It’s time for waist-trimming, body-loving change, but where do you begin? When you’ve been living the typical American lifestyle, complete with refined sugar, too much sodium, and excess fat, it can be intimidating to launch that whole body makeover you need and deserve. Bookmark and use this guide to healthy meal planning to jumpstart a new and improved version of you.
Organization can be half the battle when you want to make planning healthy meals a permanent part of your lifestyle. Find a way to keep track of shopping lists with a method that suits you best, whether it’s downloading a grocery app or going pen-and-paper with our FREE Clean-Eating Menu Planner. No matter what method you choose it will cut back on time and hassle.
Look at the upcoming week’s schedule.
When you want to stick to healthy meal planning, taking your calendar into consideration can be a sanity saver. If it’s a super-busy week, then you’ll want to plan Slow Cooker Meals or Quick-Prep Recipes. Feeding a hungry gang? Then you’re looking for easy, healthy snacks or meal ideas. Don’t forget to plan for some meals that yield leftovers. Then take note of how many recipes you’ll need to prepare. For example: 3 Breakfasts/5 Lunches/5 Dinners.
Choose your recipes.
Now you’re ready to start healthy meal planning. As you hunt through recipes, remember to look at serving information too, so you’ll know how many servings to expect. Check out these tasty recipe resources:
When possible, plan the week’s recipes using meals with like ingredients. Not only does the shorter list save you time at the grocery store, but it can also trim the final cost because you may be able to buy in larger or bulk quantities.
Buying in-season produce is typically less expensive than shopping out of season; however, there’s another important bonus: it’s less hassle. In-season produce is easier to find, which means you’re not stuck playing find-the-fruit by trekking to different grocery stores. Make the most out of shopping for local fruits and veggies with our Farmer’s Market Shopping Guide.
Grab the list and Shop.
You’ve got your recipes, you’ve got your ingredient list…now it’s time to hit the aisles. Many of the healthiest foods are found around the perimeter of the grocery store. Always read nutrition labels and be extra aware of the Other Names for Refined Sugar.
Be prepared for substitutions.
UGHH! It’s frustrating to go to the grocery store only to find it doesn’t have a key ingredient. Use your smartphone to look for ingredient substitutions. You can also keep a few stand-by, no-fuss recipes bookmarked on your phone to have on hand in case you can’t find or substitute ingredients for a recipe you’d planned to prep this week.
Create a Favorite Recipe file.
Once you get into the swing of healthy meal planning, you’ll want to hang onto the recipes that make you and the family say “Yum!” Use a recipe-keeping method that’s convenient for you to store the favorites—don’t forget to add notes about any alterations you made during prep for future reference.
Try new healthy recipes.
Even family favorites can get stale after a while if you’re serving them week in, week out. Include at least one new recipe each week in your healthy meal planning so you can enjoy all the deliciousness and variety clean-eating recipes offer. Get started with Meatless Monday Recipes or No Sugar Added Skinny Desserts.
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