At Omnia Health, we understand how difficult it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle when we constantly find ourselves being pulled in a million different directions. That’s why we implement personalized plans that embrace effective and manageable approaches. It’s one of the many ways we put “Functional” into the world of healthcare.
It just so happens that amidst the growing list of responsibilities and things to do, meal planning has become a valuable tool for eating healthier on a regular basis. Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent managing the household, or just looking to simplify your daily routine, meal planning can be a game changer!
In addition to ensuring you’re getting the proper nutrition, meal planning can help you save money and reduce food waste. If you’re looking to see why so many people love this organized way of eating, take a look at these 7 steps for successfully implementing this healthy practice into your life.
Ingredient 1: Set Your Intention
Before you dive into the actual meal planning, you’ll need to define your goals. Is your priority to save time, lower the cost of groceries, or increase your overall nutrition? Identifying your objectives in advance is crucial for creating a successful meal planning strategy and for keeping you motivated along the way.
Ingredient 2: Outline A Weekly Schedule
Choose a specific day and time each week for meal planning and stick with it. As with any other healthy lifestyle change, consistency is necessary for seeing results. Having this routine in place will make sticking to your plan more realistic. As you begin to outline meals for the upcoming week, it’s wise to base them on some of your go-to recipes and family’s preferences. As you plan breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, it helps to design a visual meal calendar. This allows you to see the bigger picture to ensure you are getting the proper amount of nutrients and flavor variety.
Bonus Tip: Collect a variety of inspiring recipes you’d like to try. Peruse cookbooks, websites or meal planning apps. Just make sure the recipes you choose align with your goals of healthy eating, quick and easy meals, specific dietary requirements, or whatever else you’ve chosen to be your main focus.
Ingredient 3: Time To Take Inventory
Take a look around your kitchen and make note of what you have stocked in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. This will help you to use up existing ingredients, reduce food waste, and save money on unnecessary purchases. Once you know what you’re working with, you can begin planning your meals. Once that’s done, you’ll want to create a shopping list that includes all the ingredients you’ll need for the week. Make a conscious effort to avoid impulse purchases at the store and stay focused on sticking to your list.
Ingredient 4: Preparation Is Key
Washing, chopping as well as portioning ingredients that can be prepared in advance makes meal planning feel extremely manageable. When you are in a hurry, you’ll be glad you can just grab the perfectly portioned meat, vegetables, fruits, and other items that are ready to go. Having the ability to save the extra time and effort will help you to feel more in control of the healthier eating habits you are looking to develop.
Ingredient 5: Embrace The Art Of Flexibility
When it comes to meal planning, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Avoid overcommitting by starting with a manageable number of meals. After you’ve got the first meal planning phase down pat, you can gradually increase the amount of food scheduling and prepping. This will help you to avoid burnout.
Additionally, coming to terms with the fact that life is unpredictable and changes in plans are inevitable is extremely important. You need to be open and ready to adjust your meals as needed in order to stick with this approach to healthy eating for the long haul.
Ingredient 6: Be Cost Effective
Staying mindful of your budget during the meal planning process can be a powerful, money-saving tool. Be on the lookout for sales, embrace your inner coupon clipper, and consider buying in bulk for frequently used items. It’s also beneficial to get creative with ways to incorporate leftovers. There are so many ways to give new life to previously cooked meals. For example, last night’s roasted chicken can become today’s curry chicken salad.
Ingredient 7: Track Your Progress
The only way to find out what’s working and what needs improvement is to keep a record of your meals. Which recipes did you like? What ended up getting tossed in the trash? Were there recipes that turned out to be great on-the-go options? What foods weren’t worth the calories or left you feeling unsatisfied? Taking the time to journal your meal planning successes and shortcomings will allow you to refine your skills. And as with any other aspect of your personal healthcare journey, be sure to celebrate your milestones and successes. Every goal achieved – big or small – deserves recognition.
Making healthier choices one meal at a time.
With clear goals, commitment, and a bit of creativity, you can transform your relationship with food in your home into a healthy and happy one. The satisfaction of becoming a meal planning master and reaping the benefits of a convenient, nutritious diet is well worth the effort. And it’s just one of the many realistic lifestyle changes you can make to achieve optimal health. Our team of Functional Medicine experts is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Omnia Health’s ability to provide thorough testing, personalized plans, along with consistent accountability and support is what allows you to get successful results.