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How To Meal Plan For Beginners

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

By Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN

March 1, 2021

Don’t think that you have enough time to meal plan? Or maybe you’ve been trying, but it’s not quite working out.

Either way, this blog will teach you how to meal plan for beginners, with tips and strategies to guide your success!

Image: Canva/stock image

What is meal planning?

Firstly, it is not what you may be thinking – it is not a diet plan…and it is not restrictive.

It is planning and organizing your meals in advance to save you time, energy, and food obsession during the week.

Also called meal prepping, meal planning involves cooking, prepping salads and even portioning meals that enables you to grab and go as needed.

Meal planning also helps you to become more aware and motivated to increase the variety of nutrient dense foods in your diet.

Here are some practical and actionable tips to help you get started today.

Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality.

First thing’s first: you don’t need to “always” have a salad or “never” have chocolate to be healthy - it is this all-or-nothing mindset that sets you up for failure later on.

Instead, be gentle and understand that ‘healthy’ is not black or white and it varies – your needs and interests change over time and does not have to look like someone else’s.

Eating healthy also does not have to be boring…and it can be sustainable and FUN!

Cook foods that you enjoy and will look forward to having, but that also support your health goals.

Oh, and you should meal plan your treats – yes, include them! You’re more likely to feel out of control around foods that you restrict, binge eat and feel guilty.

Eat in moderation - without guilt and food obsession.

Break meal planning and prep into smaller tasks.

No, you don’t have to meal prep for the entire week at once (sigh of relief).

While some persons have mastered this, others struggle to find the time in their schedules and may choose not to do it altogether.

Start with prepping for just two days at a time. Then prep for another two days.