Our Free Anti-Aging 7 Day Meal Plan is a great reference for planning healthy meals and snacks!
Why is Meal Planning Helpful?
Most things in life require some preparation and planning. Food is no exception! Meal Planning is a great place to start improving your eating habits.
In addition, planning can cut down on food waste and save you money. A bit of preparation can also lessen the daily stress of figuring out what to eat. Meal Planning is essential for weight loss too!
Benefits of Meal Planning
- Improves Eating Habits
- Teaches Portion Control
- Helps with Weight Loss
- Saves Money
- Decreases Food Waste
- Minimizes Stress
Challenges of Meal Plans
A frequent question Dietitians are asked is “Can you make me a Meal Plan?“. This is usually followed by “I just need someone to tell me what to eat“.
The problem with this request is that there is no one size fits all approach to eating. We all have different tastes, schedules, cooking skills, and living situations.
The best person to make a Meal Plan for you is you! Healthy eating is about creating a personalized eating strategy that works in your life. The 7 Day Anti-Aging Meal Plan is meant to be a resource in your meal planning process
How to Meal Plan
Much like the actual meal plan, approaches to meal planning will look different from person to person. There is no perfect way to meal plan, and you will likely adjust your strategies as you go.
So if a meal plan is best when it is individualized, and ways to meal plan vary, how do you Meal Plan?
Below you’ll find some best practices for planning meals. Some I use myself, and others are strategies my clients have used with success.
Pick a Day of the Week
Pick a day or 2 that you will dedicate to meal planning. It is definitely possible to plan out 7 days of meals, however personally I find breaking up the week works best for me.
On Sunday evenings, I look ahead for most of the week. I then revisit our plan mid-week as schedules tend to change.
I recommend setting aside 45-60 minutes as you begin to take on this task. Overtime it will get easier, and take much less time!
Start a List of Favorite Meals
This list is key! Becoming a proficient meal planner is a process. Part of this journey is building on what you know already works.
I keep a list in the notes section of my phone. These meals are well liked, yet also work well in regards to time, leftovers, etc.
This list will serve as a valuable resource! It will help decrease the time it takes to meal plan. In addition, the list supports variety in your diet, and prevents falling into ruts.
Look at your week and figure out how and where meals will fit. Don’t feel like you need to start with planning every meal.
A great place to start is dinner! Planning just 2-3 dinners in a week has an impact. Breakfasts and Lunches can be quick and easy meals. And don’t forget about leftovers from Dinner!
Check out these healthy aging breakfast options from the Age-Defying Dietitian.
Post your plan on a calendar or piece of paper in your kitchen. Some individuals like to post their plans on a cute chalkboard, which is inspiring, but not required.
Make a Grocery List
We can’t very well have these amazing meals unless we get the ingredients! Use your meal plan to create a grocery list. This can be as simple as a piece of paper.
Personally I add my items to my favorite store’s online ordering. I am a huge fan of grocery pick up! A great strategy for paper lists is organizing your list based on the layout of the store.
Identify Daily Tasks
Once you have all your items purchased, it is a good idea to look at your plan a day ahead of time.
You’ll want to ensure you take steps to make that meal possible the next day. Or perhaps you may do some meal prep ahead of time to make for an easier evening.
Play the Long Game
As mentioned above, meal planning is a process. You will learn as you go. Don’t get discouraged!
We all have weeks that do not go as planned. Keep at it, and it will become second nature. You’ll be enjoying all the benefits of Meal Planning before you know it!
Create an age-defying meal plan with anti-aging superfoods. Check out this previous blog post – “7 Anti-Aging Superfoods To Add To Your Diet Today”.
Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management. She has 20+ years of nutrition experience working in a variety of healthcare settings. Her passion is to provide evidence-based nutrition information that supports vitality and longevity!