Looking to maximize your nutrition? Want to feel your absolute best? Busy schedule making it impossible to eat well? Start planning those meals!
Maximizing nutrition with meal planning involves making thoughtful and well-balanced choices to ensure you're getting a wide range of vitamins and nutrients.
What IS meal planning?!
Meal planning is the process of organizing groceries and preparing your daily food ahead of time. Many people use meal planning to ensure fewer grocery trips, to follow a budget, or to guarantee the food they're eating has specific nutritional value.
Nutrition & Meal Planning
Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet.
— National Library of Medicine
Nutrients are substances the body utilizes from food to grow and maintain our overall health. When meal planning, it is important to make a conscious effort to incorporate balanced, nutrient-rich meals.
While dietary needs vary, eating a balanced meal is very important for all nutritional goals. Your meal should incorporate a variety of food groups, prioritizing whole, organic foods if you can access them.
Shopping mostly on the outside perimeter of the grocery store will help you do this. Check out the video below from the Mayo Clinic for a quick shopping guide. 🔽
Step 1: Set Goals
Determine your specific nutritional needs and health goals.
Some common goals include...
Increased energy levels
Meeting specific dietary requirements
Improving medical conditions
Step 2: Informal Diet Assessment
Now, it's time to take a look at your current diet. What is the quality of the food you are eating? What is the quantity of food you are eating? What is your relationship with food?
Writing the answers to these questions in a journal can be very beneficial. It can help you start to look for nutrition deficiencies or excessive intake of unhealthy ingredients.
If you need help with this step, consult a medical professional.
What are some important questions to ask yourself about your diet?
Step 3: Groceries & Nutrition
Planning your meals before going to the grocery store can save you time, money, and ensure you have all ingredients for your healthy meals!
But HOW do I do this?!
Plan how many meals you want to prepare for the week. Keep your goals in mind!
Get the recipes for those meals.
Write down ALL ingredients.
Put a check next to ingredients you already have in your house.
Be flexible and resourceful — try to use recipes that contain similar ingredients or ones that you already have.
Head to the grocery store with your plan!
Step 4: Meal Prep
Your meals are planned. Your grocery shopping is done. Now what?!
Time to start meal prepping! Grab some containers and get cooking.
Consider your schedule for the week
Wash, chop, & cook your food ahead of time
Choose versatile recipes
Label & date your containers
Start cooking with no plan in mind
Ignore portion sizes
Use the same recipes every week
Limit yourself to just one meal prep a day (you can do breakfast, lunch and/or dinner!)
This process definitely takes a lot of effort, but it will save you SO much time during the week!
Meal planning can help you simplify your life and reach your nutritional goals. The hard work in planning and prepping will all be worth it!