Tips For Planning Your Weekly Meals

Last week I got lazy. On Sundays I always sit down and plan out my meals for the week, but last Sunday I was too busy. You would think that after all these months of being so diligent with planning and following my meals, that one week wouldn’t make a difference. Afterall, I should be able to keep myself in line even if my meals aren’t planned, right? I’m sorry to say I was very, very wrong.

Without my meals planned last week I constantly found myself being very indecisive about what I wanted to eat. This indecisiveness lead to a lot more snacking between meals and poor food choices at meal time. I am angry with myself that I let it go like that all week long. And of course, as a result my weekly weigh in was dismal. As of this morning my weight was:

211 lbs

This is a four pound gain in weight over the past week. Grrrrrr!!! It’s so frustrating. Oh well, back to basics with me. I have my meals carefully planned for this week and so far so good. No more loitering in front of the refrigerator nibbling on this and that.

Follow these five essential tips for planning your weekly meals to help you stay on track with your diet.

Follow these five essential tips for planning your weekly meals to help you stay on track with your diet.

Planning your weekly meals like I do may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are following your own diet plan then I highly recommend it to you (also see my related post “Daily Meal Planning“). You can try to just wing it when you start a diet, but you probably are not going to get very far. You won’t know exactly how many calories you are eating at each meal, and you may not be sure you are eating the right foods. You have to make sure you have a weekly plan set out for all of your meals, and then a plan to have a list from which you can pick and choose. When you have such a list, each weekly menu will be put together more quickly in the future. Here are five essential tips for planning your weekly meals:

Tip 1 – Always have a good source of nutritional information. That means you must find a good book or online source that can give you the calorie count and proper portion size for most of the foods that you see each time you go to the grocery store, as well as any prepared foods you may eat from restaurants. This book or web site will be your Bible of information so that you can always monitor your calorie consumption and make sure you are eating enough and also not too much.

Tip 2 – Along with your nutritional information source, you have to have a place to chart your progress. This can be a notebook or it can be a web site that offers such a program. Online diet trackers are so good that you may wonder how anyone kept track before they existed (see my post “Best Online Diet Trackers” for a few suggestions). If you have one of these, you can input your meal plan and then track how well you kept to what you thought would be a good weekly menu. Then, you can see what works, what doesn’t, and what you should adjust for the next week.

Tip 3 – Some dieters find that a pre-printed grocery list is essential when doing a weekly menu. For myself, a grocery list is a must have when I go shopping. This type of grocery list can be made at home on the computer and printed or just write it up by hand. As you work on planning your menu, you can find or create a space to put each ingredient so you are sure that you never miss anything you need for your healthy meals while you are shopping. Not only does that save you time, it also ensures you have everything so you don’t give up and eat something you should not. Also, only buy what is on your grocery list and nothing else. This helps you to avoid impulse buying of foods that are not a part of your meal plans.

Tip 4 – You can not plan a good weekly menu if you do not understand basic nutrition. If you are just learning about how to build a healthy diet and you’re not following a structured program then the best place to start for information is the food pyramid (visit the page “USDA Food Guide Pyramid“). While some suggest the food pyramid is not great for nutrition, it can lead someone in a healthy direction if they do not have a specific eating plan in mind. Study the servings of each type of food to be sure you are getting what you need each day to be healthy.

Tip 5 – Lastly, you need the will to follow that weekly menu plan once you have worked it out and ready to go. The best menu in the world is not going to help your health or help you lose weight if you can not or will not follow it. If you have gone to all of that trouble, it only makes sense to give it your full concentration and effort. Enlist family and friends to help you out if you feel as if you are slipping.

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