Meal Planning 101 + Free Printable
If you’re on a low-FODMAP diet, going vegan, or just trying to eat a little healthier, you know how difficult it can be to prep your grocery list. If you have ever paced grocery store isles without knowing what to buy, meal planning may be for you.
Meal planning allows us to feel prepared for days when we just can’t put our finger on what to make in the kitchen. Planning meals can be super helpful in formulating a healthy, successful diet and even weaning out foods that we don’t like. Here is a full guide on navigating meal planning, its benefits for those with dietary restrictions, and a free printable to prep for all 3 nutritious meals every day.
What is Meal Planning?
There are tons of mental and physical benefits to weekly meal planning. Creating a detailed list of foods that you like will help you stay focused on eating healthy. One way to approach this is to plan for three meals and two to three snacks every day. This gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of foods in your pantry throughout the day.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the stars of your meal plan with a snack between breakfast and lunch, as well as one between lunch and dinner if you would like. This helps avoid pre-dinner cravings and overeating before your meals.
Write down some recipes that you want to make each day of the week. Make sure your list has variety so you aren’t eating the same few breakfast, lunch, or dinner options every day. Then, hit the grocery store. You’ll notice how much easier it is to shop with a well-thought-out list!
Benefits of Meal Planning
Once you have your go-to foods organized, you can pick out serving sizes and look up tasty recipes to make. Consult with your healthcare provider about healthy balances of integrating new foods into your diets like proteins or fibers as you take others out.
Meal planning is helpful for everyone despite conditions, allergies, or any personal preferences. You can enjoy your favorite foods and meals by adding them to your meal prep calendar, to ensure that you’re getting the greens, veggies, and protein you need.
Meal Planning and Dietary Restrictions
Meal planning can be especially helpful for those with dietary restrictions, food intolerances, and sensitivities. If you’re switching to veganism or vegetarianism, for example, you may struggle with what meals to prepare in the beginning. Additionally, if you have IBS or similar gastrointestinal issues, your doctor might instruct you to try an elimination diet to identify the foods that you are sensitive to. In this case, again, a meal planner can be the best way to keep track of what you eat.
Any major change in diet can be tough to navigate. It may seem tricky to take out food groups that you previously ate every day like dairy products or gluten, but organizing your meals on paper will make this easier.
If you are ready to get started with weekly meal planning, look no further! Attached is a cute weekly meal planner from Everlywell that will help you feel on top of your meals and grocery list. There’s room to write down your intended meals and snacks for each day of the week. Download it here to start planning!