How Meal Planning Can Help You Get Healthy & Save Money
After a long day, coming home and thinking of what to throw together to create a delicious meal can feel like a daunting task. We often push cooking and eating healthily to the bottom of the priority list.
This is where meal planning comes into the equation. It is one of the best and easiest things you can do, regardless of your circumstances.
Whether you’re cooking for just yourself, your partner or perhaps your entire family, meal planning has a multitude of benefits. It will save you time, effort and money. What’s more, it will really help you stick to healthy eating goals. You’re not as likely to reach for less nutritious options once you have a set plan in place.
There are no rules when it comes to meal planning. It is a very personal thing, what works for one person might not work for another. The most important thing is that it’s effective and as enjoyable and stress-free as possible!
Meal plan & prep tips and tricks for busy schedules
Here are five practical tips for meal planning:
- Start by setting achievable goals: Rather than trying to overhaul your entire diet at once, focus on setting small, achievable goals for yourself. For example, you might start by planning out one week's worth of healthy breakfasts, or by prepping lunches for the work week in advance.
- Plan meals around seasonal produce: Eating seasonally can be a great way to save money and enjoy the freshest, most flavorful produce available. Consider planning your meals around seasonal fruits and vegetables, and look for recipes that showcase these ingredients.
- Invest in high-quality storage containers: Having the right storage containers can make meal planning and prep much more manageable. Look for containers that are leak-proof, microwave and freezer safe, and that come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs.
- Prep meals and snacks in advance: Whether you're a fan of batch cooking or prefer to prep meals as you go, having healthy meals and snacks on hand can be a lifesaver on busy days. Consider prepping ingredients like chopped vegetables, grilled chicken, or hard boiled eggs to have on hand for quick and easy meal assembly.
- Be flexible and adaptable: Meal planning doesn't have to be a rigid, inflexible process. Be willing to adapt your plans as needed based on your schedule, your mood, and your cravings. Consider keeping a variety of staple ingredients on hand, like frozen vegetables, canned beans, and whole grains, that can be easily incorporated into a variety of different meals.
Download and print my Weekly Meal Planner so you can write out your meals and stick it on your fridge. This will help you stick with the plan.
It’s always a good idea to compile a shopping list and head out to the grocery store on a Sunday. This way you are sure to kick-start your week off in a positive way, with a fully-stocked kitchen and a clear plan for what you’ll eat throughout the week. This will help put your mind at ease and will ensure you keep on track with your healthy eating goals. It might seem like a lot of effort at the time, but after a few weeks of deciding what you want to eat, jotting down the ingredients and heading out to buy them, it will soon become a habit and will require minimal thought or effort. This method will also reduce the temptation to make impulse purchases in store.
Before long you’ll be able to identify a few ‘go-to’ meals, snacks or ingredients which are likely to feature on your plan every week. Examples might include, boiled eggs, veggie crudités and hummus, cooked quinoa, a bag of coleslaw mix, to name a few. When you have a few of these staples prepped it minimises the likelihood of getting stressed in the kitchen! I also find it helpful to roast a large batch of vegetables which can be incorporated in various meals throughout the week. Once you’ve established what these staples are, you’ll find it really easy to experiment with new recipes. This adds a bit of variety to your weekly menu!
So why not give meal planning a shot? It might require a little extra time and creativity but it doesn’t have to be difficult and it’s completely worth it. For ideas of some simple and nutritious meals and snacks, take a look at some of the recipes linked below and on the Vibrant Nutrition Healthy Recipes Blog:
Discover the Vibrant Nutrition Meal Plan Shop
If you'd rather buy a done for you meal plan have a look in my Meal Plan Shop. Tailored, delicious, and convenient meal plans, recipes & shopping lists are included with each weekly meal plan.
Our meal plans are designed to suit a range of dietary requirements and preferences, including anti-candida, alkaline meal plan and anti-inflammatory diet plans. There are always gluten-free options and swaps for other foods you may be looking to avoid. They help reduce food waste, reduce stress, lose weight and can be used to batch cook to save time.
We also offer personalised meal plans that are tailored to your specific nutritional needs and goals. Our nutritionist can work with you to create a plan that fits your lifestyle and helps you achieve your health and wellness goals. With Vibrant Nutrition, meal planning has never been easier or more delicious. Email [email protected] and we'll send you the questionnaires to get started on your personal plan.