We recognize that developing a healthier lifestyle can be a lot like moving to a new country. Everything is new, different, and confusing. Many people are so motivated in the begining to make a big change for their lives but it’s easy to lose that vivar when you’re in the thick of it, trying to navigate the day-to-day challenges. Learning what food to buy and how to read ingredients can seem a lot like learning a new language and for some, cooking and preparing the meals can be even harder. Here at Meal Plan Maker, we want you to be successful with the meal plan that we provide for you! That is why in addition to this guide, we also provide nutritional information and prep instruction with your meal plan!
We’ve handpicked a few of the the most effective ways to help you be successful with your meal plan. We are going to go over the process of shopping for your meal ingredients and preparing the meals in your meal plan. For the most part, these tips seem very obvious but are easily overlooked as you venture into a new journey such as meal planning, meal prepping, new diets, a new exercise regimen etc.
These meal planning steps may come across as very obvious, and for the most part they are, but there is a critical strategy within each of them and it is the strategy that makes meal planning worth every minute! After reading this guide, you will leave with a sort of playbook of how to follow your own meal plan so that you never have to ever wonder again…what is for breakfast, lunch and dinner? You’ll know and so will your family.
Before we get in to the nitty gritty, let’s discuss what meal planning is and isn’t.
Meal planning is asking the what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner once for 7 days (or 30 days), instead of every single day and then shopping for and preparing all the ingredients right before cooking. At Meal Plan Maker, we believe that the easiest way to approach meal planning is with the following 3 steps.
- Generate a 7 or 30 day meal plan customized for your goals.
- Shop for ingredients.
- Prepare those ingredients.
Start your meal planning process on a Friday: At Meal Plan Maker, we highly suggest starting your process over the weekend, starting all the planning on a Friday, grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, and then using an hour or so on Sunday for meal prep. Then you can pat your hands clean, give yourself a round of applause and a pad on the back for a job well done!
What meal planning isn’t: Difficult. Meal planning is not and does not need to be difficult. Too many times people start a big plan…too big, so big that they fail before they even really get started. Don’t get wrapped up in big binders with way too much information. You also don’t want to plan more than 30 days out. Too much can change with your lifestyle, goals, and even medical needs. Also, meal planning is not life or death. If you have a “cheat night” and just order take out, it is not the end of the world. Pick up where you left off the next day and you’re are right back on track, just like that!
Start Your Meal Planning: What Are Your Goals?
Now, this doesn’t need to be too involved, you just need to know your basic overall goals for your lifestyle, health, and diet. In fact, the best way to answer the what your goals are is to ask yourself why you are interested in meal planning in the first place. Then, you can enter your meal planning journey with your goals clear and you’ll be even more ready to accomplish them.
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to add muscle?
- Do you want variety?
- Do you want to save money?
- Do you want to eat healthier?
- Do you want to prevent food waste?
- Do you want to be more organized?
Well, fortunate for you any of the above is achievable with a meal plan from Meal Plan Maker. Just use our meal plan generator tool to answer a few questions regarding your current activities and goals and in seconds you will have a meal plan customized just for you based on your caloric need for a duration of 7 or 30
Grocery Shopping for your Meal Plan
Okay, you now have your 7-day or 30-day meal plan! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Now, you just need to consult your meal plan for a list of ingredients that you need to buy for each meal to make a grocery list. Meal Plan Maker provides you with all the ingredients needed for all the meals in your meal plan. Before you start your grocery list, we suggest creating a master check-off, ingredient list that stays on your fridge or somewhere easily accessible in your kitchen.
Creating a master ingredient list: This master list of ingredients will help you keep track of your inventory of what’s in your kitchen. Start by looking through each of the recipes in your meal plan. Grab the ingredients for each meal and add each to a list to make up the master list of all of things you’ll need for the week or month. You can use something simple like using a Word document template to create a checklist! Make sure to note how much of each item multiplied by how many servings per day, then multiplied by 7 days or 30 days. In the example below, it shows that this person needs ½ cup of brown rice once a day for 30 days. Make sure to make several copies so you can scratch off and mark up as needed. You can also add an area for the date range that the list is for. For example, 1/1 – 1/31.
Your master list should look something like this:
Make the grocery list: Carefully, go through your kitchen and cross off anything you currently have. Now you have a very accurate list that you can turn into a grocery list. This helps you not over spend on things you already have.
Start by grouping all of your ingredients together by departments in the grocery store. Then put each section in the order of how you like to go through the store. You can make it easier on yourself by leaving the frozen section of the store for the end, and if you eat meat, visit the meat department first if you want them cut your meat in a certain way.