Welcome to the beginner’s guide to meal planning! Great fitness and overall health and well-being stem from solid exercise foundations and sound diet plans. This article can help both men and women better plan their weight loss for women
is the base of any good healthy eating plan and We are here to help you take control of your questionable eating habits with meal planning tips and ideas.
Poor meal planning and trying to eat well are some of the main reasons we started this website but after a while, we realised that trying to keep it full of amazing content came at the cost of our own diets.
The biggest issue identified by the Command Strength team when trying to create our own healthy eating habits was a lack of planning. While we may know how to plan a blog post we are terrible at planning meals in advance.
So we sat down as a team and started trying to plan out the perfect meal planning approach.
This post, for example, took weeks of planning so it stands to reason that healthy eating should also take some planning right? Well, the good news is that it does not take us much planning as you think to have awesome meals on the table every breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Part of eating well is simply being diligent with your meal planning and making sure you are not caught out by life’s epic little surprises. Things like a heavy workload at work or having a fight with you partner can pile unnecessary stress onto your waistline by activating your stress hormones which in turn to calories as a way of protecting you from harm.
Now while some health experts may tell you that “no plan, is the best plan” we believe that having a baseline of structure to your meal planning can catch you before you fall prey to the chocolate hidden in that drawer at your desk.
When it comes to eating well, meal planning is one of the easiest things you can do to set yourself up for success. The beauty of it is there are no rules and, you can’t really mess it up. The key is just to start, and to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it. There are so many ways to approach meal planning that, after practising just once or twice, you’ll begin to find what works for you and your family too.
In this post we will cover a top beginners guide to healthy meal planning, and how to tackle meal planning when you are on a budget. We will also do our best to outline our idea of perfect meal planning in a handy template that you can download and re use each week.
One of the first things we try and encourage people to do when the kick of their meal planning is to simply start. As there are a million ways out there to actually plan a meal we try and keep the barrier to entry as low as possible. After roughly a week of trying to plan meals you will have the habit in place now all you need to do is structure that habit so that it reaps massive health returns through structured dietary planning.
In the hope of getting you started we have outlined some of the basics that we encourage new people starting a meal plan to consider.
Table Of Contents
Meal Planning For Beginners
We don’t know about you but our lives are chaos and that means meals are a luxury or a binge. Between dropping off and picking up the kids, doing a big pitch at work that requires more hours than there are in the actual day healthy food can be scarce.
On top of that, you may be in a situation where your meals vary greatly from day to day and week to week. Social commitments, evening engagements, work trips and parties can leave you scrambling for comfort food faster then the pizza man arrives. So keep some of these tips in mind when you are trying to get on top of your meal planning.
The Basics Of Meal Planning
How many meals do you think the average person needs to plan for each day? We find what helps is thinking back to the amount of meals you eat each day and then multiplying that by 7. Don’t let the end number here fool you tough as many people skip meals to their detriment.
Skipping meals can create a fast/binge cycle of eating that results in your body retaining more calories than you intend. As a rule of thumb smaller meals more often is the best way to keep your body fed.
Keep in mind that dependent on the amount of exercise you are doing will effect the calorie intake dramatically.
If you are anything like us then you will want to plan yummy and nutritious meals so some extra thought should go into ingredients.
Plan What Meals You Can
Taking the guesswork out of the equation is going to give you your best chance of success by removing unwanted temptation. Not wanting to waste pre-cooked meals is a strong motivator for staying on track.
Try putting your meals in portioned out containers so that they are easy to transport, store and reheat. We like glass or stainless steel version so that there is not the issue with plastics and sepage. When preparing meals to make sure you are cooking larger quantities of the same dish so that you can get bulk grocery discounts. You can then spread these pre-planned meals out ver the next few days for consistent variety.
Slow-cookers and stir fry is your best friends here as they allow you to have all the good nutritious food you are looking for in a quick and easy cooking process.
Create A Healthy Weight Loss Meal Plan
One of the best ways to keep your healthy eating on track is to have a cheat sheet that is your master list or foodie tour guide to healthy eating. Think of it as a guiding light or fairy godmother ready to step in and catch you when you feel the urge to eating junk. Having a set list of allowed foods and food combinations you can make sure you are on top of craving and have meals you can reach for when you are at your favourite restaurant.
Cater To Your Schedule
Don’t create some unrealistic meal planning process that you can’t stick with. Life gets busy and being too rigid with your planning means that the likelihood of you missing a meal or sneaking a few biscuits for morning tea is basically a certainty.
If you have lots of meetings or are on the road a lot try small healthy portable snacks like paleo bars, fruit and nut mix or some fresh fruit.
Meal Planning Calendar
It may sound silly but having a calendar of planned healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners can go a long way to keeping you on track. Plan your meals in your favourite calendar or meal planning/food diary app on your smartphone so that it is always with you. You can even set it to reminder you what you could or should be eating based on the time of the day. If you really want to step it up a notch you can save recipes to Pinterest or Google Keep and call on them when you are in need.
Watch Your Food Mood
Pretty much everything on this amazing planet can affect our mood in one way or another. Changes in the weather, unscheduled meetings or a surprise visit from the in-laws can all have an effect on you eating habits. Forecast for this and ae sure you always have a fallback snack or healthy eating option planned.
Buy In Bulk With Healthy Meal Planning Ideas
Meal planning for weight loss or general fitness means you need to have a plan of attack for your shopping. Buying in bulk is a great way to ensure your waist line and your wallet thank you because healthy meal plans will keep your time at the grocery shopping optimised and weight loss and management are best friends. By carefully planning your meals in advance you can save massive amounts of money with smart shopping habits.
If you have any amazing tips or ideas to help with meal planning we would love to hear the in the comments below. Got some meal planning tips and tricks of your own to share? Leave them in the comments below!