How to Meal Plan: A Complete Guide

We now live in a world of ultimate convenience. The ability to shop online for groceries, have full meals delivered, and get takeout on every corner means you no longer need to figure out what you’ll be eating far in advance.

However, planning your menu will save you time and money, not to mention support a healthy lifestyle or even help with weight loss.

Don’t panic! Meal planning doesn’t need to involve elaborate recipes. It doesn’t even mean you have to cook each dinner from scratch. 

Here is some guidance on setting up and using a meal plan.

Meal Plan Basics

You may feel overwhelmed the first time you put together a meal plan. Remember, you don’t have to start with a weekly menu. Instead, you can begin with a day or a weekend until you get the hang of it.

There are three main components for planning.

  1. Choosing meals and recipes
  2. Shopping for the ingredients
  3. Meal prep and cooking (or reheating prepared food)

Get started with meal prep ideas by answering these questions:

  • What is your objective? Is it to eat healthy, save money, lose weight, or simplify your life?
  • How many people will there be at the table? With everyone’s activities or late nights at work, the answer to this question may differ on different days.
  • Does anyone have any dietary restrictions, allergies, or preferences? 
  • How much time do you (honestly) have to dedicate to meal planning and prep? Be realistic and don’t set yourself up for failure before you begin. 
  • How skilled and comfortable are you in the kitchen? If you don’t know how to turn on your oven, it is still okay! Enjoy the convenience of buying a cooked chicken or precut vegetables.

The Advantages of Meal Plans

Time Management

How often have you walked into your kitchen at dinner time, and opened the refrigerator door, only to find you don’t have the right ingredients to make a meal to satisfy you or your family? No wonder you decide to pick up the phone to have pizza delivered, even though you know it’s not the best choice.

If you can plan for 30 minutes on Sunday night and know what your meals will be in advance, it will save you stress and valuable time. 

Budget-Friendly

Yes, prices are increasing everywhere, but eating out and getting delivery is still more expensive than preparing your own meals. Creating a weekly meal plan will keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

Healthier, More Varied Options

Making food choices in advance has been shown to better control portions and reduce the temptation to eat unhealthy foods. Additional research supports the benefits of meal planning with food variety, diet quality, and a healthy weight. 

Meal Planning in 6 Easy Steps 

If getting meal prep ideas is difficult, you won’t do it. Here’s where to begin (and it will get easier):

1. What do you want to accomplish?

Ask yourself if you are focused on increasing healthy options, decreasing sugar, saving money, fueling your fitness goals, or something else. 

A combination of exercise and diet is needed to meet your goals. And never underestimate how much you will benefit from being under the guidance of a professional coach. After all, no matter how much you exercise, you can’t continue to eat nachos, high-sugar treats, and cheeseburgers and get in better shape.

2. How many meals?

The total number of meals you plan may vary from week to week (or even day to day). You might want to plan every morsel you eat or just dinners. 

3. What’s on the menu?

When selecting recipes, be mindful of your goals, cooking skills, and time. Plenty of websites have quick and easy ideas with just a few ingredients. 

For example, a meal planning template for building muscle should include a good amount of protein with fewer carbohydrates. Protein is vital for muscle development, as long as you don’t overdo it.

A muscle-building sample meal might include:

  • Breakfast: Vegetable omelet or scrambled eggs (but watch the butter!)
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with blueberries or strawberries
  • Lunch: Brown rice, lean protein (chicken, turkey)
  • Snack: Apple, healthy nuts, hard-boiled egg
  • Dinner: Baked fish with roasted vegetables

4. Make a shopping list.

Write down the ingredients you’ll need for each recipe. Then, before your shop, check your kitchen cupboards. You may already have some of the items you need.

5. Meal prep ideas.

With meal preparation, the objective is to precut and maybe pre-cook batches of ingredients. This will make everything easier throughout the week.

6. Time to cook.

Since you have already planned what to make and prepped the ingredients, cooking will be quick. 

Accountability

One of the essential parts of meal planning is staying accountable. However, that doesn’t mean someone has to stand over your shoulder to ensure you stick to your meal plan. Instead, a fitness professional or coach monitoring your food choices and progress will help your journey.

At Fit Body Boot Camp (FBBC), we want to make nutrition simple for everyone. Therefore, we proudly offer our Unstoppable Fitness Program. This personalized plan provides a delicious way of eating that will promote your health.

FBBC has designed comprehensive meal plans customized to meet your calorie needs, even when you want to focus on a Paleo or vegetarian lifestyle. We provide you with everything from a grocery list to satisfying recipes.  

We encourage you to use these ideas to get your diet back on track. Join us at Fit Body Boot Camp today and discover our metabolism-burning, results-driven sessions and nutrition plans. Your fitness goals are attainable with the support of Fit Body Boot Camp!

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