Meal planning template
You have probably heard it a thousand times: we are what we eat. The rhythm of modern life sometimes breaks even the most natural things. We often eat hastily, the first thing we can grab, or while running. However, sometimes we combine all of this and turn it into a habit that might cause lots of harm to our physical and mental health.
To stand against many threats and temptations and not lose ourselves, we may need to use planning to put everything in its place. To have control over what we eat is no exception.
Meal planning is one of the keys to being healthy and productive, avoiding unnecessary purchases, and finding pleasure in what might have seemed like a torment for some – cooking.
The meal planning template is a shorter way to reach everything described above. Whether you’re a beginner or have been planning your meals for a while now, a template for meal planning may make the process easier and bring you fun.
In this article, we’ll discuss why meal planning helps you create good habits and change your attitude toward food. Also, we’ll look at how to use one to get the most out of it.
What is meal planning, and why is it so important?
Intentionally or not, we use meal planning daily. When you’re deciding what to cook for dinner, that is it. When you’re going out for lunch and dreaming about that croissant you’re about to eat, that’s meal planning too. However, that’s not the one that will help you stay healthy, avoid stress in choosing what you should eat, and save money on food.
Meal planning is one of the habits that requires consistency.
When you only start, it may seem complicated and unnecessary. After all, millions of people before us lived without detailed planning of what to eat during the week, so why would we need to do it? The answer is simple. We haven't changed much physically and mentally during the last couple of thousands of years, but the style of our lives has changed immensely.
We’re lucky and cursed at the same time to have access to almost any food we would like to eat. The calories have never been so cheap. The amount of food that is thrown away regularly is shocking. By starting to plan our meals responsibly and regularly, we don’t only help ourselves and our personal budgets but also save the planet and its resources.
Saving the planet is a noble intention. However, what advantages meal planning offers for every person in particular?
- If you struggle with emotional eating, meal planning may help you control it.
- If you go to a fridge to look for something every time you’re bored, a meal plan may help you eliminate this habit.
- If you regularly indulge your sweet tooth, meal planning will help you avoid treats.
- If you can’t understand why the weight is not going away if you’ve already cut the number of calories you consume daily, then meal planning may be your solution to track everything down and see the real picture.
- If you see that the amount of food you and your family throw away regularly is horrendous, meal planning may help you buy only the necessary products and cut down your expenses.
- If it takes too much time to cook for yourself or your family, a meal plan may help you distribute your time wisely and save a couple of evenings for hobbies or other activities.
Why are meal planning templates useful?
Everyone has their own intentions when they start to plan their meals:
- Someone wants to lose weight,
- someone needs to follow a diet,
- someone wants to save money on groceries,
However, growing a habit and getting accustomed to this new lifestyle takes time and effort. Keeping everything in your mind is quite a task, and a ready-to-go template may take that burden off your shoulders.
Digital meal planner vs printable
You may use a printable meal planning template and attach it to your fridge or any other easy-to-spot place. You may keep the plan with you if there’s a separate shopping list section. However, this approach has disadvantages as it’s easy to lose or misplace your paper meal planning. And if you don’t have another copy, you might need to start everything all over again. So, blank printable templates you fill in later become less and less popular. Also, adding notes or changes to your printed meal plan might make it a mess.
If you want your meal planning to work for you, you need to structure it and start to plan ahead for more than a couple of meals. That’s another good reason for using a template for meal planning. Some people prefer to use monthly meal planner templates as they don’t need to consider their meals too often. Some prefer to plan for shorter periods and use weekly templates for planning their meal.
A meal plan is just a form with space to put what you’re going to eat. It may have different designs and sizes, with different content and details to help you plan and cook, etc. There are many free meal-planning templates to choose from.
We at xTiles created our own template, which combines:
- basic purpose,
- appealing design.
Using it, you can create your meal plan for a week, save the needed recipes, make your grocery list, and add a small hint of inspiration or motivation. When the week is over, you can simply hide it and start a new one, but you can easily go back if you need to check something. That is why you won’t accumulate a tremendous amount of previous plans after some time using our template.
Also, because it’s online, you can access it from any computer or device if you’re far from yours. Moreover, you can share it with friends and family to promote a healthy lifestyle. And if you want to, you can print it, and if you lose the sheet, you can always go back and make another copy because all your data is where it was.
A template helps you continue what you’ve started, and as a result, after some time, you will develop a habit so strong your meal planning will be the most natural thing ever. It will be easier to evaluate what you need, resist temptation, and know what you need exactly.
How to use a meal planning template successfully?
The first rule is to make a realistic meal plan. If you want to lose weight, please don’t get rid of meals, and don’t decrease the calories too abruptly and too significantly. You still need the energy to be functional, especially if you plan to add sport to your lifestyle.
When choosing your meals, think about the time you need to prepare them. Will you have enough time to make elaborate dinners this week or this month? If you’re going to be super busy, it may be better to choose something simpler to avoid one more tiring task. That’s another great advantage of meal plans. You won’t cook something that takes too long only because you promised or recklessly bought needed groceries.
Evaluate your body's nutrition needs and build your meal plan depending on them too. If you want to gain muscle, you will need more proteins. If you follow a certain diet, you may need to pay attention to how much iron, B12, folate, etc., you get daily. Tracking all macros is no easy task. Sometimes people choose to make meal planning a strong habit first and only then start to count calories and nutrients.
Add recipes you’re going to need to cook the dishes. Imagine the situation. You’ve found on the internet the dish you would like to cook but didn’t save it, bought the needed products, and now all the recipes you google alter from the initial one, and you don’t have the needed ingredients, or you got too much of them. Keep everything in one place so you won’t waste time searching for something.
If you’ve finished putting all the dishes, recipes, and ingredients into your meal plan, check your fridge. Maybe you have something left from the last week so that you won’t buy it again. After that, create your grocery list, buy what you need and cook it.
Please remember that the effect starts at the earlier stage of meal planning. You likely won't bring home snacks if you add only the necessary products to your grocery list. Then, if you want something tasty for no reason, you won’t find anything in your house.
And the last suggestion is don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes we need little treats to cheer ourselves up or to celebrate something. However, they may be dangerous to the whole plan if they are uncontrollable. So leave a little space for desserts or snacks in your plan.