This month we’ve talked about the applications of mindfulness to journaling. Through the act of writing out your thoughts, you can establish routines to further your lifestyle goals. Bullet journalling, creative writing, and gratitude all seem simple at first but have the power to ripple changes across your life. One of the more concrete ways you can use journaling to advance your nutrition goals is through meal planning.
What is Meal Planning?
Having to think of breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day can take a lot of time and energy out of your week. Recently, more people have been turning to meal planning - a way of recording out what you’re going to eat in advance - as a quicker way to do this. On Sunday night, they organize dishes each day of the week in advance and write. When each meal comes, they already have an idea of what they want to make and enough time to prepare for it.
Is Meal Planning Worth It?
On the surface, it appears that coming with a whole week’s worth of meals can take up unnecessary time and energy that could be better used elsewhere. In reality, this procedure - especially once perfected - can save not only time, but money and food as well. Here are some of the benefits of meal planning:
Saving Resources: The amount of time you spend thinking about meals each day probably doesn’t seem like much at first. However, it consumes a lot more needless energy in your head as you try to think of what food you have left in the fridge that day and what you haven’t eaten in a while. When you plan in advance, you don’t need to worry about the ingredients and will have enough to come with new and nutritious meals for every day of the week. Since you’ll have a better idea of what to use, you won’t have to waste money by throwing away expired food or forgotten leftovers.
Reaching Your Goals: Whether it be losing weight or spending more time with your family, food can lead people to different important goals in their life. There are several diets online and in cookbooks that offer consumers the opportunity to make a plan that fits into the lifestyle they hope to have.
Delicious Food: The most obvious, but less talked about, benefit of meal planning is that you simply have more room to try out new recipes and ingredients. By recording each meal you want for that week, you now have more room to explore and experiment with dishes.
How do you Start Meal Planning?
According to health experts, the best way to start meal planning is the simple act of mindfulness - journaling. Through a food diary, or simply taking notes on your phone, record what meals you eat each day and what ingredients they require. Do you notice that you’re lacking in one group? Is there one area of cuisine that you’ve always wanted to try but never had room for? Through recording your dairy, you will get a better understanding of what and how much you eat.
After you get a proper idea on what meals you typically eat, outline your goals. Do you want a meal plan to lose weight, get more nutrition or for some other benefits? Perhaps you’re looking to save time or be more mindful. Whatever the reason, make sure to include in the daily template of your weekly guidelines.
Some general tips to keep in mind is to have a selection of “core recipes”. These are recipes that can be reused every week or every other week. These can be dishes you really enjoy, or ones that are easy to make. For some dishes, you can make extra and eat the leftovers for another day. If you want to introduce changes, make sure to integrate them one at a time or else it might feel overwhelming.
In conclusion, meal planning is a separate, more focused form of journaling that has the power to change the way you eat. Individuals can use it to lose weight or spend time with their family, but you can personalize it to your own needs.