Meal Planning

An important part of a successful diet

Planning meals is a difficult task, but it is even more of a challenge when you are on a diet. Between your career, your after-school activities, and your exercise regimen, who has time to cook a meal let alone plan for one? Meal planning on a diet requires balancing food groups and counting calories; consequently, the preparation is usually a little more complex than just tossing a frozen pizza into the oven.

It seems so much easier to grab take out on the way home or heat up a frozen dinner, but if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle or lose weight you won't get very far on these food choices. Meal planning takes work, but with a little organization and practice you'll be that much more successful with following your diet.

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Here are a few meal planning tips to help you get started.

Plan ahead – Sit down on Saturday or Sunday and create a menu plan for the following week. Planning ahead will allow you to prepare meals quickly without taking the time to decide what to prepare. Meals do not have to be complicated, but should include at least a couple of the food groups. Post the menu plan on the fridge so it is easily accessible for making grocery lists and preparing meals.

Bulk cooking – If you're really ambitious and want to save time prepare your meals ahead of time. Spend a few hours on the weekend and put together your meals for the week. At the end of each day all you will need to do is take out a meal and pop it in the oven or microwave. If you don't feel like preparing multiple meals, cook up a couple of larger dinners and dine on leftovers.

Do some prep work – To save some time when it comes to cooking dinner do some prep work in advance. After a trip to the supermarket, instead of putting your items directly into the fridge take the time to wash and cut vegetables so they'll be ready to go. It could cut you meal preparation time in half.