still not sure what to make for the week? Pop on over to one of their sites. Usually, they’ll show you exactly what they’ve been making recently along with the recipes! One of my favorites (I tend to make her recipes a lot) is SkinnyTaste! But I do know there are a lot of other great sites out there as well. If the recipe is a hit, you can add it to your list!
- Don’t be afraid to follow a basic food template. I would say 80% of the time I make the same breakfast and lunch every week. But, I am able to make slight changes to help vary it up every week. For example, for lunch, you can have an apple one week and then an orange the next week. Or have a turkey and cheddar wrap one week and turkey and gouda the next week. It makes life so much easier because you only really have to figure out what you’re having for dinner every week.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be a scary or labor-intensive task. Just follow these tips and I guarantee you’ll become a meal planning master.
Have you thought about meal planning before?