Start early. Spend time on a Friday choosing your meals and recipes for the following week, so you have the weekend to shop and prepare ingredients.
Don’t feel you have to eat fully home-cooked or complicated meals every night. To start with, plan a week of meals that you’d normally eat – the ones you’re familiar with, including beans on toast if that’s what works for your family. Then start to add new dishes once you get used to the process.
Make larger batches of the meals that you enjoy most and pop them in the fridge or freezer, so you always have a healthy option available, even when you’re tight on time.
Use common ingredients. Once you get into the rhythm of meal planning, you’ll start to think about what sorts of dishes work well together in the same week, to make the most of the ingredients that you buy. For example – if you’ve bought a bag of sweet potatoes, choose a couple of dishes that require it, so you don’t throw any away.
Choosing a meal plan
Choosing the right meal plan for you will depend on what you want to achieve by changing your eating habits. Even in its most basic form, a meal plan will typically lead to a healthier diet, because it involves thinking more about the foods you’re going to eat and being better prepared, meaning you’ll have less reason to buy convenience food or take-outs.
Some meal plans are designed to help you achieve specific body or fitness goals. This can include bulking up muscle or cutting down on fat. Let’s talk a little more about those now.