With sufficient research, making a meal plan might be easy. But sticking to it is hard, especially if you have put too much pressure and restriction on yourself. Maybe you have also found it bland to stick to and even time-consuming with all the preparations just for a week’s worth of meal.
It will save you time and money, and it will ensure that you’ll stick with a healthy diet and consume the number of calories you need for your body goals.
It might be best to consult an expert when planning meals if you have certain health conditions to determine which food items are most beneficial to include. You can also pair your meals with vitamins to have the best outcome, like the natural supplements for high uric acid.
Here is how to start making an easy meal plan that will suit you, your lifestyle, and your goals.
Figure out your free time. Is this a week’s worth of a meal plan? Start with something small. Planning your food for a week is much better than going all in and trying to come up with ideas for two to four weeks in one go. Think of when you have not only the time but the energy to cook as well. If you have it all figured out, have finished your research, and have come up with the final menu, give it a try and prepare half a month’s meal.
Even if you decide to cook your meals every week, a big time saver would be going to the grocery and buying what you need for two weeks. Don’t buy a lot of ingredients that will spoil fast, and choose recipes that will not take a chunk of your time to prepare. Go for easy cooking methods such as an air fryer or an oven instead of a grill and stove, which might require much attention. You’ll have more time to do tasks at the same time while you wait for the other food items to cook.
Don’t restrict yourself because you’ll lose yourself.
Putting restrictions on yourself with food might cause a general fear and distrust of what you eat. Food can even become a source of guilt. Be sure to create a healthy relationship with food because the more you put pressure on yourself, the more you’d feel more stressed about it, causing you to fail in the long run.
There is a nutrition philosophy called intuitive eating wherein you let your body dictate you instead of obsessing over what you can and cannot eat to maintain a specific physique that is not suited for you and your health. Don’t rely on social media nor compare yourself with fitness coaches. Everybody is different. Whatever your goal is, whether to lose weight, gain, or retain it, take it easy and never dictate your body with societal norms.
Include foods that you will love.
It is much harder to stick with a meal plan if you are not looking forward to what you’ll eat. You need to feel the excitement every time you have food instead of dreading your next meal. Who says healthy food can be dull? There are a lot of recipes online where you can spice up or add a twist to a healthy meal, be creative with cooking them. You don’t have to follow the exact recipe most of the time. Make sure to include foods that you will love. Never include food items that you swore to not eat unless they’re healthy leafy greens.
Plan ahead for bumps.
Planning for bumps is an important step in your meal plan. Always check the calendar for scheduled oﬃce festivities, your siblings’ birthday, or the holidays like Thanksgiving. See if you can bring extra healthy snacks that day, or maybe if you’re ordering it from a restaurant, order something that will fit your meal plan.
You can indulge in a celebration if you decide to count that as a cheat day. But the downside is that you might put every bump as a cheat day hence the importance of planning for it.
Have cheat days once in a while.
It’s okay to have cheat days once in a while. Give your body some slack and eat that chocolate chip cookie. Have one day for at least two to three weeks of eating whatever you want in good moderation! There might be a possibility of getting anxiety and an unhealthy eating habit if you keep restricting your body for its cravings. So, don’t sweat on it. It’s perfectly okay to treat yourself and your body from time to time.
Meal prepping does not have to be complicated. You’re there to cook your meals to save time and money. You have to free up some time for it, think of a routine and stick to it, figure out your needed recipes, your body goals, and your needed calories.