Planning meals and snacks in advance is one of the best ways to reach your individual health goals and stay on track. When you plan ahead, it frees up time and energy for you to dedicate to other things that are important to you. Plus, it saves money – win win!
Some folks like to choose a certain day of the week to map out their meals for the week, and then grocery shop accordingly. Not sure what kinds of things to include in your plan? Everybody responds differently to different types of foods, but a good rule of thumb is to keep things balanced and simple. Here are our top tips for creating a weekly meal plan:
Choose whole, unprocessed foods.
The closer a food is to its original state when you eat it, the better! Having a plan makes it much easier to avoid eating whatever is most convenient – which is usually the processed stuff. Can’t get the fresh stuff? Check your freezer for hidden frozen vegetables or your pantry for canned foods with no salt added.
You can never have too much green on your plate! Aim to fill half your plate at lunch and dinner with green veggies – they’re filling and pack quite the nutritional punch with plenty of fiber.
Watch out for added sugars.
There’s sugar in that? When you think of sugar, you probably think of candy, soda, or even refined grains like white rice and white flour. But some unsuspecting items might be hiding added sugar so be sure to take a peek at the nutrition label.
Give meatless a try.
Leaving meat out of one meal a week is a cinch when you plan ahead. Doing so also means leaving out saturated fats, which can help reduce your risk of chronic disease.
Look for alternative ways to shop.
Stuck inside? Pizza isn’t your only delivery option! Shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your home. It will save you time, money, and help keep you safe during cold and flu season.
Don’t forget water!
It may be called a meal plan, but what you drink is just as important as what you eat. Keep a refillable water bottle with you so you can reach for the hydrating power of H20 when you get thirsty instead of a soda.
Remember, a registered dietitian is your most knowledgeable source of information regarding diet. Talk to your doctor about your desire to eat better and ask for a referral to a dietitian. Do you have any tips for meal planning? We want to hear them in the comments below!