How to Make a Healthy Meal Plan

Build the ULTIMATE customized meal plan for YOU.

Have you ever participated in one of our premade meal plans? Are you ready to learn how to make a healthy meal plan of your own?

Does your day revolve around what and when you get to eat? Mine sure does! In my dreams, I don’t have to worry about calories, but reality has other plans. To get (and stay) in shape, eating healthy is a necessity. Following a pre-made meal plan is a great way to get started, but you must eventually learn how to make a healthy meal plan yourself if you want to turn this new habit into a lifestyle!

The biggest challenge in assembling a meal plan is learning how to turn nutritious ingredients into tasty recipes. Luckily, you can find thousands of healthy options right here on Skinny Ms. Our recipes eliminate the guesswork and make this process easier than ever!

When it comes down to it, building a healthy meal plan is essentially plugging your favorite nutritious recipes into a calendar. I like to look at my eating plan as a puzzle. If pieces are missing, it’s incomplete. In this case, the puzzle pieces are things like protein, vitamins, fiber, and more. Finding delicious meals that complete your nutritional puzzle is the key to your success!

Related: How Many Calories Should You Be Eating Daily to Lose Weight?

What Makes a Healthy Meal?

Before you can make a healthy meal plan, you must learn about the components of a healthy meal. There are three necessary items in any well-rounded dish: produce, lean protein, and whole grains.

Produce – Half Your Plate

Produce includes both fruit and veggies. Choose fruits that are lower in sugar, like berries, avocado, and bananas. Some of the most nutrient-dense veggies include tomatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, and carrots. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive.

Lean Protein – One-Quarter of Your Plate

Sources of lean protein include chicken, turkey, pork, lean ground beef, fish, shrimp, crab, eggs, beans, and even tofu.

Whole Grains – One-Quarter of Your Plate

A serving of whole grains should always be on your plate. Some examples of whole grains include brown rice, oats, quinoa, or whole wheat bread.

What about “healthy fats,” you ask? Also referred to as unsaturated fat, healthy fats are found in eggs, salmon, nuts, nut butter, avocado, and olive oil. When you eat whole foods, it’s fairly easy to get enough unsaturated fat in your diet without too much worry.

How to Make a Healthy Meal Plan

Now that you know what to look for, you can begin building your very own healthy meal plan! In just five steps, you will create a perfectly customized program for you and your family.

1. Check Out the Calendar

Personally speaking, I like to plan my meals by the week. Looking at the entire month can get overwhelming, but do what makes sense for you! Be sure to look for any appointments or events that would conflict with needing a meal. For example, maybe you have lunch scheduled with your boss or dinner with the in-laws. Once you know this, you can plan accordingly to save food and money!

2. Take Inventory of the Pantry and Fridge

There’s nothing worse than buying an ingredient and realizing you didn’t need it when you get home. Okay, maybe there are worse things, but it’s frustrating nonetheless! Do yourself a favor and look in your pantry and fridge before you leave the house.

3. Compile Your Recipes

choosing recipes for meal prep

We highly recommend selecting recipes that provide you with multiple servings unless you want to cook every day. We suggest choosing no more than six recipes each week (two for breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Be sure to include recipes for any snacks and desserts you want to make, too.

Check out these awesome “easy-to-prep” recipes:

4. Create a List of Ingredients You Need and Head to the Store

grocery shopping for healthy meal prep

As you sort through your kitchen and figure out what you need to purchase for each recipe, begin to make your list. If you plan on meal-prepping ahead of time, make sure that you have the appropriate containers for divvying up recipes into serving sizes. Once you have your list, you can head to the store.

5. Get Prepping!

meal prep in mason jars

Preparing meals and snacks for an entire week (or month) may sound daunting, but setting aside designated meal-prep time makes it extremely doable! There are several meal prep ideas that will come in handy, including:

  • If you’re going to prep all your meals for the week at once, you won’t need to worry about freezing anything. If you’re only going to meal prep for half the week, be sure to place any extra meat in the freezer. Just remember to remove it from the freezer the day before your next prep day!
  • Wash, chop, dice, slice, and grate any fruits, veggies, herbs, and cheeses ahead of time. This will help save you time later.
  • Divvy up snacks like veggies, fruits, or nuts, into pre-portioned baggies to make them easy to grab and go.
  • If you’re going to use whole grains like quinoa, oats, or rice for more than one meal, consider cooking them up in big batches.
  • Whenever you’re able, utilize multiple cooking methods at once. For example, you can put a quiche in the oven, meatballs in the Crock Pot, and chicken on the grill, all at the same time.

Related: The Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Prepping

Feel free to do anything else ahead of time that you can think of! Soon you will see that creating a meal-plan isn’t complicated, but actually kind of exciting. It’s extremely rewarding to know that you are capable of making and preparing healthy and delicious meals for you and your loved ones to enjoy. All it takes is a little bit of planning and effort to build a healthy meal plan and lifestyle!

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Erin Miller

Erin is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. She is also a Performance Nutrition Coach, certified through the Clean Health Fitness Institute. Some of Erin’s favorite hobbies include hiking, kayaking, and hanging out at the beach, although weight lifting is her greatest passion. She says, “Weight training is one of the most empowering things a person can do. Not just seeing, but feeling yourself transform… There’s just nothing else like it.”

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1 Comment

  1. It is easier to have a menu planned before going shopping as you do not over buy. I have a morning per week where I go through and pick my recipes. I do tend to have a set menu for breakfast as I eat it on the train, as I head for work. If I am in the office I will have a protein shake instead.
    Lunch can be difficult but if doing a quinoa salad I will do a basic one and add Tuna one day, tomatoes, grated carrot another and mix it up a little.
    Dinner I tend to cook daily. As I have a green grocer close to home am able to get fresh fruit and vegetables as required. I still like a slice of bread occasionally.

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