We’re always in a rush and often don’t find time to cook a decent meal at home. Deciding what to eat, getting the ingredients and cooking meals on a daily basis can be stressful and daunting. When you concentrate all these activities into one weekly session, though, the process becomes much more manageable. Meal planning does just that, in addition to saving time, money, and keeping your weight and meals under control.
Here are 3 ways that meal planning can help with weight loss and improve your diet.
1. Less Processed Foods and Eating Out
It’s a weeknight, you’re tired and just want to go home and relax. You don’t feel like stopping by the supermarket and cooking a whole meal. So what do you do? You order take-out, heat up the pre-made frozen dinner in your freezer or stop by a restaurant on your way home. I’m all about enjoying a nice meal out or ordering in every once in a while because I need a break from cooking or just for the social experience. In fact, I include that into my weekly meal plan.
When you rely on outsourced foods several times a week, though, you sabotage your efforts of eating healthily and losing weight. Packaged foods from the supermarket, even the ones that are labeled as “healthy", often hide harmful or unhealthy ingredients that can hinder your weight loss. Eating out or ordering in is also risky. Meals prepared by restaurants are often overloaded with condiments and dressings with added sugars, so they’re not ideal if you want to maintain your weight or lose some extra pounds.
Cooking at home, on the other hand, allows you to control the ingredients you put into your body and, long-term, it's beneficial to your health and will help you maintain or lose weight.
2. Less Bad Last-Minute Decisions
When you plan your meals, you know exactly what you need to buy for the ingredients. You don't have to wander from one aisle to the other at the grocery store to decide what to buy, so you‘ll be less tempted to add unhealthy choices to your cart. You’ll shop with more awareness and be more likely to stick to what’s on your shopping list.
Once you have all the ingredients on-hand, you’re on the path to success. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of assembling ingredients and heating up your dish, which takes just a few minutes. You’ll know exactly what you have to do and how long it will take to make your meal. If you have food ready in your kitchen, you’ll be less inclined to open your pantry as soon as you get home and reach out for the first thing you can get ahold of.
3. More Variety and A Well-Balanced Diet
Meal planning can be a great tool to build a healthy, well-balanced diet. You can plan your weekly meals to include a variety of proteins, vegetables, fats and grains to ensure you get all of the nutrients you need. The internet offers an unlimited database of recipes you can pick from. Choose those that will help boost your metabolism and promote your weight loss.
If you’re concerned about the meal planning process, start small. Maybe you struggle to find time to prepare your meal and eat healthy at lunchtime? Start there. Once you get the hang of the process you can expand meal planning to breakfast and dinner too.
Get your pen and paper and start planning so you can fit healthy into your busy life, your health transformation starts now!
Do you need some inspiration? Check out here my free e-book, “3-Day Weight Loss Meal Plan” with 9 easy weight-loss recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.
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