Meal planning is taking the time to plan any number of meals that will get eaten in the coming week. Dieters and families take the time to do this to save time, money and stay on track. A meal plan should also include a few nights of eating out. Planning out meals and even snacks will help in many ways from making better decisions and lose weight! It’s hard not losing weight and planning meals ahead of time can eliminate some of that frustration. Part of meal planning is also making sure you’re eating the right type of food. If you’ve been struggling with losing weight you should consider a low carb, high-fat diet. A diet that’s high in fat can jumpstart your metabolism and help you lose weight. Eating a lot of fat may seem like a foreign concept at first, but it’s a diet that has worked for many. The Body Reboot book outlines different meals you can eat to be successful on a diet and argues why the ketogenic diet can help people shed the weight and get healthy. Meal planning combined with the keto diet can help you successfully lose the weight. Below are some reasons why meal planning is the way to go to make better decisions about your health.
This reason is the most appealing to me. I love saving time. Some people need to save more time than others. Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different. Identify where you need a time-saver, and plan your meals to save yourself the time you need. Pick your busy days, and make those meals the most simple or prepared ahead to help you later.
Breakfast: I’m not a morning person, at all. Breakfast used to always be the first thing to go if I woke up late or just took too long getting ready. So I learned that I needed to prep a breakfast ahead of time that was as simple as popping it in the microwave or toaster oven. If I planned ahead of time, there was some quick breakfast ready for me.
Lunch: My lunch break always seemed to last a lot longer if I didn’t have to run out and get some food during the first half. Weird, huh? Lunch prep is best prep!
Dinner: If you planned ahead, you already know what’s for dinner, and you probably already have the ingredients for it. I’m on a mission to turn the classic “what’s for dinner?” question into “how can we prep for dinner?” and “will there be leftovers?”
Creating an effective meal plan can also save you a lot of money. Constantly going out and buying meals takes time, and it also quickly adds up. Buy groceries, prepare your meals at home, and it will be a lot more affordable. See what the author from Project Meal Plan has to say about that:
When you plan and cook your own meals, you are most likely saving money when compared to purchasing the same type of meal in a restaurant. I haven’t scientifically tested that theory, but I’m going to go ahead and make that bold assumption based on my years of eating experience (both cooking my own food and eating out).
Tess Rose Lampert at Cheapism.com does a bit of research in her article Is Cooking at Home Really Cheaper Than Eating Out? She compares prices on a classic chicken dinner with veggies and determined that cooking the classic dinner at home could cost up to 60% less than eating it at a restaurant. Lampert even factors in things like cost of time spent preparing the meal and buying more ingredients than required for the recipe. Lampert found, “A simple chicken dinner for one costs between $6 and $8 at home, takeout costs more than $13, and dining out costs more than $15.” Multiply that one meal’s savings by how many meals you eat over a month or a year, and see some $$$ savings.
Lastly, planning your meals can help reduce food waste. While it might be nearly impossible to go 100% waste free, some simple planning techniques can help dramatically reduce your food waste. For example, if one of my casseroles requires some baby spinach, I’ll also try to plan lunches or smoothies for the week that require baby spinach. Simply eating leftovers or planning a day to eat leftovers is a good practice to reduce food waste (and therefore save you money!).
Let’s not forget that shopping is a lot easier when you have a meal plan. Make a list and know what you’re going to buy ahead of time. The Skinny Ms says this will help shopping go more smoothly and keep you organized in the weeks to come.
Finally, meal planning helps you stay organized when it comes to shopping for groceries. Plan ahead and pick up all the ingredients you need for the week or month during a single trip to the supermarket.
The Reluctant Gourmet says that creating a meal plan ultimately helps you lose weight. Focusing on what you’re filling your body and filling it with nutrient-rich food is what’s going to help you stick to your meal plan.
Knowing what you are going to serve and having your ingredients readily available allows you to concentrate on eating and preparing nutritious meals. When you carefully select good recipes at the beginning of the week with appropriate side dishes, you are able to avoid throwing together a quick—yet unhealthy—option for dinner.
Want to know another reason why meal planning can help you lose more weight? Stress tends to make us eat more, and the consequences can be gaining weight instead of losing it. To keep stress away, The Reluctant Gourmet recommends planning. Knowing what meals you’re going to eat ahead of time will reduce stress. You also won’t have to worry about gaining weight from making bad food decisions.
Cooking and preparing dinner for yourself and your family should be enjoyable—not a rushed process simply to subdue everyone’s hunger. A creative and thoughtful menu plan takes the pressure off the week and ensures that the whole family is happy. When you’re running low on time and energy, you’ll thank yourself for making a plan beforehand.
Skinny Ms adds to the thought that not planning meals ahead of time can get stressful, which is why planning is essential!
Everyone knows how stressful it is to make a last minute decision about a meal. You race home from work frantic and hungry, knowing you have just a short time to choose a dinner and get it cooked and on the table. If you have a meal plan, you can take care of things in advance and all that is left at the end of a long day are those last few things to cook.
Jennifer from Azumio supports what The Reluctant Gourmet and The Skinny Ms about making healthier decisions. She says that typically homemade meals have better nutrients. Just ignore what she has to say about salt and fat because on the keto diet that’s precisely what you need to eat! Just stay away from meals with a ton of carbs.
Homemade meals are almost always more nutrient-dense and filled with less calories, salt, and fat than takeout or quick ready-made options at your grocery store. Choosing your own recipes and ingredients for the week allows you to make important food choices, such as buying local meats or organic produce.
Jennifer also goes on to say how making a meal plan promotes better making better decisions about food, which in the long run should help you lose weight.
If you have to come up with something to eat last minute, you'll find yourself probably going out for dinner instead. As a result, you are most likely to end up exceeding your daily calorie and sodium intake! Even just stopping at the grocery store to pick up a last minute dinner may lead to poor choices. When you shop hungry, you are more likely to throw junk food into your cart.
Wunder-Mom mentions that having a plan on what you’re going to eat in the coming week will help you and your children learn about food. It really makes you think about what you’re going to eat and what foods you should consider adding to your diet. Wunder-Mom shares her thoughts about this below:
Learning about Food: If you have children this is a BIG part of meal planning. It’s a cycle; If if meal plan, then I’m cooking at home. If I’m cooking at home, my children are there watching me. They are able to see what goes into their food and may even enjoy helping you cook! When you are cooking as a family there are so many opportunities to learn about new foods, nutrition, and what makes a healthy meal.
Meal planning combined with the right diet will help you stay on track. Taking control of your health is easy when you let go of fear and make the decision to get healthy. We have tips on how you can do that through the keto diet. Right now we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book. We desire to increase awareness about bad habits and help people lose weight and get healthy! Cover the cost of shipping, and we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: Project Meal Plan, The Reluctant Gourmet, Azumio, Skinny Ms, Wunder-Mom
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