Many of you out there might say, “I want to eat healthy, I really REALLY do… but then I just get so busy and end up picking up — insert unhealthy food here –“. It’s true, most people have the goal to have a healthy lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, etc. But then you get side-tracked with this thing called LIFE, gotta pick up the kids, cart them around, work your job, doctor appointments, soccer, ballet, etc., etc., and it just becomes all too much. No sooner do you realize that fast food restaurants are profiting off of your demise and you’ve gained 5 pounds in exactly the WRONG place. And there are 36 fast food bags scattered throughout your car and your trash can.
I’m not judging, I’ve been there. TRUST me. And I should know better, right? I’m a dietitian?
It’s true, I do know better. But the issue is, it doesn’t matter HOW much you know, if you don’t begin with a plan, you end up asking yourself what happened and where your goals went.
That is why you need to meal plan.
People hate planning. It’s like the dreaded “B” word – “Budget”. No one wants to budget, but if you don’t you won’t have a plan for retirement, or kid’s college, etc. You’ll just look back and realize you wasted all your money on stuff, and you barely remember what. A meal plan is much the same way. Trust me, though, you won’t regret it.
You don’t have to start out making some elaborate plan with 7 gourmet meals for your family every week. That isn’t realistic.
Start just jotting down your basic plan for each dinner, and then go the the grocery store with said plan, feel free to scratch things off and change it while you’re shopping based on how you feel or what you see. The point is you have 7 meals planned out every week before the week starts. It could be whole wheat spaghetti with a jar of low-sodium marinara. That takes 15 minutes and costs less than $10. Nothing complicated, just something planned.
Then, as you get into the habit of meal planning, you can slowly add in more options, or try to make a fancy meal once a week. Don’t overload yourself though, or it will all be for naught.
After you’ve started planning dinners, then do lunches, then breakfasts. It feels nice to have a plan for lunch every day instead of the same old PB&J, or even worse, “SHOTS! I forgot to bring my lunch! Guess it’s Mickey D’s again!”. Your wallet AND your waistline will be singing your praises.