Life is hectic. Many of us do not think about food until we hear our stomach growl. By that time, we might reach for the quickest meal, without considering the nutritional value. Planning may help relieve stress and save money. That is because, the less choices we have to make at the moment, the less stressed we will feel. Meal planning can help you reach your goals too! I have helped thousands of people lose weight, lower their cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar using these simple steps. Follow these tips and you will be planning and preparing nutritious and delicious meals that fit your preferences and lifestyle!
Think about your approach to meal planning- start with 1 day then try out planning for 1 week at a time
1. Start with breakfast: look for foods that provide you with protein such as eggs, turkey or chicken sausage, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and protein shakes.
- Include fiber rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like a slice of whole wheat bread or ½ cup cooked oatmeal.
- Add healthy fats like flaxseed, chia seeds, peanut butter and avocado to keep you full longer
2. For lunch and dinner, make sure to include 3 – 6oz of lean protein, 1-2 cups of vegetables, and a starch choice. You can make endless combinations and use leftovers for lunch the next day. For example you can use 1lb (16oz of chicken) to create four meals with 4oz chicken:
- Use mixed greens and light dressing to create a salad
- Use a whole-wheat tortilla to create a wrap
- Use whole wheat bread to make a sandwich
- Pair with ½ cup rice, pasta, or potato with your favorite vegetable
3. Turn leftovers into a new meal by changing a few ingredients.
- For example, add ½ cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta, 1-2 cups broccoli and 1 Tbsp. Alfredo sauce with some parmesan cheese to enjoy a chicken pasta
4. Consider what snacks you will need as well.
- Use crunchy vegetables to replace processed foods like chips, and fruits to replace sweets like candy. Make sure to cut and wash them so they are ready to eat. You can store them in an airtight container with 1-2 Tbsp. water or use “green bags” to absorb ethylene gas to keep it fresh longer. You can also use lemon juice and spices like Tajin, which contains citric acid, to keep foods from browning.
5. Do an inventory of foods you have at home and create a shopping list based on your meal plan.
6. Track your foods and keep notes on how well your meal plan worked- make adjustments as necessary.
Look for more inspiration by:
- Freezing leftovers and keeping frozen produce and meats to use throughout the week. Just make sure to defrost meats in the refrigerator before cooking.
- Consider the weather and what foods are in season- Spring is great for fresh fruits and vegetables to make into salad, smoothies, or cook on the grill! Winter is great for soups and casseroles to keep you warm!
- Talking to your household to get their input and see how they can help too!
Need more support? Schedule an appointment with our Nutritionist to help you make the most of your meals all year long! We also offer body composition testing and customized meal plans to help you reach your health goals! Give us a call today!