/Say Yes to Meal Prep: First Steps in Meal Planning

Say Yes to Meal Prep: First Steps in Meal Planning

Meal planning sounds super boring, but if you have fitness/weight goals it’s almost impossible to avoid. I’m sure there are people that can just wing it, but I am not one of them. As it’s said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” With this in mind, I would like to give you some steps to help you get started planning your meals based on your personal goals. Your goals will be individual to you so I will not be discussing that topic, but I have included the following resources for guidance:

If It Fits Your Macros Calculator
My Fitness Pal

1: Invest in a Scale

Why measure your food with a multitude measuring cups when you can simply use weight? We have always had a scale in our house, so it was a no brainer to incorporate it into my meal planning. It doesn’t need to be super fancy either. There are some super high tech scales on the market, but they still do the same job as a regular kitchen scale so don’t let price be an obstacle. For around $20 you can buy an Escali scale, which has served us well on the same pair of batteries for years.

Our Escali scale that has lasted years!

Primo Digital Kitchen Scale 11Lb/5Kg, Chrome color

Once you have a scale, you can measure out portion sizes much quicker since serving sizes on nutrition labels are typically listed with weight included. It’s also super handy when preparing recipes.

2: Track and Hit Your Goals

Using the calculator above, you can get an idea of what your calorie/macro goals should be. Once you have numbers that align with what you want to achieve you can plug those into a tracking app such as My Fitness Pal. None of this is new information, but it is important if you want to get started in putting together a meal plan and succeed. As you go about building your menu for the week, you can keep an eye on the stats of the food you are using and determine if other meals need more nutrients to supplement your day than others. All this leads into my last tip:

My food for the week.

3: Build a Successful Menu

Generally we know what foods provide which nutrients. Meats give us protein, fruits and vegetables give us carbohydrates, and oils provide us with fats. Using this knowledge, try to compose meals that include aspects of all of these groups. I try to make lunch my largest meal so that I can burn off the calories in the rest of the day. Feel free to start with recipes, but as you get familiar you can take control of your menu and mix it up. The trick is to develop  find which meals you keep coming back to, either for ease or deliciousness.

This week my menu looks a little like this:

Breakfast

Lunch

  • 140g sweet potato
  • 48g Birdseye Steamfresh Ranch Flavored Cauliflower
  • 140g Nature’s Promise Garlic Herb Chicken Breast
  • 60g Birdseye Steamfresh Brussel Sprouts

Garlic herb chicken with sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.

Dinner

  • 96g Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 178g Zucchini Noodles
  • 20g Trader Joe’s Pesto

Zucchini noodles with pesto and hot Italian turkey sausage.

Snacks

My menu is not perfect, but it should give you an idea of what I’m working with. I plan to eat this every day this week. If you are worried you will get bored eating like that, make a combination of meals and freeze the ones you will not get to right away. That way they are ready for you in the coming weeks.

Have you been successful at meal planning or are there obstacles you continually find yourself facing?

DISCLOSURE:
THIS POST CONTAINS AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS, IF YOU’D PREFER NOT TO PURCHASE THROUGH ME, PLEASE LOCATE ITEM INDEPENDENTLY ON AMAZON.COM.
I AM NOT A TRAINED NUTRITIONIST OR PERSONAL TRAINER. PLEASE CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL BEFORE STARTING/CHANGING YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE PROGRAM.