Take a moment to consider your eating habits. Are you a spontaneous eater, selecting what to eat on a whim? Or do you meticulously plan your entrees ahead of time? Meal planning can help you make healthier choices, stick to portion sizes, lower your calorie intake, and help you stay committed to your nutrition and weight loss goals. Try these tips to help you plan your meals and snacks!
Build an arsenal
The biggest hindrance to healthy eating is not knowing where to start. Having healthy snack ideas and recipes on hand as go-to options can help you plan more effectively. Choose your own recipes or search for some on websites like EatingWell or Mayo Clinic.
Write your plan
Once you have ideas and recipes to choose from, write up a plan for the week. Choose what snacks and meals you’ll prepare for each day of the week. Save your meal plans to use for future weeks! Avoid food boredom by rotating different plans.
Make a list
After you have your snacks and meals in mind, write a list of what you’ll need from the store to prepare them. Cross reference your list with what you already have at home in your pantry and fridge to save you time and money.
Take a trip to your local grocery store or farmers market and stock up on the good stuff. If you need help making selections, apps such as Fooducate can help you make healthy choices.
Allot certain day(s) and time(s) each week to prepare your meals and snacks. This routine will help you always have healthy food on hand. For example:
- Wash and cut fruits and veggies upon returning from the store so they’re ready when you need them.
- Wash and trim the fat from your meats, marinate or use a rub, and seal in a food-safe container or bag to be stored in your fridge or freezer until needed.
Keep it simple
If you’re strapped for time, think of healthy ways to cut corners. Try strategies such as:
- Keep your freezer supplied with frozen fruits and vegetables to be added to meals in a pinch.
- Stock foods with longer shelf lives, such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oats, dried or canned beans; it can assist you in preparing side dishes on demand.
- Cook double. Extra food can serve as another meal and help you have leftovers to repurpose into new meals!
- Try cooking all at once. If you’re planning on having roasted veggies as a side dish three nights this week, save time by cooking them all at once. This way a quick reheat is all you’ll need when you plan to eat them.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Program, connect with a Wellness Coach today for more healthy eating and meal planning tips.
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