Eat this much – What is a healthy amount to eat?
Best tips for meal preparation. Easier and quicker than ever before.
This is the biggest killer of any new habit, routine, or major lifestyle change. Obsessing overdoing it perfectly from the get-go is a (figurative) recipe for disaster. Remember to pace yourself and be forgiving when you make a mistake. No one masters the art of meal planning overnight, especially not when doing so for an entire month at a time. Also, check out our Ultimate Guide on How To Meal Plan for more insight on meal planning success.
Some of us need to be gradually eased into new things, not enduring the abrupt shift. If that sounds like you start by planning a few meals each week, then graduating up to entire days, weeks, and so on. It’s a big adjustment to begin monthly meal planning and prepping, and there’s no shame in pacing yourself.
Having a regular ‘cheat meal’ or entire ‘cheat day’ can lead to multiple days, then a week, and then you’re back to the beginning. Instead of allowing yourself the occasional indulgence (which, let’s be honest, always becomes an overindulgence) in a restricted food, find something similar in taste and texture. ‘Dessert’ and ‘healthy’ don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
You aren’t using a meal planner to ensure you eat a very specific food on a very specific day, you’re doing it to eat better everyday. Maybe you or someone in your home really isn’t a fan of something on the menu, no matter how many attempts have been made. Maybe there’s a recipe that never looks (or tastes) quite right when you make it. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon the plan altogether. Find an alternative that has the same or similar nutrients, such as being high in iron or B 12, and substitute that in. Doing this once in a while won’t ruin your meal planning, but continuing to be frustrated or upset over certain menu choices will.
Dietary restrictions aren’t exclusively to allergies or intolerance. Perhaps what seems to be a case of picky eating is actually a sensory processing challenge because of ADHD or autism. A sudden increase in fiber intake might be distressing to your gastrointestinal system. Grapefruit shouldn’t be eaten by people taking certain medications as it can block an enzyme which metabolizes them, causing an excess of the medication to directly enter the bloodstream. Chia seeds can cause very low blood pressure in some people because they’re so high in omega 3. Other foods are known to trigger migraines or exacerbate asthma symptoms. It’s important to be aware of any interactions certain foods could have with your medication or health concerns.
In a perfect world we have more than enough time to do all of our prep work at the beginning of each week. Sadly we don’t live in that world, and trying to squeeze everything in on Sunday isn’t always realistic. If something has to be done the night before or even the morning of, that’s okay.
It’s tempting to hop on Pinterest in hopes of finding some incredible new recipes to try out, only to feel overwhelmed by everything you find. Having personalized recipes and meal plans delivered to you will eliminate the risk of that happening. If you’re having a hard time staying organized maybe the planner or app you’re using isn’t the right fit for you, or maybe you’re giving up on them too quickly. Try one and stick with it for a while before deciding you don’t like it, or you’ll end up spending more money on buying these planners, apps, and subscription than necessary.
If you’re the type of person that swears they can burn water, then you’re probably shuddering at the thought of crafting fancy meals every day. But the point of meal planning isn’t fancy, it’s simplicity, and healthy can be very simple. Remember that recipes aren’t only tailored to dietary needs or preferences, they’re also tailor to skill level. Start out with simpler dishes with less prep time or fewer ingredients, or you’ll find yourself getting very discouraged very quickly.
Whether it’s to save time or money, lose weight, or have a diet that accommodates a health concern, it’s important to keep the original intention in mind. If you get too caught up in the aspects of meal planning that you’re not enjoying you fail to see how it’s contributing to your health goals. You didn’t start meal planning to become a better meal planner, you started because you want something out of meal planning. When you’re feeling frustrated or discouraged, remember your health goals to stay motivated.
If you’re meal planning for an entire month you need to be conscientious of everything else going on in that month. When you’re only looking at the week ahead you’re less likely to forget any events and outings you might have scheduled. But things happening three weeks from now can feel very ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Keep the calendar nearby when sitting down to plan out the month so you don’t neglect to take into account any important happenings down the road.