Meal planning can be one of the single most important aspects of developing a healthy lifestyle. When we are unable to visualize the future of our eating, it can be very easy to succumb to the temptations of unhealthy foods that we have become addicted to. Especially if it is our habit to eat them rather than eating the foods that will nourish us. Meal planning is quite an endeavor. It can be somewhat intimidating, especially to somebody who suffers with organization. If you find yourself having a hard time with meal planning, don’t fret. There are many ways that you can begin to delve into meal planning that are fun and easy, whether you struggle with creativity in the kitchen or not.
There are many meal planning kits that you can buy. Many of them have the option of ordering boxes full of fresh foods to cook with and include recipes that you can use. This can be very helpful if you are not used to cooking, which is often the case. Especially when poor eating habits and a busy work schedule make it seem difficult to carve out the time necessary in order to make full, nourishing meals. The first step in meal planning is research. If you are going to get yourself healthy, you have to look at your options. Researching recipes is the best first place to start. Accumulating a binder full of healthy foods that you want to try out can be both fun and educational. It will open your mind to several food possibilities you may have otherwise scoffed at as too difficult for you to prepare, or maybe teach you things you had never known before. Recipes can be very mind-opening. Especially when you are interested in making new discoveries. Cooking can be a hard habit to get into, but once you begin to master it, you will be surprised by just how much freedom you can find in putting a meal together for yourself that is both health-conscious and delicious!
Look at recipe books and magazines and get an accumulation of recipes that you want to try. Start with the things that look the most delicious and nourishing, and if you are a novice in the kitchen, you may also want to look to the things that seem the most simple.
Next, you should keep your recipes organized in a simple way that is easy to navigate. If you find yourself overwhelmed by a lack of organization, it will make meal planning that much more difficult. When you are beginning a new habit, you want to make sure that you are doing everything as simply as possible. Too much change at once can be demanding on your system, and you should always try to implement small, easy changes until they have become a new habit. Make sure that they are easily accessible, so that when you want to begin preparing your meal you can do so easily. If you are using a binder, you may want to consider laminating the pages or using plastic sleeves, so that if you are using it in the kitchen, they are not affected by water or other food contamination. When you organize your recipes, it would help to put them in order of breakfast meals, lunch meals, dinner meals, and snacks. This will help you to reference the proper recipes more easily once you begin to start cooking. If you like, you could even organize your binder by day of the week, and have your meals planned out for every day and printed out in the binder that way.
There are many ways you could organize your recipes. Do what seems to make the most sense to you intuitively. Don’t force yourself to adhere to a type of organization that doesn’t work for you. Instead, make sure that you are doing what works best for you in your own life. Make sure that you are taking the time to regularly seek out new recipes that stand out to you to keep your creative juices flowing and your kitchen exciting. There are many types of recipes you can try, and the more you attempt, the more interesting going on a journey of healthy eating can be!
Next, you should explore software such as Excel on Microsoft Office that will help you to organize your meal planning. On Excel you will find a plethora of templates you can choose from to help yourself plan out your meals by the day, time, and week. This can be a hugely valuable resource! If you would prefer not to use excel, there are also apps you could download on your phone or tablet or another device to help you to utilize your time and resources better. You can even go the old fashioned route and buy a notebook that is specially designed toward planning meals.
This is an important step in making sure your meals are organized and easily accessible. Having a meal plan is extremely helpful when it comes to embarking upon a journey of healthy eating. Creating good habits takes time and patience, and it is inevitable that you will slip somewhere along the way. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay stuck on the ground! Actually, it just means that you are going to have to get back up and keep trying, because giving up is far easier than sticking to your plans. One thing that can really help when it comes to meal planning is sticking with the theme. For example, a lot of people have specific themes like taco Tuesday or another day that is assigned for a specific type of meal. If you think that would help you to stay on track, feel free to imitate that type of meal planning. It is done for a reason, because it works and it helps to keep things simple and streamlined.
It can be very annoying to find yourself stuck doing a lot of planning and preparation every single week or month, so if you want to keep things easy, that can be a good way to do it. You could have a theme for biweekly meals, such as taco Tuesday one night and maybe rice and vegetables Tuesday the next and alternate between them. There is no wrong way to plan your meals. What you have to make sure you do is to observe follow through.
Without follow-through, everything else becomes redundant and difficult. Something that can truly help you to succeed at meal planning is accountability. If you let somebody who knows you and cares about you know that you are attempting to plan your meals, ask them if they would be willing to help you to stick to your routine. They can help you by asking questions about how things are going and whether or not you are staying on track. They may also choose to encourage you and cheer you on through your endeavors. However they choose to support you, they can be very rewarding for both of you. If they are a positive and supportive person, it can be great to know that you have people rallied in your corner who truly want you to succeed. Just make sure that you are weeding out toxic people who bring you down by turning the attention onto themselves or by making you feel as if it will be difficult for you to accomplish your goals. Sure, constructive feedback can be incredibly useful, but if you are not seeking constructive feedback, it can at times be toxic. Make sure you understand the difference between a toxic person masquerading as a supportive person and a supportive person who truly wants to see you thrive.
Another way to take accountability is by taking personal accountability. Personal accountability can be achieved through journaling and self affirmations. Talking to yourself about your goals, what do you do it internally or out loud, can be a good way to help you to stay focused and ask yourself whether or not you are doing the things that you hope to accomplish. If you find that you are not, instead of beating yourself up about it, consider your obstacles and move on as you begin to uncover them. The only way you will ever be a failure is if you do not try. If you try, everything will ultimately fall into place because you are making an effort and creating positive changes in your life.
Journaling is useful for many reasons. They can help you to write down what you have eaten and when and how much. This will give you a good idea of what you can realistically expect from yourself. The things that you are unhappy with, you should address and take note of. But instead of being angry at yourself for not being a trickle right away, remember that it is a process and you need to go slowly. Instead of implementing an entire change in routine and planning out every meal for the next month when you have never done it before, instead, start slow by easing into one or two meals a week, and then gradually adding in the rest as you feel comfortable with the process. Make it something that does not shock your system. Gradual change is the most lasting. And journaling about your experiences will help you to uncover your innermost thoughts about the process and things that you might not even realize were holding you back. You will begin to sense patterns in your behavior and possibly predict when you might find yourself tempted to get off track and why. If you are able to identify these trigger points, it will be easier to avoid them in the future.
Meal planning can be a very fun and exciting endeavor. Even if you aren’t the type who enjoys that type of organization, it can be very rewarding to think about exactly what you are going to be putting in your body and take the steps necessary in actually doing so. Everybody deserves a chance to become the healthiest and most healthy version of themselves possible, and with meal planning and a healthy dose of self-esteem, you will be well on your way to a lifestyle of healthy eating.