Weekly Meal Planner: How to Plan Ahead
There are plenty of reasons to start planning your meals ahead of time. A good weekly meal plan doesn’t just take away the stress of having to come up with lunch or dinner every single day, it also saves time and money, promotes portion control, encourages nutritious eating, makes shopping a breeze and so much more. Whether you’re looking for a weight loss meal plan or a meal plan to help keep the whole family happy, we’ve put together a few simple tips and guidelines to help you incorporate healthier eating habits into your everyday routine, while planning ahead.
How Do I Create a Healthy Meal Plan?
Ready to take charge of your well-being with healthy meal plans that support your nutrition goals? The first step in creating a schedule is deciding how many days you want to plan. You can create a weekday plan, leaving weekends open for spontaneous eating, or a full, 7-day schedule to keep things easy and organized. Choose recipes that include three different food groups and emphasize lean meats, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Start by filling half your plate with non-starchy veggies, about ¼ of your plate with protein-rich foods and finish the meal with a dash of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts or seeds. If you typically need a mid-meal bite to stay fed and fueled, include protein- and fiber-rich snacks in your planning. Try cooking in larges batches and prepacking meals for the week, or freezing items for easier cooking later.
How Do I Plan Weekly Meals for My Family?
Feeding more people doesn’t have to make meal planning more difficult. Planning ahead by creating a list of school lunch ideas prevents the otherwise inevitable sandwich burnout and ensures your little ones are getting the nutrients they need to do their best both in and out of the classroom. Keep things easy by adding “theme days” to your routine, such as eating meatless meals on Monday, tacos on Tuesdays and so forth. Choose family-friendly dinners and incorporate fun snacks for kids in both your plan and grocery list.
Perfecting your meal planning technique might take some trial and error, but a little persistence in the beginning will more than pay off in the long run. If some family members are coming home with leftovers in their bento lunch boxes, or searching for snacks an hour after eating, try some new meals and flavor combinations the following week. Part of the fun of meal planning is getting to explore new recipes and ideas every week.
How Do I Use a Meal Planning Template to Plan Meals for the Week?
Find a weekly meal planner that includes categories such as day of the week, meal type, and grocery list. Start by choosing recipes that use items you already have in your pantry or freezer and write down the meals you’re going to make. Listing everything out allows you to create a well-thought-out shopping list that’ll save you time at the store and help prevent unnecessary impulse buys.
If planning every meal for the whole week seems like too much at first, start by planning one full day, or by planning only lunches or dinners for the week. Even some simple meal planning techniques in the beginning of the week can save you time and money over the course of the next few days.