If you have worked with me in the past, we have more likely than not come up with a meal plan that suits your individual needs. If you have not yet worked with me, you can adopt some of my tips that I use when I create my own weekly meal plans for myself!
You can make your weekly plan anywhere that works for you – on your phone, on a piece of paper or on your calendar. If you are unsure where to start, take a look below at and download this template I have created!
I assess what I have on hand already so that I am not over stuffing my fridge and pantry with items that I already have.
Tip: Do you have a pantry full of shelf stable, canned or frozen items you maybe stocked up on when COVID hit? Is there food in the back of your cupboard or at the bottom of your freezer you need to use? Per the USDA, between 30-40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted. Plan your meals around these items you’ve been storing to prevent food waste!
2. PLAN OUT MEALS / SNACKS
Making a list once a week of meals and snacks helps me tremendously throughout the week. It helps avoid stress around the question “what’s for dinner” and when I have options ready for meals and snacks, it is one less thing I have to think about. Taking 10-15 minutes to plan this out at the beginning of the week is definitely worth the time and mental space you will save during the week had you not planned ahead!
Tips: Make sure to include protein, fats and complex carbohydrates in your meals.
Plan accordingly for the specific week. Will you be ordering take out for lunch with the office or going to a restaurant for a birthday? Do you have guests coming to see you? Do not forget to account for these things when you are figuring out what you will be eating for the week.
Some people prefer the ease in prep of eating the same meal or the same two meals all week while there are others who will not eat the same thing twice. Consider your preferences while making your plan!
Once you have your meal and snack options listed, stick to these. While you may flip flop the days of certain meals, try to stick to the meals and snacks you have planned for.
3. WRITE A SHOPPING LIST
What items do you need to purchase? Resist filling your cart with things that “look good” and simply stick to the list of items you need to complete what you have planned for the week.
Tip: Going to the store with a list helps me stay on my budget and nutrition goals! I also like choosing items that I can use in multiple meals – for example I may purchase Avocado to use in a wrap and on tacos, I may purchase pineapple to grill with shrimp and to also have as a snack. Substitute items in recipes or meals where you can to avoid having to buy something just for one meal. For example, instead of buying lettuce for one salad, I may just use kale that I also planned on buying for use in a soup. Keep things simple!
You may do the bulk of your prep on one day or prep a little bit each day. I like to make notes about what I am doing on what day. I may do the bulk of the prep one day, but include notes for other days about prep for an upcoming meal. For example, I may make a note in the middle of the week to defrost something from the freezer in anticipation of a meal for the next day or to chop up some vegetables.
Tip: Don’t skip this step! Prepping out full meals, parts of meals and snacks is key to staying on track. When you are tired after a long day or your stomach rumbles mid-afternoon and you need a snack, you may be tempted to swing by a convenience store or drive through to grab something quick. When you are hungry, your cravings will be even stronger and you will be more susceptible to doing this. When you know that you have a snack on hand or you are able to toss a meal together when you get home in no time, you can avoid the quick fixes to your hunger!