Sticking to a healthy diet does not have to be hard. Make it easy for yourself during the week by planning your meals. This will help you stick to your goals because weeknights after work can be a very tempting time to grab convenience foods. Below are a few tips to get your meal planning routine jump started:
- Pick one day to go to the grocery store.
By having one day every week that is your designated grocery shopping day will allow you to always have fresh produce and adequate ingredients in your pantry. When food runs low in the house, it is easy to say, “Let’s just go out!” This can turn into a bad habit and send your nutrition goals out the door.
- Find your go-to cookbooks and websites to find recipes.
Having a recipe database is key! Stock your bookshelf with your favorite cookbooks, and bookmark your favorite blogs and websites. It can also be helpful to have a recipe organization plan. What works best for you, might be different than someone else. Keeping a binder of your family’s favorite recipes organized by meal can be an easy and fast way to find what you are looking for.
- Have a meal planning template.
Whether it is a chalkboard in the kitchen, a document on your computer or just a list in your planner, having a meal planning template can be helpful when planning meals. This will allow you to sit down, fill out the meals you want for each day, and have an easy place to look during the week to see what you have on the menu for that day.
- Figure out what you can prep ahead of time.
You can always prep at least one item ahead of time to make your weeknight dinner preparation quicker. Whether it is cutting up veggies when you get home from the store, hard boiling eggs for snacks, or prepping all five lunches for the week, even doing one or two things will make your life so much easier.
- Stick to your plan & re-evaluate for the following week.
Now the hardest part, sticking to the plan. It may be hard the first few weeks to get into the routine, but after a while, you will see that sticking to your meal plan will help you save money and time, while sticking to your nutrition goals. Every week, take some time to evaluate what worked the week before and what did not. Make these changes to the upcoming weeks meal plans, so you can perfect your practice.
For more information on meal planning, make an appointment with our Registered Dietitian today!