By: Chelle Stein
Planning your meals for your diet on your own can be a little intimidating at first. Many diets include sample meal plans that you can follow for awhile, but unless you don't mind having three weeks of exactly the same foods over and over again, learning how to plan your own diet meal plans will make sure you don't lose interest in the foods you are eating on your diet. It will also help you eat healthy for life - not just while dieting.
Here are 5 Tips to Make Diet Meal Planning Easier:
1. Understand Your Diet: There are hundreds of diets available to try. I follow a simple diet that involves only cutting out extra calories, sugar, fat, and eating balanced nutritious meals. Most diets are similar in structure, but not all are the same. Understanding how your diet works will help you identify foods to include in your diet and which foods to avoid. Most diet and weight loss programs explain the research and scientific data behind their weight loss plan - the better you understand this information, the easier it will be to make food choices on your own.
2. Schedule Meal Planning Time: Having a scheduled time in your week when you sit down for a half an hour or an hour to create a meal plan may seem like a waste of time at first - until you realize that it saves you time later down the road. Pick a day and a time that you can devote to meal planning and stick to it. Making it a part of your routine will help make meal planning easier.
3. Create a Grocery List: When you create a meal plan, it helps to also make a shopping list of the necessary groceries and supplies you will need. This can save you not only headaches and time but money if you plan accordingly for the meals you will eat throughout the week. For example, one night you could cook chicken breast, and then save any leftovers to be used the next day for lunch or revamp it for another dinner.
4. Allow for unexpected surprises: There will be days when your schedule is so hectic that you may not have time to eat the foods you originally planned. Be prepared for those types of days by having nutritious snacks available as well as the most friendly diet options you can choose at restaurants or the drive through window.
5. Keep a Note Board: Whether you decide to use a dry erase board or simply a sheet of paper with a pencil attached that you access easily, a note board is a great way to be more organized and efficient when planning your meals and grocery shopping. For example, you may notice one night while cooking that you are running low on important ingredients or you may get an idea for another meal you can try. Having a note board will let you jot down ideas quickly, as well as communicate with others living in your household. Then, when you sit down to create the meal plan, you will have a list that is easily accessible to work from.
Meal planning while on a diet doesn't have to be a chore, and you do not have to be attached to the diet meal plans your weight loss program provided in the beginning forever. Using samples and examples of diet plans can help give you ideas and following the 5 easy meal planning tips above will help you save not only time but money also.