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Meal Planning Simplified: A guide to sustainable healthy eating habits 

Embarking on a journey of maintaining healthy habits can feel overwhelming. One of the biggest barriers that I encounter in my practice is a lack of meal planning. It’s all too easy for life’s many other responsibilities and stresses to derail our best intentions, leaving us grappling with what to eat when it comes to meal times. 

However, the secret to overcoming this challenge lies in simplicity. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but starting somewhere - either with planning just a few days of the week, or, even just planning for one meal per day as a start. Setting yourself up for a perfect week of meals might be daunting or unrealistic, so taking it slow, and setting a small goal instead may feel more manageable. 

The satisfaction and reduced stress from having meals planned, even just partially, often inspire a desire to plan further, simplifying life significantly. Try to think of meal planning as a way to not only reduce stress, but also add more opportunity for nutrition and variety, and ultimately more satisfaction. 

Here are some easy meal planning tips to get you started:

  1. Dedicate 30 mins each weekend to meal planning. Jotting down a few meal & snack ideas for the week ahead reduces the stress of this planning during the busier schedule of the week. 

  2. Start with 2-3 ideas for breakfast and snacks for the week and add to your grocery list to ensure you have enough for the whole week.

  3. Choosing 1 new meal idea per week for each meal/snack can keep things exciting, without being overwhelming.

  4. Do an inventory of what you already have in your fridge,freezer and pantry before making a shopping list.

  5. Consider a few dinner meals for the week. You may want to include some of your regular favourites, as well as look for some inspiration online or in a recipe book. Lunches can effortlessly come together from leftovers. 

  6. It may be helpful coming up with a theme for each night. Theme meals by country (e.g. italian/mexican/indian/japanese/korean/ greek) or by meal type (e.g. burger night/taco night/pasta night/curry night/stirfry night/build-your own bowl/build-your own pizza/build your own wrap/ breakfast for dinner) to add more variety and fun!

  7. There is no need for rigid planning, but shopping for all the meals for the week and deciding the night before or the morning of, which meal you feel like making/eating for the night keeps things more flexible. 

  8. Write your grocery list based on the meals and snacks you have written out for your week. 

  9. Shopping: It may help to do one big shop when you have more time (usually on a weekend) and a small top-up shop if needed during the week for fresh goods. 

  10. Batch cooking may be a big help if you are open to eating leftovers. Planning to make double the portion at dinner, and having leftovers for lunches can reduce time spent planning and being in the kitchen. Cooked foods will last safely in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Or, freezing extra batches into single servings for other meals when less time for cooking is available. 

Through these meal planning strategies, the goal is to cultivate a healthy relationship with food—one that honours both nutrition and the pleasure of eating. By incorporating these practices into your routine, meal planning transforms from a daunting chore into an expression of self-care and body kindness. Here's to embarking on a journey of simplified, stress-free, and satisfying eating!

For personalised guidance on making nutritious and satisfying food choices that suit your individual needs, book a consultation here:

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