Friday, 10 May 2013

Sponsored post - How to produce the perfect meal plan

How to Produce the Perfect Meal Plan

We are constantly seeking new ways to lose weight or eat healthier, reduce the amount of out of date food we are throwing away or make our weekly food budget go just a little bit further. The ideal way and perhaps the only way to do all four simultaneously is to create weekly meal plans around your existing schedule. Sound like hard work? Actually it is easier than you might think.

Firstly, it may serve you well to separate your meals into those which are essential for the supply of energy and nutrition your body requires, such as weekday lunches/dinners, when there is a minimal amount of time available for the 'making/preparing' process and then everything else such as Sunday lunch when you may have plenty of time to create a sumptuous feast.

Don't wait until you are hungry to plan your meal

As a general rule, if you leave it until you are hungry to prepare a meal then you are much more likely to reach for convenience foods or even order in a pizza or some other take-away junk, rather than spend time preparing a nutritious meal. This is often where a diet will fall down as hunger and convenience take over.

Meal planning may take a while but it will save so much during the rest of the week, when you need it most and it will allow you to stock the necessary foods and better control cupboard staples which can so often go out of date.

Five Steps to Perfect Meal Planning

1.      Fix a weekly time (ideally a Saturday morning) to sit down with cookbooks and flick through to find the recipes you want to use in the week ahead, marking them with post-it notes.
2.      Create a weekly worksheet of mealtimes and go through it to cross out any meals which will be eaten out, such as dinner with friends or a work social.
3.      With the marked recipes from the cookbooks, match each to an open mealtime on the schedule, being sure to make notes of anything that needs advance preparation in a 'Prep for Tomorrow' section.
4.      It is also helpful to list at least two snacks on the sheet to guarantee healthy snack options for the week.
5.      While matching recipes to meals, make a note of any ingredients within the shopping list section, it is no good planning meals then not having the ingredients to make them. A midweek mini-shop may be required to restock fresh produce, in which case one main and one supplementary shopping list can be created.

A little investment in time at the weekend will pay dividends during the week

Once established you will be able to reuse your favourite recipes, negating the need for so much time spent leafing through cookbooks. An ideal meal plan may seem like hard work initially but it is guaranteed to save you time, not to mention stress, during the week, it can help you eliminate junk food entirely, allowing you to eat healthier, waste less and ultimately save money.

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