Check out this secret weapon that makes getting a healthy meal on the table a snap — a meal plan and calendar combo for organizing menus, food shopping, and meal prep.
Why Use a Meal Plan Calendar?
A calendar helps by providing exact details about a meal rather than you having to guess what you’ll prepare for dinner or any other meal – and which days are best for you to prepare ahead.
Just like you plan your vacation by the help of calendars, you can also build healthy eating habits by using a calendar rather than simply winging it. You’re more likely to stick to a health or weight-loss plan when you’ve prepared ahead.
Here are some of my best tips for using this handy tool that can bend and stretch to do whatever you want:
1. There are many meal prep calendar ideas or even printable calendars to help ease your way into the world of eating wiser and saving money besides, so don’t settle. No longer will you have to open the refrigerator or freezer door and try to create a meal from the hodge podge you happen to have available.
The trick is choosing just the right planner for your family and diet preferences.
2. Free meal-planning templates are available online to help you plan your meals, buy the groceries you’ll need and even some that will consider your budget. By using these convenient ways to plan your meals ahead of time, you’ll be able to enjoy more time doing what you want to do.
3. Some meal prep calendars go as far as to provide shopping lists and worksheets for you to print out and better organize your menus and grocery shopping for the week.
4. You’ll even find fun and attractive calendars that you can print out and attach to your refrigerator or some other part of your kitchen so the family will know which meals are coming up next.
That way, nobody will order pizza for lunch if they know it’s on the schedule for dinner — unless they really, really like pizza!
5. Whether you use a computerized meal planning calendar or a hang-up erasable one, see if it’ll do double-duty somehow. For instance, some calendars will even help you keep track of coupons and remind of which nights you have events – such as kids’ games or meetings.
6. If you’re new to meal planning, it may be best to take it slowly at first, until you find your bearings. Plan just a couple of days ahead, say, before you shop for a month’s meals.
7. Trying to lose weight? Pre-planning your meals by using a meal prep calendar leaves the guesswork out of portions and avoids nutrition shortfalls.
8. Cravings will become a thing of the past because you’ll know what you’re having and when — if you’re hungry now, you’ll know that the next meal is just around the corner, and that it’s going to be delicious! That way, there’s less chance of getting so hungry that you grab something from a vending machine or the kids’ Halloween candy stash.
8. Shopping will be a cinch. You’ll have the exact ingredients you need for meals that you know you’ll actually want to eat, rather than tossing out. The stress of shopping for specific diets is one reason why so many people fail in their quest to eat healthier or lose weight.
9. A meal prep calendar can eliminate the stress and becomes a valuable tool in meeting your goals, but no need to be chained to it. Sometimes the best laid plans are thrown off, so allow for flexibility in planning — and following — your meal calendar.
10. Every so often take a good hard look at the meal calendars you prepared in the past. What worked and what didn’t? Do you have the same few dishes on frequent rotation? (That’s easy to do when you have a finicky crew — once you find a meal everyone likes, you hit Repeat!)
Make sure you switch up the recipes so that you and your family don’t get sick of one particular meal or menu item.