I found a couple of things that lend to healthy budget meal planning. I just thought I’d pass them along…. Namaste, The Queen Cronista
HOW TO DO A HEALTHY MEAL PLAN….##
There are as many meal plans as there are people in the world. No two people are going to like the exact same foods or be following the same diet (or way of eating, if you prefer). I’m going to show you a few ways to adapt your own eating habits, going from simple things to do all the way up to more complicated.
It all depends on how much effort you can put into it. Some people just don’t like dealing with numbers, so calorie counting is not for them. That’s fine! You need to find what works for you.
You can even combine some of the methods/tips to create something unique for you that will help you lose the fat!
The goal here is to end up with several meals and snacks that you can pick and choose from. Or if you really get into the groove, a full 7 day plan of what you’re going to eat.
What you want to avoid is the indecision you get when you’re hungry: you don’t know what to eat and end up having something unhealthy because it’s quick and easy.
That will kill any fat loss goals you have and leave you open to cravings!
Modify What You’re Eating Now If you’re pretty consistent with what you eat, what you might want to do is go through your meals/snacks and see where you can get rid of the junk food, eat the fruit instead of drinking the juice, or eat the lower fat version of certain foods (like milk, cheese).
If you feel part of the problem is that you overeat (you eat till you’re more than full), try reducing the portions that you serve yourself at mealtime and add more vegetables instead. A good rule of thumb is that half your plate should be vegetables.
Use Someone Else’s Meal Plans and Modify It
If you’re following a particular diet (either online or from a book), see if they provide meal plans. Most usually do. I find the problem with a diet’s meal plan is that it includes foods I don’t like or sometimes way too many new recipes I’d have to cook up. Take some time to go through your diet’s meal plan and switch out the meals or snacks you don’t like for foods you do like.
Find a Balance between Repeats and Variety
In talking with successful “dieters”, one thing I noticed is that we eat a lot of things over and over again. Sure, it’s always good to have a variety of foods in your diet because you want to make sure you’re getting enough protein, carbs and healthy fats, plus the necessary vitamins and minerals. But it’s not like you have to have a gazillion different meals and snacks a week.
I eat a lot of the same things each week. I have two to three different breakfasts, lunch and snacks that I eat. Since I don’t have to worry about those meals too much, I can take the time to try out different meals at suppertime, if I want. A fair amount of time, I’ll just stick to a protein plus veggie, but the option is always there to try something new.
More Effort But It Pays Off
What I do is I write out all my favorite (healthy) foods and meals; I break them down into groups like:
Protein Veggies Fruits Legumes Breads and Alternatives Fats Meal Combinations Snack Combinations
From there, I throw things into different slots depending on what program I’m following. So, if I’m doing a 3 meals and 2 snacks kind of program, I’ll create a list of breakfasts, lunches, suppers and snacks. (I tend to do this in my head, but I really should write it out!)
Then I track everything with my fitness tracker. I’ll get an idea of how many calories my meal should be from my calories per meal calculator. After that, I adjust as I go along. I watch out for calories and for the amount of carbs, protein and fat I’m eating in a day and make sure that I’m sticking to my goals.
A Few Tips and Tricks
To save time, get things ready on Sundays and Wednesdays. I’ll do things like chop veggies, grate cheese, cook some rice, etc.—whatever I can prepare ahead of time to make things easier on me during the week.
Get out the measuring cups and spoons, and a food scale if you’ve got one. Start meausring your food, so you have an idea of serving sizes. Read food labels, too, and measure out a serving size. You don’t have to measure things forever; you just want to have an idea of how much you’re eating.
Eat the fruit instead of drinking the fruit juice. You’ll feel more full after eating the fruit, plus you’ll get more fiber into your diet.
Keep junk food out of the house. Go through the fridge and food cupboard and toss anything that doesn’t fit in with your new way of eating. Out of sight/out of mind.
Track your progress a variety of ways. A scale is not totally reliable. Take measurements, body fat percentage; look at how your clothes are fitting on you. Most importantly, how are you feeling? Are you feeling energized and full of life? Or are you feeling tired and sluggish? A good healthy diet with enough calories and nutrition (along with exercise) will make you feel strong and full of energy!
I tried to keep things general since there are so many ways to create a meal plan. Hopefully, this is enough to get you started!