Want to Start Meal Planning? Check Out These Tips!

Meal Planning and Cooking Nutrition Weight-loss

Planning your meals can help you not only with saving time and money, but it can also assist you in staying on track with proper nutrition.

“When you mention planning meals ahead, you get a lot of blank stares, shrugged shoulders and looks of confusion,” says registered dietitian Sarah Muntel, RD. “The norm for many is to heat up a frozen pizza or run through fast food for a quick dinner. Planning meals can seem overwhelming at first, but there are so many positive ways your life can change for the better when you do.”

Though meal plans can sometimes seem daunting for those of us who are new to the idea, we have some tips to help make the process go smoothly. Check out these tips to learn about how you can get started with meal planning:

1. First, decide how far in advance you want to plan your meals. A week might be a good idea, but if it seems overwhelming, try planning for the next day or two instead.

2. Do your research. Check for sales at your local grocery stores and plan meals around them. Farmer’s markets are also a good idea to find budget-friendly fruits and veggies, so check to see if you have one locally.

3. Once you know the sale items, and what’s in your kitchen, check your schedule. Consider activities you have going on throughout the days of your menu planning. Would a crock-pot meal be easiest? What might you be able to prepare ahead of time?

4. Make your list and start shopping. Using a list will help ensure you get everything you need and avoid an extra trip to the store.

5. Notify your family of the plan. Get the whole family on board with eating together and let them know what you are cooking.

6. Plan variety for your meals. There are many great resources online for finding different recipes, so don’t get stuck in a rut with what you are eating. Foods from all the groups will help you get the best nutrition.

Once you’re ready to get started with crafting your meal plan, get out your pen, paper, and your laptop and start planning. Remember, progress is the key. You may only get one or two meals planned this week, but it’s a start and one step closer to better health!

Want to learn more tips and tricks for meal planning? Check out “It’s Time to Plan… Your Menu,” an article from Your Weight Matters Magazine. Your Weight Matters Magazine is the official publication of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a National non-profit organization that represents millions of individuals who struggle with weight, and who are the founders of the Your Weight Matters Campaign.

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