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Did you know that 80% of your health and fitness actually depends on what you eat? Yep, no amount of time in the gym can make up for poor eating. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just stay in general good health, eating well is key. The easiest way to make sure you’re eating healthy is having a plan. To help you achieve your goals I’m showing you how to make a healthy meal plan in the simplest way possible.
WHY MEAL PLAN
Sitting down and figuring out a meal plan for the week means less decisions you have to make every single day.
I make a meal plan every week, print it out and hang it on my fridge.
Instead of stopping before each meal and thinking what on Earth am I going to eat right now, I simply glance at the menu on my fridge and grab whatever it says. By sitting down and planning once a week I save myself from at least five decisions a day or 35 decisions a week.
Following a plan that someone else has made makes things even easier. That’s why I share my weekly menu with you every week.
BREAKING DOWN MEAL PLANNING
Sitting down to plan out a week of meals can be overwhelming. But when you have a system in place your meal plan will come together in minutes.
I like to break my meal planning down into three steps:
- Plan Meals
- Write Grocery List
- Grocery Shop
Planning out your meals and figuring out what you’re going to eat is the first step. After you plan you need to make a list of all the ingredients you need to make your plan actually happen. Then you need to actually shop for the groceries.
So meal planning doesn’t become overwhelming I spread the three steps out over three days. If you check out my post on Getting into a Routine, you’ll see I meal plan on Wednesdays, write my list on Thursdays and shop on Fridays.
MEAL PLANNING SYSTEM
I’ve systemized my meal planning so it only takes me about 20 minutes each week.
First, I fill in my breakfast, which is usually Shakeology. I copy and paste that for all my breakfasts.
Then, I choose two morning snacks (aka second breakfast) for the week and alternate them.
Next, I add a lunch for Sunday.
After that, I pick two afternoon snacks for the week and alternate them.
Now all I have left is to pick meals for dinner. I use leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day.
And that’s it!
MEAL PLAN INSPIRATION
Even if you’ve got a system down you can still get stuck in a rut with your meal planning. That’s why it’s important to have a variety of resources to keep your meal plans fresh & exciting. Here are a few ideas:
Picking a theme for your meal plan can make meal planning easier. You can choose a theme for the week or give each day it’s own theme.
Theme week ideas:
- Recipes from a certain cook book
- Sheet pan meals
- Slow cooker meals
- No-cook meals
- In season produce meals
Daily theme ideas:
- Slow Cooker Sunday
- Meatless Monday
- Taco Tuesday
- Pasta Wednesdays
- Instant Pot Thursdays
- Fish Fridays
- Sandwich Saturdays
Choosing a theme narrows down your options and reduces the overwhelming number of recipes out there.
MEAL PLAN FILE
Keep all your old meal plans in a file (printed or on your computer) and pop them open to recycle ideas. I have a file on my computer called “Menus” where I save every weekly menu I create. I’ve got hundreds of menus saved. When I need some inspiration I call pull up an old meal plan and with a few tweaks I’m instantly done with meal planning. You can take advantage of my menu archive here.
VISUAL MEAL PLAN FILE
Oh, that looks good. If you’re more of a visual person keep a file (printed or on your computer) of pictures of your favorite meals. As a blogger I pretty much snap a picture of everything before we eat. So yes, I have a file on my computer called “Menu Pics”. Sometimes when I’m looking for menu inspiration I’ll scroll through the pictures and certain items will jump out at me that I’ve forgotten about.
Pinterest is another great way to visually look for meal ideas. You can also get specific on what sort of meals you’re looking for like Instant Pot, Sheet Pan, Portion Fix or Slow Cooker Recipes.
MEAL PLANNING CARDS
I created a meal planning card system years ago to help make meal planning easier. The cards help bring variety to my meal planning. They also help me remember some of our favorite meals that may have fallen out of rotation. You can check out my Healthy Meal Planning System post to learn how to create your own meal planning cards. Or grab the Color Combo Meal Cards I created.