Most people are looking for one or more of these results when they’re trying to establish a healthy habit, even if it is one that appears only once per week.
- Our health routine can eliminate the anxiety that comes with an on-again, off-again relationship
- Get rid of any bad habits
- Changes in our energy, mood, or body
- Less daily stress
- Increased productivity and mental clarity
- Feeling in control over our appetite
- Consistency that feels effortless leads to self-confidence.
Before we get into the details of how weekly meal planning works, let us share a very important message. Your journey to healthy habits will not be perfect. You might be looking at the above list with an attitude of “Yeah! I need to lose weight.” or “I need to make a change in my body.” Or, “Yep, I eat way too much. Appetite control sounds like what I need!”
We ask you to stop and listen. This is your body talking to you, not our social conditioning. You are beautiful. You are extraordinary. You are amazing. It is a great accomplishment to take the time to nurture yourself and give it your best. It shouldn’t be a punishment for your body. You are not trying to change your weight. You will eventually fail if your meal planning is too restrictive and based on guilt, fear, or restriction. You’ll lose out on the many benefits of meal planning and it will be difficult to stick with.
Is meal planning a part of your daily routine that helps you find balance? Yes! The happier we are, the more we can be proud of our non-weight achievements and consistency. So, rant over. Let’s look at five positive outcomes you may experience when meal planning is done properly. In order to make your life easier, meal planning involves taking the time to plan, shop for, and prepare meals for the week.
- Save your money
You can save more than $1,000 per year, whether you are a master-budgeter in the store or a convenience shopper. A grocery list is a key step in weekly meal planning. It can help us spend 40% less shopping than if we don’t have one. You can then buy yourself something to reward yourself for following your monthly meal planning process.
- Kitchen confidence
For those who think that fancy recipes and meal planning will never be your thing due to the fact that you ate too much oatmeal last week, take a deep breath. It’s okay to not feel comfortable in the kitchen. Start small with your weekly meal plan. You might start by cutting raw vegetables into bite-sized pieces for quick snacks or portioning your nuts and crackers in small containers. Or you could make simple sheet pan or salad recipes that are easy to throw in the oven. You’ll soon have many go-to recipes for dinner, breakfast, and lunch.
You will be able to add your own spices, change the ingredients, and even experiment with your own recipes. It’s important to remember that kitchen confidence can be a motivator to continue cooking. It encourages us to share our knowledge with others. This is a great feeling. It calms our overwhelm and gives rise to the effortlessness and ease we have been longing for.
- Balance your appetite
Let us tell you about the benefits of having an appetite that is balanced and not controlled by us. We can be busy people who eat fast and skip meals. Or we may eat out a lot and end up with 3 glasses of wine after a long day. It’s almost certain that your appetite is not in control if you experience one or more of these things on a regular basis. Your body may be in a state of starvation, which can have a negative impact on your blood sugar, energy, and hormones.
Unsane meal times can lead to cravings for unhealthy foods, which can affect our sleep quality and cause fogginess in our brains. Although we all have unique physiological characteristics, our bodies follow a similar daily path. The metabolism is at its peak in the morning and needs to be fuelled to keep it going throughout the day. Midday is when our energy levels peak and it’s the best time to eat our largest meal of the day. The body is preparing to rejuvenate, detoxify, and repair itself from the evening onwards. This slows down metabolism. Planning ahead and having ready-to-eat meals for 3-4 days is a great way to avoid missing meals and eating unhealthy foods.
- Peace of mind during the week
Let’s just work with that! Think of the week. It might be a bit more difficult to get up to go to the gym on Wednesday. Our decision-making ability has been working thousands of times every day and we are ready to take a break. Imagine you’re done with work on Wednesday night and suddenly the annoying question in your head pops up… “Ugh! What am I going to have for dinner?” There is nothing in the fridge.
You know you want to cook, but don’t have any idea what. You decide to go to the grocery store and buy some chicken, vegetables, and potatoes. When you return home, you find that you don’t have any cooking oils and that you are short on salt. You are now grumpy and have to return to the shop. It takes you a while to get home from work, so you make a late dinner. You eat the Twix that you bought the second time you went back to the store. Pretty soon, it feels like there is no time for sleep and the next day is almost here. What if you had planned to cook enough chicken and vegetables for at least three dinners each week? You can reheat, watch Netflix, and then chill out on Wednesday night. This benefit of calmness is available during stressful times, but it can also be used throughout the week by simply planning ahead.
- Feeling uplifted
It has been shown that creativity can improve our mood. We can be creative when we make our own meals and plan a week of healthy food. Many people say that cooking can be a stress reliever. It’s almost like journaling, listening to music or painting. Meal planning can also boost moods. When we skip meals, we get hungry. An imbalance in meal timing or portion can lead to depression, irritability and brain fog. This can be used as a simple experiment for the next week.
Pay attention to your mood and check in with yourself to find out what you last ate. Try eating some whole fruit, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, crackers, or a piece of fruit if it’s been a while. You might feel a second wind in a matter of minutes. It’s important to check with your doctor before you make any changes in your health. These suggestions are not meant to be nutritional advice. We believe that each person is unique and should take this into account when choosing food. Start small and work your way up. You should celebrate your progress and not perfection. You should keep checking in with yourself to ensure that you are still feeling balanced, in moderation, and not stuck in a restrictive diet.