If someone were to ask us what our most important tool for weight loss is, we’d have to say meal planning. Very few things are harder than turning down convenient fast food when you’re on the fence between hungry and angry and ready to eat anything in sight to tame the hangry beast. We’ve been there. SO. MANY. TIMES. And these are the times that throw us off track most often.
Because these slip-ups are inevitable, it’s best to try to keep them as few and far between as humanly possible. Staying on track is all about staying ahead of the hunger. Having meals and snacks planned out and budgeted (points, calories, whatever you measure) for the week keeps you from having to guess what your next meal will be and leaves less room for error, binges, and mistakes. Whatever your weakness, whether it’s chips or burgers or burrito bowls, if it’s convenient, it’s probably what you’re going to reach for if you don’t have a plan.
Here’s our tried-and-true method for meal planning.
Pick a day to plan and grocery shop. If you don’t have time to do both in the same day, find two different days, preferably one after the other, to do them. For example, plan on Saturday, shop on Sunday. You’ll also need some meal prep time, but we’ll get to that.
Grocery delivery services: If you have the room in your budget, using a grocery delivery service such as Amazon Fresh or Instacart could save you time and make it easier for you to set yourself up for success.
Plan. Get out your cookbooks (if you have a lot, grab your favorites), and create a schedule: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day until your next shopping day. If you’re a snacker, be sure to factor those in, as well.
Weight Watchers tip! Calculate all your meal points ahead of time, that way, you know how many you’re eating each day and you know how much wiggle room you have for snacks and maybe a little dessert or splurge here and there.
Shop. Like in any other situation where you will be tempted by food, go with a plan (and don’t go on an empty stomach). The hangry monster has no business in the grocery store! We’re sure you’ve heard this a million times, but try to stay on the perimeter of the store. The aisles tend to contain the things that aren’t as good for the health conscious, and we’re all about the fresh ingredients.
Unpack and organize everything. Once at home, be sure to organize all of your groceries. What are you going to need first? What needs to be frozen?
Be sure to prep as much as possible, as soon as possible. Cut all the veggies and fruit you’ll need and portion them out. Store your healthy snacks in clear view in your fridge, pantry, and on the counter. If it’s easy to access, you’ll be more likely to reach for it when you get hungry or snacky.
Bonus tip: Prep your breakfast and lunch the day before. It may seem like common sense, but even if you don’t feel like it, make the effort. That way, it’s easier to grab in the morning, save you time, and you’ll be more likely to take it, even if you’re in a rush.
Bottom line: Always be setting yourself up for success!
We’re always looking for better ways to make healthy living easier. Let us know your meal planning tips in the comments!