It is important to understand what it is you are trying to achieve with your nutrition and the foundations to follow as a guideline. My own guideline is to ensure nutrient density, portions, proportions and timing and be consistent as this for me is key in preparing any Meal Plan.
Start your day with breakfast (this is a must) the word breakfast means “to break fast” as it is the first meal after sleeping. You need to listen to your body and understand when you are hungry and satisfied. If you skip meals and snacks during the day this is when you are most likely to make poor food choices and overeat.
How to approach Meal Planning and Food Preparation
There are many different ways to approach your meal planning and food preparation. Some like to cook up every meal for 5-7 days in advance while others like to prepare a few staples and do some light cooking on a daily basis. Preparation time depends on your own ability to cook. Whatever way you choose it is important if you are busy and on the go to pick simple, easy recipes. Include family favourites to keep everyone happy. I suggest that one night you introduce a new meal and try something different (keep a back up incase it is not greeted very well.)
It is important to keep your meals balanced with portion sizes and proportions, the amount of nutrients (carbs, fats and protein) in that food. Eating this way is going to help stabilise your blood sugar and help control cravings. For more inspiration, search your favourite cookbooks or check out recipe websites for ideas.
By incorporating what is in the fridge and pantry you can begin to think about what meals you can prepare. Make a grocery list based on the recipes you have chosen and pick one day to do the bulk of your food preparation, if you could make it the same day as you go shopping, that is ideal. It may take you a couple of hours to set yourself up – time well spent because you’ll be saving time during the week, saving money and with some room to make things on the nights you are at home and have time to cook.
And it is handy to have a copy of the meal plan on the fridge where you can see what is on the menu and other members of the family can also advise if they will be home or not and you can always revise as you go. For example, you might have arranged for a roast dinner one night and no-one is home that night! so you can change around the meals to suit.
What Are The Benefits?
There are so many benefits to meal planning and food preparation; below are a few that I consider the main ones:
By eliminating the “what am I going to cook for dinner” and wasting valuable time, you will get more time to watch your favourite show on Netflix or catch up on a book that you have been wanting to read or get in that workout you promised yourself you would do without the stress of running out of time and feeling under the pump.
By only purchasing what is needed to actually cook for the week, you cut down on buying extra items just for the sake of it. Many of us struggle to pay off bills with careful budgeting and meal planning it can mean having extra cash to help put towards other needed items, without compromising on healthy eating and still getting nourishing foods.
Using only what is needed there is no more throwing out soft or rotting vegetables and fruit from over purchasing. With meal planning, you know how you are going to use all of the food for that week before you even go to the store to buy it. You have a weekly game plan that even takes leftovers in to account which also helps reduce wastage.
CREATE HEALTHIER MEALS:
It is easier to prepare for nutrient dense meals when you write down a menu each week creating a healthier lifestyle for you and your family without them even realising it.
You decide on how to begin. You might start by only meal planning and preparing main meals and that is OK! It may take a couple of times to become more adept at scheduling meals, shopping to a plan and then reusing and modifying previous meal plans.
While meal planning doesn’t have to be hard, it does take a determined effort and planning to provide your family with nutritious meals. It does save you hours of time and gives you a simple way to generate healthy and delicious meals.
Click here! to get my FREE 7 Day Meal Plan that I have put together using recipes on my website to get you started. You can save to your desktop and click the meal and it will take you straight to the recipe on the website or go here! to get a copy of my FREE Weekly Meal Planner for you to print off and start creating your very first meal plan on your own!
I also have a 30 Day Meal Plan available along with all the recipes ready to go! CLICK! the image below to get your copy!
Thinking ahead and planning meals and snacks for yourself or your family is the key to healthy eating. A meal plan is a guide to take the stress out of what to prepare for meals and helps reduce wastage and saves you time and money!!
I’m here to support you, leave me a comment, I love to hear from you. Keep in touch!