Whether you are trying to build muscle or eat healthily, meal planning is an easy step to achieving your goals. Besides, a homemade meal is healthier compared to industrial food or fast food eaten on the go.
Why you should plan your meals
Have you ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen?” It’s true. Planning meals will allow you to control your proportions, which will stop you from overeating and ultimately avoid gaining weight. Meal planning also eliminates cravings because you will have a balanced meal at your fingertips, filled with nutrient-dense food prepped and ready to go!
In addition to not spending money at restaurants, meal planning also involves buying items in bulk, which can be a huge money saver. Sticking to what’s on the list also avoids impulse buys at the grocery store.
Check out these 7 tips that will help you with meal planning.
- Cook extra portions
Start by preparing larger quantities of food first. If you are cooking a delicious sweet potato curry this Sunday, cook 2-3 more servings. When you’re done, your Monday lunchtime meal will be ready! Remember to also cook your side dishes (quinoa, rice, pasta, etc.) in advance. You can easily store the extra portions in the fridge and use them the next day, for example, in a salad.
- Store your meals properly
Make sure you have enough containers to store and transport your meals. Watch out for plastic storage containers that may contain bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, and opt for eco-friendly alternatives instead. You can easily transport your homemade smoothies in glass bottles or pack your famous oatmeal porridge with dried fruits and nuts in small jars. Stainless steel containers will work well for salads or curries.
3. Smoothies to go
If you are running late, there’s nothing that can help you save time like a good smoothie: You can prepare it in minutes. Cut portions of fruits and vegetables into chunks and freeze them to retain all their vitamins and minerals. Then pop them in the blender the next morning and voila, your healthy breakfast is ready in a snap!
4. Hard-boiled eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and vitamins. Hard-boiled eggs also go very well with different kinds of salads and it is an ideal snack to satisfy cravings! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to cook more than five eggs at a time in a standard pan. The solution is to bake them in the oven. Preheat your oven to 170°C, line a muffin tin/muffin tray with a dozen eggs, and bake them for about 30 minutes. And There you go! Your supply of hard-boiled eggs for the week is ready.
5. Make good use of your freezer
Did you cook a lot of food but don’t feel like eating the same thing all week? No problem: many dishes (curries, stews, soups, etc.) can be stored perfectly well in the freezer.
6. Prepare healthy little snacks to eat between meals
Do you have a sudden craving for sweets? Your body is letting you know that it needs the energy to keep running at full speed! So be prepared: Fill small jars with nuts, (dried) fruit, or pieces of dark chocolate and bring them to work. Take advantage of any time you have over the weekend to prepare energy balls ( dried fruit, oatmeal, etc.) that you can snack on during the week, at the office, if you feel a craving coming.
7. Introduce variety to your diet
If you eat the same thing every day it can get boring very quickly! Planning your meals allows you to eat healthier and above all introduce some variety to your meals. However, don’t be rigid about it! From time to time, allow yourself a lunch with colleagues or a romantic restaurant in the evening. Just make sure that you continue your healthy and balanced routine.
Whether you’re cooking for your entire family or just yourself, taking the time to plan your meals for the week ahead is definitely worth the effort. The key is just to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it.