Meal Planning For Beginners – Easy, Simple Steps To Follow

simple steps to meal planning
  • Do you like the idea of meal planning but have no idea where to start?
  • Are you often struggling to eat healthy meals throughout the week?
  • Can’t seem to get the right amount of each of the macros in your daily diet?

The easiest solution to healthy eating is to get into the habit of meal planning and prepping for the week ahead. If you are new to meal planning these simple steps will help you to get started. You will soon have a plan of attack that will make the most of your time and help you to eat healthier meals.

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5 Benefits of Meal Planning

Getting into the habit of meal planning each week can save you:

  1. Money – Save money on unnecessary groceries and expensive takeouts
  2. Time – Batch cooking your weekly food all at once cuts down on the amount of time that you have to spend in the kitchen.
  3. Food waste – With meal planning you plan ahead to use leftovers to create tasty meals.
  4. Multiple trips to the grocery stores – Planning ahead means you only need one trip to the grocery stores a week.
  5. Hassle of not knowing what you are going to eat – You have nutrient rich meals and snacks at hand for everyday of the week, so will be less tempted to eat crap…
meal prepping

7 Simple Steps To Meal Planning

Make a List of Your Favourite Meals

Write down the different meals that you like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you also like to have one or two healthy snacks or smoothies during the day list them too.

Stock-Take Your Kitchen

Check what food you already have in the cupboards, fridge and freezer. Is there anything that is near its sell by date and needs to be used soon? Do you have an abundance of something that could be used to make several meals? Have you got enough meal prep containers for all your meals?

Example of weekly mean plan
Weekly Meal Plan Example

Make a Meal Plan

Consider the ingredients that you already have in the house and which of your favourite meals you want to eat over the coming week. List all the meals that you are going to meal prep for including any snacks or desserts that you want to have.

Keep it as simple as you can to make it easier for yourself. You want to try and multi-task when meal prepping. So chose meals that all need different forms of cooking at the same time  – so you’re using your oven, stove top, slow cooker, air fryer etc. Also think about which things you can cook that can be used for several different meals. For instance a tray of roasted veggies can be used to make omelettes or frittatas or added to pasta or salads.

You can include new recipes, though if you are a total beginner to meal prep and planning I’d just add one or two. If you need some inspiration then check out the different food boards on Pinterest as there are loads of different meal planning ideas and easy recipes.

preparing vegetables for meal prepping

Write Your Shopping List

Make a list of all the things that you need to buy not forgetting any spices, herbs, marinades, stocks or sauces you might need – Chicken breast doesn’t need to get boring! Remember all your grains and beans such as rice, oats, couscous, pasta, quinoa, panko breadcrumbs and dried beans or lentils. Don’t forget things like oils and vinegars that you want to use, or nuts and seeds that you might need.

Tip: I actually keep a list of every different food item that I use when making all my meals and snacks, so that it’s easy to just run through and note the things that I need to buy that week.

Make a Prep Plan

This step is especially important for beginners as it is where you write down every single thing that you need to prep for your meal plan. Not doing this might result in you forgetting to prep something that you need for the week. So, look at the different components of your meals and any new recipes and break down the steps that you will need to do on meal prep day.

Prep for Meal Prep

Go grocery shopping and buy all the things on your list – without sneaking in any extra things that might take your fancy.

Then if you have some time spare the day or two before meal prepping you can do a few things that make life easier. For instance I often marinade my meat or cook my beans or lentils ahead if I’m using them for meals. You don’t have to do this step though and I only do it when I have time.

Start Meal Prepping

By the time you come round to meal prep time you will have a plan of action and should be feeling pretty confident.  So now just get to work and start meal prepping…. Don’t stress out if every little thing doesn’t go entirely to plan when you first try it. Like anything meal planning and prepping gets easier with practice. Keep at it and you’ll soon be doing it like a Pro!

meal planning for beginners

Don’t Forget Your Why!

Sometimes the thought of spending three hours in the kitchen on a Sunday isn’t the most appealing. This is the time that you need to remind yourself why you are meal planning/prepping and how it is going to benefit you throughout the coming week.

How spending just a few hours meal prepping will save you the hassle throughout the week of not knowing what to eat. You won’t have to worry if you have enough healthy food to eat each day to satisfy your hunger. It makes tracking your macros easier and helps to ensure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Saves you time each week day that you can spend doing things you enjoy. Plus there is the money that you might otherwise spend of expensive takeouts or unhealthy junk foods.

Meal planning is a great habit to get into that can help you to make healthier food choices on a regular basis.

Would you love a PDF of the meal planning guide plus a weekly meal planner template & categorised shopping list to help you get started? If so just enter your details below and I’ll send them to you straight away!

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