Eating healthy is a big concern and it’s often easier said than done. With so much conflicting information, it’s hard to know what to eat, let alone when. Plus, healthy eating is often considered inconvenient and time consuming, and a lot of us barely have time to eat at all. Creating a meal plan takes a lot of the guesswork out of eating healthy and helps people avoid some common diet pitfalls.
Learn Basic Nutrition. Knowing what to eat is the first step to creating a healthy eating plan. You don’t have to spend hours in a classroom or have a degree in nutrition, all you need is an Internet connection. The USDA food guide pyramid is a great online resource that not only tells you what to eat but gives you proper portion sizes and even meal-planning ideas
Be honest with yourself. If cooking isn’t your thing, don’t plan meals that involve a lot of preparation. If you don’t like a certain food, don’t include it in your plan. While you may know what you should eat, your plan should include the things that you are going to eat. There’s no shame in using frozen meals or omitting some foods from your plan.
Plan meals around your daily schedule. It would be nice to always have breakfast, promptly at 8 a.m. and lunch at noon, or to eat every two hours, but not everyone’s schedule lends itself to that. Write down your daily schedule on a piece of paper so you can see the spaces where meals may fit. The first key to dietary success is to have a plan that works with your lifestyle and schedule. Setting up a plan that you can’t follow is a recipe for self sabotage.
Be flexible. Plans can, and do, change so be prepared to adjust accordingly. Keep healthy snacks on-hand, and have alternative options handy, just in case that late-morning meeting extends through lunch.
Pencil yourself in. Schedule mealtimes on your calendar and set an alarm to remind you 15 minutes in advance. Even if you don’t have the chance to eat right then, the alarm reminds you that you should eat. And that’s important because a lot of us will skip meals then pay for it later with a fast-food binge.