UG5: Meal Plans

You can with a plan: using meal plans effectively will go a long way towards to ensuring a healthy diet, and also reducing waste which will both save you money and help save the planet.

[RETURN MAIN APP]

Introduction
(Click)
Meal planning is a habit to get into. There are many benefits including reducing waste and saving money, helping with ensuring a healthy diet, reducing stress and saving time, and if used effectively a more varied and interesting diet.

Meal planning is not difficult but it does take a bit of effort, at least to set it up and get into the habit. You need to get into the habit of planning for the week, of building up a store of recipes and meal ideas that you can regularly chose from, and learn to line up your food shopping with your meal plans. Anyone can get into the habit of doing so, but it will, for a while mean making the effort, and also exhibiting a bit of emotional resilience if you are doing it also on behalf of a partner or family. Once you’ve gotten into the habit it will easy and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it years ago.
‘Use a Template’
(Click)
Have a format, a template, for recording your meal plan itself and other supporting information such as recipes and notes. You can make up your own, or find one online, or buy one. Digital or paper based. It is important to do so however. Adapt it and modify it so it works for your own circumstances. It is also useful to have a simple visible list of your intended meals for the week.
‘Keep a list of meals’
(Click)
Keep a list and supporting information about meals that you are happy to use. How to prepare them. Ingredients. Any useful information to keep in mind. Modify the information in the light of your practical experience in using them. Add to the list from time to time, trying new things every now and again, and remove items if you are unlikely to use them again.
‘Plan your meals in advance’
(Click)
Generally have a plan of intended meals that extends out beyond your next intended shopping trips. Typically this might be based around a weekly plan and shopping trip though it doesn’t need to be if some alternative period works for you. Produce your plan at a regular time each week that ties in with your shopping trips, and ensure you take account of any intended events that might impact mealtimes. Also ensure some variety in your meals for the week and that they are consistent with a healthy diet.
‘Breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc.’
(Click)
Don’t just plan for your main meal of the day, but also plan for breakfast and any other ‘meals’ you might have during the day. If you don’t you will find yourself overbuying, wasting food, and eating more and less healthily than you wish. Also plan what you will have for snacks, if anything. Have healthy snacks regularly available, albeit if necessary ensure the number you have is compatible with whatever general calorie allowance you might have set yourself.
‘Consider use of leftovers’
(Click)
Consider how certain meals might follow one another, with certain leftovers from one meal being used as ingredients of a meal the following day. This can be timesaving since you may not have to spend time cooking the leftovers, beyond possibly heating them up as part of your following day meal.
‘Use shopping lists’
(Click)
If you are using meal plans you should readily know what you need for your meals. There will be other items such as drinks or condiments or cleaning products. Ensure you are clear about any additional foods such as breakfast items or healthy snacks such as fruit, or maybe light lunches but ensure you only buy what is consistent with your diet intent. Anything extra you buy will either be waste or unwanted calories.
‘Family and partner meals’
(Click)
if you regularly eat with others, such as family or a partner, then you need to involve them in your meal planning, at least as regards the meals you have together. However unless another person takes responsibility for the meal plans, you need to do so yourself: do so without feeling aggrieved. But also do so without being dictatorial. It is their meal plan as well and the meals must be ones all of you are happy with, even if it explicitly recognizes some variants to accommodate different persons.
‘It’s not all or nothing’
(Click)
it may be that your meal planning does not always work out. That’s not an excuse to abandon it. Like any habit, persisting with meal planning will help make it more instinctive and able to work for you most of the time. But unplanned for things happen, and if occasionally you don’t keep to you pre-intended plans it really doesn’t matter too much in the wider scheme of things, so long as you return to use of your meal plans for the vast majority of your meals.
Links
(Click)