If you’re looking to supplement your fitness journey and build up healthy habits, fitness meal planning is the way to go. You may already be cooking your own meals every day. However, fitness meal planning has more advantages to offer than just allowing you to eat home-cooked food.
By planning your meals ahead, you can prepare what you need over the weekend and shop for the necessary ingredients. Right now, there could be days wherein you’re not sure what you want to eat. At that point, you decide to either make do with whatever you have in the kitchen or order takeout. With meal planning, you already have all your ingredients prepared and a list of meals to choose from.
Fitness meal planning also allows you to be more conscious of what you eat. Because you know what ingredients go into the recipes and what meals you would like to prepare, you can portion certain food groups better and ensure that you’re maintaining a well-balanced diet.
With that said, before you get started, there are certain things you should keep in mind to ensure a stress-free experience. Here’s a quick rundown of the do’s and don’ts of fitness meal planning.
Do Make A Menu
No fitness meal plan would be complete without a menu to start with. To save yourself time, instead of making it a daily task, do this weekly. Over the weekend, you can set aside time to plan out your meals for the coming week. Your menu will be your starting point.
Make sure to plan three meals for every day of the week. You can plan your pre- and post-workout snacks as well, which are much easier to decide on than actual meals. If you’re uncertain what would make for good snacks before and after a workout, you can find resources online that could help, like 28 at Home’s tips, for example.
When you’re making a menu and planning out your meals, there are a few things you need to consider:
Don’t just look at the ingredients
Pay attention to the number of calories too. Counting calories is important if you’re trying to watch your weight. Keep in mind that just because a meal is made up of healthy food doesn’t mean it’s not calorie-heavy.
Think of meals you can share with the entire family
This is important to keep in mind if you’re meal planning and have a family to care for and feed as well. To save yourself the stress of making separate meals, you can think of healthy recipes that your family would enjoy.
While planning your meals, it may seem like a good idea in the moment to have a certain dish several times in one week. Especially if it’s a favorite of yours. However, you should try to refrain from doing so. Other than the fact that you may get tired of it, you should remember to maintain a well-balanced diet. If you often eat the same meal, you may be having too much of one food group.
Do Have A Backup Plan
Having a backup plan means keeping your pantry stocked with healthy favorites. This helps you in case the meals you prepared didn’t go as planned. This can also come in handy on days that can get so busy that sitting down for a proper meal may have to wait.
Additionally, when you’re on the go, you can keep your bag packed with healthy snack alternatives. You can quickly pack precut vegetables you’ve kept in your fridge if needed. That way, you don’t get tempted to snack on junk or any other quick fix available.
When you overprepare, meal planning may start to seem overwhelming and impossible to do. Though you might want to do things perfectly and leave no room for error, it won’t do any good to overwhelm yourself. When you’re planning out your menu for the week, it would help to think of meals that are easy to prepare. If possible, choose foods that can last more than a week in the fridge. This allows you to have more options when meal prepping.
Cooking in batches and meal prepping will take a big load off your shoulders. You won’t have to worry about cooking every day. While you might usually opt to have food delivered on days you don’t have time to cook, meal prep will prove to be a healthier solution that’s just as convenient.
Fitness meal planning is a great way to enhance your fitness journey and bring organization into your life. But keep in mind as well that it is about finding a system that works for you. While there are different ways to go about it, the do’s and don’ts above are just a basic guide to help you get a good start.