Meal Planning

Meal Planning

Meal planning is great for all kinds of people. If you work long hours, you have a busy family, you’re following the 80:20 rule (you eat healthy and mindfully 80% of the time and allow yourself to be a little indulgent 20 % of the time) if you want to save some money on your shopping bill or save on food waste. Meal planning is helpful if you’re trying to be healthy, but want to save calories (or money!) for meals out or a special meal at home  once a week.

Meal planning is a great way to maintain your weight and vital if you’re trying to lose some weight. A successful dieter knows exactly what there’re eating and when; meals are often partially or fully prepared to ensure they don’t go hungry. One of the pitfalls when you’re trying to watch your weight is definitely hunger; when hungry we’re more likely to grab something sweet or fatty!  These foods may be satiating but they are also packed full of calories and low in healthy nutrients.

Knowing what your next meal is should help to keep hunger at bay especially, if it’s planned and ready to prepare. This goes for busy people too, it’s easy to opt for a ready meal or takeaway when you’re feeling tired, with meal planning you can easily have a wholesome meal each day, you’ll also find it easy to prepare lunches and snacks, helping you to avoid prepackaged foods.

Meal planning helps you to make sure your own and your families diets are healthy, balanced and nutritious! 

Follow the steps below, you’ll soon get into the swing of it!. It will get easier, quicker and as an added bonus you’ll be surprised how much money you can save!

Step 1

  • Have a look at what you already have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer.
  • Can you base your meals around the ingredients that you have?

Step 2

  • You can download my planner or use your own.
  • Fill in your main meals first. Avoid making meals with left over ingredients, unless you can use them in another meal.
  • Take a good look at your meals; will you have leftovers? Can you add these to another meal or snack? Can you make more of some meals and freeze extra portions for the coming weeks or for lunches?

Step 3

  • Plan your lunches: can you have leftovers from your meal? Can you use up some ingredients you already have for your main meals?
  • Plan any snacks-be mindful of the ingredients used in main meals and lunches.

Snacking on fruit and vegetables with a yogurt or pot of hummus is a great way to add extra fruit and vegetables.

Step 4

  • Breakfast, if you’re looking to make some changes, why not start now and plan some healthy breakfast options.

Step 5

  • Write a shopping list and stick to it, you’ve planned your meals you really don’t need any other foods!
  • Avoid buy one get one free, unless it’s on fruit and veg that you’ve planned for or dry goods you’re definitely going to use up.

Time savers:

  • When unpacking the shopping simple things like slicing your meat, chicken or fish before storing in the fridge or freezer,  really does makes cooking quicker.
  • You can also put meat, chicken, fish or veggie alternative straight into a freezer bag with some marinade, herbs and spices. Freeze or cook the next day.
  • Most vegetables can be sautéed in a little oil/fat and then frozen in portions ready to use.

It’s easy to chop up extra quantities when preparing a meal, remove from the pan before completely cooked, cool and freeze in portions. Defrost or cook from frozen.

Lots of vegetables can be prepared this way, e.g. onions, garlic, grated carrots, courgettes, peppers, shredded cabbage, sliced mushrooms.

  • Batch cook Tomato&vegsauces and freeze in portions ready to make into: pasta bake, or add to mince for a quick Bolognese, top pita breads for homemade pizzas or add some spices and beans to make a quick chili.
  • Batch cook soup and freeze in portions for quick healthy lunch options.

Click here to download a meal planning template>

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