15 Jan 6 TIPS TO HELP YOU STICK TO A MEAL PLAN
- REMIND YOURSELF WHY YOU’RE MEAL PLANNING TO BEGIN WITH.
Are you meal planning to reach weight and fitness goals? To save money? To help you be better organized? To not waste food? To have better control over your eating habits?
When you feel yourself straying from your plan, remind yourself why you have a plan in the first place. What was the “goal” you had in mind when you started?
It takes time to meal plan and hard work to keep it within your budget. Cheating on your meal plan too much will cause you to un-do all the time you put into it in the first place.
- PREPARE FOR DEVIATION.
“Pineapple & soya chicken with basmati rice and salad” sounds like a delicious, inexpensive dinner that you could easily have one night a week. But at the end of week 3, or even at the end of a hard day during week 1, this meal may seem more like a punishment than dinner.
Have a back-up meal ready so that when you need to cheat, it’s not the end of the world. The back-up plan doesn’t have to be lavish – just have something planned that lines up with your meal planning goals. You can always make pineapple chicken another night.
- BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR PLANS.
Your meal plan doesn’t have to be set in stone every single day of the week. If you want the steak and roasted pumpkin you have planned in week 3 for dinner tomorrow, make a switch! If you think rice will go better with your dish instead of whole wheat pasta, go ahead! In fact, some people plan seven meals for the week, and then the cook each night chooses from that list of meals.
No one cares if you don’t follow the plan exactly and there’s no meal-planning-police that will come knocking at your door if you cheat – unless you are a part of the V Pack that is, I will come knocking (haha). As long as you’re still meeting your original purpose for meal planning, switch away!
- MIX UP YOUR MEALS.
Eating the same meals over and over can be mundane, so if you find yourself not wanting to cook what you planned, cook it for tonight and don’t plan that meal again for a few months – this is why it is also important to change your meals up every 4 weeks with FABin4.
Take notes on dishes you see in magazines, on cooking shows or even have at restaurants. Come home and plan to replicate what you’ve seen or eaten – as long as it is not going to stunt your progress or goals.
- COOK LESS.
This sounds opposite to what a “meal plan” requires, but give yourself a break! If you cook every single night of the week for months on end, you’ll get burned out.
Plan one night for a cheat meal where you can reward yourself for sticking to your plan for the week. This will get you ready for the new week and to reach new goals!
- MAKE IT HARDER TO STRAY AND EASIER TO FOLLOW.
Shopping once a week has the largest impact on whether or not we stay true to the menus I’ve planned. If I’ve already shopped for the week, it’s much harder to stop at the shops for additional food, especially since I KNOW I have food in the house for what I’ve planned for dinner.
It’s also harder to eat the chicken in the freezer tonight when I know I bought it for another meal later in the week or month – giving in to the temptation now will force me to make an unplanned shopping trip, or develop a different meal without chicken later.
Do you have any of your own ways of staying on track? I’d love to know how!