Organizing your meals and planning your nutrition is more than just a good idea, it is an essential need. It is a necessity with a great positive impact in your life. You eat a better, healthier diet with lots of variety and balance
You feel better as you can control your appetite and you manage your weight. Most important of all, you save money as you totally control the amount of money you spend for food.
Planning your nutrition and organizing your kitchen will bring major improvements in the overall family finances. You will know exactly what you need and so you will always preparing a list before you go for shopping. You will rarely throw away unused stuff and you will always have what you need available. You will never waste away food and you will always plan to consume the leftovers. Planning will also help you avoid multiple super market visits. In addition, you will eliminate the need to order take-away or eat ready meals. Planning also means having healthy snacks available at home or when you are away, so that you never rely on ready snacks and processed foods to serve your appetite.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Plan ahead. You should always have an idea of your daily meals, preferably from the night before. Write what you ittend to eat next day. Its ok you do it mentally but the real advantage of this will come when you do it in writing.
Make a weakly nutrition plan. Write down a general overview of the meals you ittend to eat each week. Once you start this habbit you will find it easy to do it as in most cases you will just need to just make few changes on the previous week plan. By planning you diet on a weekly basis you can ensure you have all necessary variety and that you don’t tend to eat the same things over and over again.
Repeat on a weekly basis. Once you have a diet plan that works good for you, you can just use it every week. Find some recipes that your really enjoy and make them once a week. You wont get bored of them. You can also make subtle changes but make sure you know a simple way to cook the major foods that you eat.
Plan the balance. Select one basic food for each day of the week. This is usually the source of protein. You need complex carbohydrates from grains on a daily basis and then some source of protein. One day can be red meat, one day chicken, 2-3 days legumes, 1-2 days fish, 1 day eggs and 1-2 days nuts and dairy. When you plan your weekly food schedule in such a way you can achieve the balance that you desire.
Plan the unexpected. If you go out to eat you can still follow your plan or make the necessary changes to keep the balance in your meals. You can trade food groups from a day to another. If for example you eat mea every Sunday and a Friday night you go o a friend house where they have a great dish with meat, you eat it and you then eat on Sunday what you would normally eat on Friday.
Eat what you have. Organize your meals based on the foods you have available or the leftovers you kept. Eat first what might spoil so that you avoid wasting food. The “cheaper” food to eat is something you have already paid for.
Eat the same thing. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to select what to eat and what meals to prepare. If you organize your meals on a weekly basis, you can have some favorite recipes that you keep doing every week. If you like it, you wont get bored of it!
Keep a food journal. Write down whatever you put in your mouth. This will help you realize if there are imbalances or expensive habit in your nutrition. By keeping a food journal, you can identify excessive consumption of a specific food that might cost a lot, for example a daily cup of coffee from Starbucks. This habit will also help you control the variety on the different types of foods you eat.
Ask for help. A nutrition advisor or food coach can help you organize your eating plan according to your own personal needs and financial resources. You can also do it by your self but some professional help might save you lots of money in the cost of your food. When I personally work with clients on this basis, I help them use their food budget as effectively as possible in order to enjoy healthy and nutritious food with the least amount of money possible.
Be prepared. If you are extremely hungry, you tend to act emotionally and eat whatever you find in your way, even if its expensive or unhealthy. Fast foods, ready meals and processed snack are a clear example of this fact. The way to avoid this behaviour is to be prepared and never let your self get into a hunger mode. In order to do this you should plan your meals and follow that plan, ensuring that you eat regular meals that keep you nourished all day long.
Have a solution available. In order to overcome difficult situations where you get really hungry, you should always have available some kind of healthy snack. At home, you can have fresh fruit and some kind of nutritious mini meal. When you are outside you should always carry with you a healthy snack, such as some nuts and dried fruit or home made energy bar. I personally carry a banana and some almonds or walnuts in my bag,
Cook more for later. If you plan your meals you can cook bigger quantities and freeze something to eat the following week. You can also cook more of something that can be used in a different way. For example you can boil some extra veggies to serve with your next day meal. You can also boil more rice to eat in a different way or some extra chickpeas to make hummus for your sandwich next day. I always keep some boiled legumes in the fridge that I can add to a salad and make it a full nutritious meal.