Many people see meal planning for a weight-loss program as a daunting task. However, there are a lot of ways you can make preparing your weekly menu enjoyable. If you've tried doing this in the past without much success, here are a few tips that will help you create and stick with your weight-loss meal plan:
Try new recipes
For many, trying to plan a whole week of recipes can become repetitive. Luckily, you have several resources at your disposal to help you spice up your meals. For example, Pinterest is full of delicious recipes for you to try. Peruse the dishes listed on the site, and choose two or three to incorporate each week. This will keep your meals interesting and allow you to try new foods. Another option is to pull out a good old cookbook - open a page at random and choose a recipe. Make sure you vary the types of dishes, as well. For example, if one new recipe is a soup, make the next one a sandwich.
Plan for the week
Choose a day to regularly sit down and plan your meals for the week - try to ensure each item fits into your fat-loss plan. Listing out the various foods you plan to eat for each meal throughout the week will act as a reminder of your weight-loss goals. Planning meals in advance makes your day easier, too, because you won't have to try to figure out what you want to make during meal times.
While you're contemplating various dishes, consider what recipes you can make that have overlapping ingredients. By scheduling dishes that contain similar ingredients, you won't have to buy as many groceries for the week. In addition, if you get an item that you don't use often, you can think of other recipes to use it in.
Keep track of your meal plan by sticking a dry-erase board to the fridge and noting which dishes go with which days. If you're feeling tempted to break away from your plan, this board will also serve as a reminder of your goals when you open up the refrigerator.
Do some easy meal prep
If you have time, after you've done your grocery shopping for your meals, prepare some of the ingredients in advance. For example, if a recipe calls for a bunch of chopped veggies, bring out the cutting board and chop up the produce. You can place the prepared food in containers - now, when you start to make the recipe, it won't take you as long to complete. Simplifying your meals like this will make it easier to stick with your meal plan.
After you make a dish, instead of placing the leftovers in one giant container, dish it out into meal-sized portions. This way, you can just grab a smaller container when you're getting ready for work in the morning instead of trying to rush. In addition, you'll be less tempted to give yourself a big serving. The food is already divided into the right size, so you can't over serve yourself.
Snack between meals
When you haven't eaten for four or more hours, you're going to be extremely hungry by meal time. This is bad for your weight-loss goals for several reasons. First, if you're starving, you're more likely to overeat when you're finally presented with food. Second, when your body hasn't received food for a while it goes into fat-storing mode, and your metabolism slows down. This makes it more difficult to shed those unwanted pounds. Finally, when you're really hungry, you're more likely to deviate from your fat-loss plate foods.
To stay on track with your weight-loss goals, start snacking in between meals. By eating a little food throughout the day, you won't be as ravenous when mealtime finally rolls around. A few examples of snacks include cheese and crackers, fruit, a cookie or a small bag of chips. Remember: You don't have to cut out your favorite foods to lose weight.
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