The best way to stick to healthy eating is by using a plan. However, it’s often easier to love the idea of meal planning rather actually commit to doing it. If meal planning is on your list but you are new to it or have struggled with it, here are a few pointers to know beforehand that will help your meal planning efforts for you or you and your family be more successful.
Start With a Master Food List
The first place to start with meal planning is a master food list. You can print these out online, by season, or you can make your own list. Ideally what you are doing is narrowing down the foods you like, the foods you do not like, the ones you are allergic to, and the ones you have never tried. This master list will help you narrow down your recipes and get foods for your meal planning that work for you personally. You can also mark down how many calories each have and how they can be used.
Consider Your Goal
Make sure you consider your goals with your meal planning. For example, you may be looking for a way to reduce your stress during the week. Meal planning may offer you more downtime and more time to enjoy being with your friends and family or more time for ministry activities. Then again, you may want to drop several pounds. If that is the case, you want to keep an eye on your caloric intake. Body sculpting goals have even more considerations to reach your goal. Overall, you should consider long-term, short-term, and overall goals before you start meal planning.
Consider Your Containers
One thing many people do not consider about meal planning is the containers they will be using. This can make a big difference in how you plan out your meals. Most people do use containers that have several slots for protein, vegetables, fruits, and sauces. If you will primarily be doing full meals, then these are ideal. You may also want to bento boxes, soup containers, or other options. Consider what types of meals you want to have and then make sure you have the containers for them. These are a great set of meal containers: http://amzn.to/2lZmaEU.
Considering your timeframe is something that goes along with meal planning basics. You need to make sure that you are planning for a set amount of days. Most people do weekly meal planning while larger families may do planning for the whole month. The timeframe along with the food lists and goals can greatly affect your budget, so considering a timeframe is vital.
These basic principles of meal planning can help you get started. Remember, there is no set defined way of meal planning. The idea is to work with the diet that you choose, plan the meals, and make sure they work for you and your lifestyle. It may take a little time to get things on a solid track, but once they are you will find meal planning to be an easier route on many levels.