Successful, balanced, healthy living includes meal planning. Not to lock you into a regimented schedule of eating like a drill instructor, but to make sure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. If you plan what you’re going to eat ahead of time then you’re less likely to snack on poor quality, quick food options and overeat. If you plan your meals for the day (snacks included) or week, you’ll already know what you’re going to eat so there will be little to no room for unhealthy options. Here’s why meal planning is important.
YOU’LL EAT MORE NUTRIENT DENSE MEALS. You can determine if your daily eating plan has enough carbs, fats, and proteins in it based on your goal. Then you can tweak it ahead of time in order to meet those goals. This will ensure that you are getting the most nutrients per meal possible (nutrient dense). It also helps keep you on track and creating a new healthy eating habit.
YOU’LL EAT HEALTHIER. Because you’ve already planned your daily or weekly meals, you’ll know what you’ll be eating. You won’t get caught without food because you would have already packed it for the day, in portion sized containers. Thus, you’re less likely to stop and grab a quick “on the go” processed meal/snack from the store.
YOU’LL BE MORE ACCOUNTABLE. If it’s written down, you’re more accountable to yourself and your healthy goals. You can’t erase ink so write your meal plan in pen! Grocery shop just for what you need. Spend a few hours on a specific day to make some foods ahead of time and package them in portion-sized containers (i.e. brown rice, roasted vegetables, snacks).
YOU’LL EAT BREAKFAST. Too many people skip breakfast because they “don’t have time”. If you tried to start your car in the morning without any gas in it, your car would not work properly, if at all. Your body is the same way. It needs fuel! Plan to eat 5-6 small meals per day, starting with breakfast. You will be eating every 2-3 hours! This also helps keep your blood sugar levels stabilized so you won’t get those sugar cravings!
To get started with planning: Think about what you’d like to eat for dinner for a few nights this week. Determine what you’d you like to eat for lunch and snacks. Then write down your plan for the day or the week. Grocery shop for what you NEED, not what your grumbling tummy tells you. Cook and package up some meals on the weekend so you’re ready for the week! Stick to your plan and enjoy having it all done ahead of time!