Meal planning leads to healthy eating.
Many people want to eat a diet of whole, healthy, home-made foods. But without a roadmap, eating healthy meals made of whole foods can be difficult at the end of a hectic day. Lost and stressed, we wander into the pantry and grab a box of processed food, or we wander through the nearest drive-thru. Meal planning provides a roadmap to our healthy eating. Meal planning decreases eating out, improves our intake of healthy, whole foods, and decreases our grocery bill.
A few minutes spent planning lunch, dinner, and snacks for the week fairly can provide a quick roadmap to guide our eating habits, and does not need to be difficult. Do you use a paper planner or your smartphone calendar? Meal planning can be as simple as jotting down what you plan to eat for lunch and dinner for the week, and building your grocery list around only the ingredients you need for those meals. When a meal is scheduled on your calendar, you may have a better chance of sticking to it.
There are smart phone and computer apps that can help too. One we have used with success is Pepperplate, although there are many similar apps available. Pepperplate is free and syncs with your computer and your phone. It is a bit of work initially to import your favorite recipes, but this task is made easier by simply cutting and pasting the URL of recipes from websites such as Food Network. Once you have recipes stored, meals are added to your calendar with simple clicks, and the ingredients for each meal can be added to your shopping list with one click. This planning allows you to not only get through the store more quickly, but can cut down on the amount of “that-looks-good-I-will-grab-those-chips” purchases if you stick to buying just the items on your list. You can find one of several reviews of meal planning apps here.
Whether hand-written on a calendar or assisted with handy apps, a bit of mindful meal planning provides a roadmap to the rewards of mindful, healthy eating!