As a registered dietitian, I hear all kinds of myths about how to meal plan and what a balanced meal should look like for weight loss. But 9 times out 10, meal planning doesn’t have to be as complicated as everyone makes it seem. That’s why I’m sharing my meal planning tips for the busiest gals with you!
Reaching your health and weight loss goals can seem impossible (not to mention miserable) if you’re stuck eating the same ‘ol chicken, rice, and veggies. So many women give up so soon because they’re tired of eating boring food. Then they think they’re the problem because they lack the discipline to stick with it. Does that sound like you?
The problem isn’t that you don’t have enough discipline. The problem is you think you can’t have any GOOD food because it can’t possibly fit in with your weight loss goals.
I’m here to tell you it absolutely can. Making sure you have DELICIOUS food that you enjoy while reaching your goals is what we’re all about at BGN!
But in order to do that, there is some meal planning that goes into it. Don’t worry though! The whole point of this post is to give you some of the easiest meal planning tips for your busy schedule!
The first step is actually PLANNING your meals. I recommend taking 5-10 minutes of your weekend to plan out what you want to make for the upcoming week. This part is so easy with my super simple formula (emphasis on SIMPLE). So let’s get into it!
1. The first step is choosing a protein to be the base of your meal.
▶ Think things like lean beef, shrimp, lean pork chops, tofu, salmon, chicken, or turkey burgers! Most gals automatically assume I’m going to tell them to eat a chicken breast. But the key with building balanced meals that you actually WANT to eat is to keep things interesting and exciting! But hey, if you love chicken breasts and that’s what you want, then more power to ya!
2. The second step is choosing a flavor and/or theme for your meal.
▶ This step often gets overlooked but I think it’s key to pulling together a delicious meal that you’ll want to have over and over again! Some examples might be a southwest seasoning with barbecue sauce, a Greek seasoning with tzatziki sauce, an Italian theme, or maybe buffalo! The possibilities are endless, all you have to do is think of some of your fav flavors.
3. The third step is picking a fruit or veggie that pairs well with the theme/flavor that you chose.
▶ I love this step because it can be just about anything you want. Remember that while fresh fruits and veggies are great, sometimes busy gals need something more convenient and that’s A-OK!
4. The next step is one you DEFINITELY don’t want to skip, and that’s choosing your starch!
▶ We don’t skip out on carbs at Busy Gal Nutrition so this is an important step. Think foods like potatoes, whole grain breads, rice, beans. etc. And if you’re needing some ideas for carbohydrates to add, check out this blog post!
5. Last but not least, if you haven’t already included a healthy fat in your balanced meal, this is the time to do so!
▶ This could be the tzatziki sauce for your Greek inspired meal, avocado on your turkey sandwich, or lower-calorie Caesar dressing on your salad. It doesn’t have to be fancy!
Once you’ve got your meals planned out for the week, it’s smooth sailing from there! Take into account what you already have in your fridge/freezer/pantry for your meals, and make your grocery list based off of what you still need. I feel like this is a good time to remind you about including high protein and fiber snacks that you want for the week too 😉
If you don’t mind leftovers, you can even plan to make a little extra of some meals to have for lunch throughout the week or to give yourself a break from cooking one night. This is one of my favorite meal planning tips to save time and money!