Meal Planning is definitely one of those essential, life basics that was left out of public school curriculum. People, in general, have no idea what they should be eating, what’s in what they are eating, and how to plan for their meals. The food we consume has become more of impulse decision-making, rather than careful planning and preparation. No wonder we are more likely to hit a drive-through.
Self-admittedly food consumes many of my thoughts. Am I hungry? What should I eat next? What have I already had today? What am I craving? When is the next meal? By taking a little bit of prep time to plan meals, I eliminate time, mental energy, money, and calories!
Here are a five easy steps to successful meal planning:
- Look at your calendar for the week and determine when you will have time to cook and when you will need something quick and easy. Plan dinner first and begin to plug in those meals. Dinner should consist of a lean protein, a cup of fresh or steamed veggies, and a starch, like a whole grain or sweet potato.
- Determine if you will have leftovers for lunch before planning lunch. If not, then plan lunches. Lunch should follow the same rule: a lean protein, a starch (whole grains), and fiber (fruit or veggie).
- Snacks: Snacks should be easy and readily available. fruit, edamame, nuts, raw veggies, protein bars, or yogurt are all great snacks.
- Breakfast: Keep it easy and balanced, like eggs and oatmeal, nutrition shakes, or a high protein cereal.
- Make your grocery list from your meal plan and shop.