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Trying to Lose Weight? Tips for Creating a Meal Plan

By on July 3, 2014
Mspan style="line-height: 1.5em;">Meal plans aren’t just for the frugal people out there — they are also for those who want to lose weight.

By controlling what you buy and what you eat, you can slim down and get healthier. But, meal planning isn’t always as easy as it sounds. So, to make sure you are setting yourself up for success, consider these tips for creating your meal plans.

Give Yourself Time

Do not plan a week’s worth of meals 30 minutes before you head to the store. You need time to sit down and think about what you want to eat, what recipes will fit within your diet plan, etc. For some people, that might mean creating a meal plan on Sunday morning and shopping that afternoon. Your meal plan should include three meals and snacks. So, once you have the recipes written down, then you’ll need to write down each ingredient you need. Don’t forget to check your pantry and see what you already have on hand — that will help make eating healthy a lot more affordable.

Buy the Right Stuff

Don’t just go with a recipe because it has “healthy” or “low fat” on the label. You need to assess the ingredients. The Department of Health and Human Services has a full list of healthy foods. For example, instead of 2% milk, you should be buying Skim or 1%. Your cottage cheese and yogurt should be fat-free and your meat selections should consist of lean meats.

Add the Calories and Assess the Meals

If you’re on a strict caloric intake, you need to add the calories of each item in your meal plan to make sure you’re not going over your daily requirement as well as your meal intake requirement. Also, does each meal consist of a hearty helping of fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains? MyPlate.gov gives you a picture of how your typical meal plate should look to give you an idea of how to balance each meal plan.

Shop and Prep the Same Day

One reason people do not keep up with their diets is the prep work. A lot of food needs to be chopped, washed, etc. When you shop, bring your food home and prepare it that same day. Chop your veggies so they are ready to go in your snacks, wash your fruit so you can eat it right then and even wash your lettuce so it’s salad-ready. The more your food is prepared, the less tempted you will be to eat out and get something convenient.

Pack Your Lunch the Night Before

In the morning, you are rushed for time. Pack your lunch the night before so you can grab it and head to work. This will prevent you from heading out the door without it and buying lunch later.

Readers: How do you meal plan?

 

Resources:

www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/shop.htm

www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/healthieryou/html/shopping_list.html

www.choosemyplate.gov/

About The Author: Health Cracker!

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