Meal planning was a hard concept for me to start doing. I honestly never really meal planned until I had kids, because let’s face it, it didn’t matter if dinner was an hour late. The kids need to be fed by 6:00pm so there is time for bath, jammies, books, prayers and bed by 7:30pm.
Most nights we don’t even get home till 5:30-5:45pm so meal planning is most certainly part of my vocabulary. Additionally, when I heard the following statistic it changed my thought process for planning meals, “60% of Americans don’t know what they are having for dinner by 4:00pm, and 66% of Americans are overweight”.
With a little preparation, planning your meals in advance can help you save time and money at the grocery store or from dashing through the drive-thru at lunch or dinner. Developing a meal plan can also help you eat a more nutritious, well-balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich foods from each of the food groups. You may find that you can better manage your weight and health if you plan and prepare meals at home more often.
Meal Planning 1-2-3
- Use the #plategoals image above as a guide.
•Start with the main dish/protein and work from there.
•Sometimes this main dish may already include a starch.
•When I say starch, I’m thinking grain, bread, fruit or starchy vegetable.
•Think about the color choices of your meal and try and color the plate.
- Start by planning 3 meals per week.
•You can always slowly work your way up to more, but even planning 1 meal a week is better than not planning at all.
•Print of our free Weekly Meal Plan template here!
- Spend no more that 1-2 hours total prepping and cooking these meals.
Here are a couple more tips for meal planning:
- Don’t be afraid to get the family involved with the meal planning, especially the kids!
- Try to avoid selecting different recipes that don’t fit together or else you’ll be buying a lot of different ingredients. Select one, look at the ingredient list and let that help you select recipe #2, and so on.
- Save yourself some time and write your grocery list while you figure out your meals–and don’t forget to jot down quantities for each ingredient. Before you head to the store, take a quick inventory of what you have on hand and cross off the ingredients you don’t need to purchase.
- By portioning your plate like the picture, you are getting in the food groups you need, but also portioning your plate correctly. This will help to fill you up without all the calories. Also, this almost guarantees for leftovers!