Blank shopping list with pencil surrounded by fresh veggiesFor anyone who wants to change their lifestyle or lose weight, meal planning is a big key to success. But it’s also one more chore that you must add to your already-packed to-do list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the addition of yet another weekly task, follow this guide to simplify meal planning.

Check your calendar. One automatic response to weekly meal planning is to plan seven dinners and consider yourself done. But if you take a look at the week’s planned activities, you might wrongfully assume that you’ll have time to prepare complicated meals each night. Then, mid-week as you’re struggling to get everything done, you end up at the nearest drive-through restaurant. Take a look at the week’s scheduled activities, so you can get an idea of how many fast and easy (but still healthy) meals you need to plan.

Plan for prep, too. Planning meals is only half of the equation. Will you have time to chop veggies and wash salad each night? It’s often better to plan your prep times, too. For example, if Monday night is wide open but Tuesday night is jam-packed, go ahead and do Tuesday’s prep while you’re cooking Monday’s meal.

Plan around sales. Most grocery stores run weekly specials, beginning on a particular day of the week. If you’re trying to eat healthier on a budget, find out what day new sales begin. Grab a circular (or go online) the day before, check out the deals, and plan your meals around them.

Go high-tech. How many times have you written a grocery list, then left it at home when you went shopping? Take a picture of it with your cell phone, or type out the list and email it to yourself. Like most people, you probably don’t go anywhere without your smart phone, so your list will be handy.

Consider the season. The time of year can impact which types of produce are readily available (and on sale). It also impacts your mood, so plan your meals accordingly. You’ll be happier with your meal plan if you’re able to eat the foods you really want.

As always, contact us for more help with your weight loss plan. We can help you with expert nutritional advice that works for your body type and lifestyle.