I love planning. Writing lists, checking things off of lists. Seriously, I live for that. Meal planning, however, is a different story. I mean, I love making a meal plan, but sticking to it is hard. Not something that comes naturally to me at all. But hard as it may be, I’ve found that meal planning is probably the most valuable tool in my weight loss tool kit. It helps make sure that I’m eating a variety of foods and getting enough vegetables into my diet. It also keeps me from getting hangry (you know, hungry + angry, which only devolves and feeds on itself when I can’t figure out what to eat).
I typically meal plan twice a week: on Sundays (for Monday-Weds) and Wednesdays (for Thursday-Sunday). This means I also usually grocery shop twice a week. It would probably be cheaper and more efficient to do once a week, but by doing it twice a week, I have flexibility to incorporate food that I still have in the house during the second half of the week while also making sure that I add enough variety to keep myself sticking to it. For me, the longer out I try to meal plan, the less likely I am to stick to it.
Here’s an example of a typical Monday-Wednesday meal plan (actually, happens to be last week):
|Monday||Green juice/smoothie||Jalapeno-dill tuna salad over spinach||Crustless quiche and steamed asparagus||Slice ham; Sauerkraut & Applesauce|
|Tuesday||Green juice/smoothie||Quiche leftovers||Tuna leftovers over mixed greens + avocado||Sauerkraut & Applesauce, hard boiled egg|
|Wednesday||Green juice/smoothie||Tuna with avocado||Lemon-artichoke chicken with capers & mixed greens salad||Sauerkraut & Applesauce, pickles|
Clearly my meal plan for Thursday-Sunday involved the chicken leftovers as well as one or two new meals. I always make sure that I have snacks planned and available – sometimes I need them, sometimes I don’t (a lot of it depends on my schedule and my workouts and how/when I schedule my workouts), but if I don’t have them written into my meal plan, I may forget to buy them, not have anything on hand when I need it and end up eating something I shouldn’t or else getting myself into the aforementioned hangry state.
Do you meal plan? How far in advance? Any tips for making it easier to do and stick to?