Let’s talk about the importance of meal planning! This is different from meal prepping. Meal planning is important to set yourself up for success for the week. By planning your meals out, and I mean all of your meals including snacks and treats, you will be more likely to stick to your nutrition plan than if you wing it day to day.
The weeks that I don’t plan each of my meals tend to be the weeks that I find myself eating out more or having an extra treat that I would usually pass on. So, not only does planning help me with my nutrition, but it saves me money! Eating out can get expensive!
So, here’s how I meal plan:
Every Saturday I sit down, usually either between breakfast and going for a run or after I get back from running and have an hour to cool down (since running in Texas is always hot). I plan out every meal: breakfast (Meal 1), mid-morning snack (Meal 2), lunch (Meal 3), afternoon snack (Meal 4), and dinner (Meal 5).
I also look at my schedule for the week. If we have any events planned, I make sure to include that in the calendar. Then, I can plan my other meals accordingly. For example, we went to a wedding recently and I knew I’d be having wedding cake (yum!), probably a bigger, higher calorie dinner than usual (which was delicious by the way!), and even a few drinks (it is a wedding after all)! So, for that day, I made sure to get in a good workout and made sure that all of my meals prior to the wedding were as healthy as possible. This way, I am only splurging at one meal, instead of the entire day.
Finally, I always make sure to have protein, carbs, and fats at every meal. I plan my earlier meals to have higher carbs and dinner to have fewer carbs. Since I workout in the late afternoon, I have found that I need some carbs in my afternoon snack in order to maximize my workout time. I also try to make sure that enough variety of fruits and vegetables are planned for the day.
I have used everything from monthly calendars to notepads and scratch paper to plan my meals. Recently, I decided to create a weekly meal planner. This has helped me to stay organized and have a nice, easy visual for the week!
Just click this link to download your own printable Calendar. I hope you enjoy!!