I’ve always struggled with food, when to eat, what to eat, what not to eat. When you are trying so hard to lose weight this is the one area that will make a HUGE difference and at the same time can be the most stressful, confusing and overwhelming part. In a society where we are so accustomed to fast food and over processed products it’s hard to know where to start.
If by now you haven’t googled articles or blogs similar to this, I’m sure you will when you’re done reading this. Just keep in mind that just because something works for someone else, it may not work for you. Everyone lifestyle is different choose things that make yours easier not harder. This doesn’t go for just meal planning, it goes for everything thing life!
Here are my tips for making meal planning successful and easy:
1. PLAN! (You’re probably thinking duhhhh!) Honestly you’d be surprised how many people just say, “I’ll go shopping and only buy healthy stuff and figure it out each day as I go.” This is how you can waste money because you won’t end up using half of the food and then it goes bad. You can come home forgetting items or not having enough of one, which means a) you will have to make a 2nd trip or b) you just eat whatever, which is not helping you reach your goals. Please please please plan! Sit down with a pen and paper write down each day of the week and each meal of the day and plan!
2. Calorie Intake. If you haven’t done the math yet please do! You must know how many calories you need to eat each day and how many you need to burn. Here is an equation for you so you don’t have to go searching.
A. Your current weight in pounds x11 =Your caloric baseline
B. Your caloric baseline + the amount of calories you burn each day from your workout =Your caloric needs
C. Your caloric needs -750 (calorie deficit) =Your calorie target
If you absolutely despise counting calories, I suggest the 21 Day Fix program as it’s all portion control containers and no calories counting. For those of you who don’t mind, start doing the math!
3. Eat More Often. What? I want to lose weight and I have to eat more often? Yes! Because if you are going long periods without eating your body will want to protect itself. In other words it goes into survival mode which means it starts storing fat just in case you don’t eat again for a while. Therefore we need to eat every 2 hours to make sure we are not hungry and that we have the proper fuel. When writing out your meal plan for each day included Breakfast, Snack 1, Lunch, Snack 2 and Dinner as subheadings. Tip* If you find yourself forgetting to eat set alarms on your phone to remind you.
4.Plan to have any carbohydrates and fruit during the day don’t eat them after 6pm. Carbs provide energy, having them in the morning or during the day with give you energy to do the tasks that you need to. When you eat carbs at dinner, you are finishing up your day and most likely don’t have a lot of calorie burning work to do before you go to bed therefore if you provide all this energy to your body and don’t use it, your body will store it for next time, as fat. Try to limit carbs as much as possible when you can.
5. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. When planning include food that is in the same state it was found in nature. I know this is difficult with all of the processed options we have out there, just do your best. The more you do it the more you will learn and get used to it. Tip* When shopping only shop the parameter of the store that’s where most of the fresh food is kept.
6.Save money! Include food that you already have in your plan. Whatever is left over from the previous week needs to be used so use it! Don’t throw money in the garbage.
7.Make a list. Once I’m done writing out my meal plan I take a pen and paper (Or a note app on your phone) and write out the items that I don’t currently have. This way when you go to the store you are prepared, you know exactly what you need and you don’t have to wonder through the aisles getting tempted by all the processed food that’s no good for you.
8. Don’t cook as much! Unlike my boyfriend I don’t really like cooking, therefore I try to do it as little as possible. When I make my meal plan for example whatever I am having for dinner Sunday night I will double the recipe to make enough for lunch for Monday. This way after dinner I don’t have to start cooking a whole new meal for lunch. I find this makes my plan easier, try it, see if it works for you!
9. Pack your food the night before. I pack all of my food for my day at work the night before because I know in the morning I’m usually in a hurry and I may not have time to pack it. This just makes my life easier!
I hope this has helped you in some way, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask.