Food Productivity

Zen and the Art of Meal Planning for Weight Loss

#CarpeDiem A5 planner

This week I’ve got to get serious – I’m trying to shed some holiday weight and I need to go back to basics to help me get back on track. It’s really easy to get complacent when you’ve lost a lot of weight and lose sight of the end-point of your weight loss journey.

Meal planning is the most important habit to get into when you need to make a big change. Life will inevitably get in the way of your good intentions, so it’s essential to think ahead and plan for success.

A 10 minute planning session every Saturday over some strong coffee (purely optional, but definitely helpful!) sets me up and refocuses my mind after an inevitably lazy Friday night.

I plan and cook the meals in our house, and I love the Sunday night smugness of knowing we’re all stocked up and ready for the week and I’ve got a good week lined up and no reason to go off-plan. We save money and have cut down on wasted food too. What’s not to love?

So do you plan your meals too? How do you do it?

Planning Your Meals: The Slimming World Way

Firstly, let me put one thing out there. Your food doesn’t need to be exciting or Insta-perfect. It just needs to get you fed and hopefully aid your weight loss if you’re following the plan.

Trying out new recipes is a great way to add interest to your week if you’re struggling to stay motivated, but let’s be serious – who’s got time for that? Get a core set of weekly meals that you enjoy and are easy to prepare and you’re set. Plan, eat and repeat!

I have a list of tried and tested meals in my planner that I turn to when I’m stressed, struggling or sleep-deprived. Breakfasts and lunches are kept largely the same, so most of the actual thought comes from picking dinners off my list.

speedy-breakfast
Fruit is a great way to start your day – syn free!

To make it easier, I tend to cook at least one meal a week that we can have for leftovers, usually for when I’ve got a late night at work or if I’m dashing out after dinner. If I know it’s going to be a hectic week, I take the opportunity to be kind to my future self by planning a Slimming World or low-syn M&S Count on Us ready meal (sshhh! I said meals didn’t need to be glamorous, didn’t I?).

count-on-us-meal
Only 1.5 syns – precious points well spent!

Syns are normally saved for evening meals and after dinner; there are so many delicious syn-free meals and snacks on the Slimming World plan that I find I don’t need to spend any during the day. With this in mind, syn-free breakfasts and lunches are brilliant.

slimming-world-burgers
Burger and chips! Can you believe this is all free and unlimited?

Watch out for more detail on Slimming World meals for a typical week in my upcoming food diary post.

Bullet Journals and Meal Planning: A Match Made in Heaven!

It’s no secret I’m in love with planning. Is it actually possible to have mature feelings of love for one’s A5 Carpe Diem planner? I create my own pages to print out to make sure that my meal planning is quick and easy. This helps me to keep up the habit each week, making it more likely I stay on-plan throughout the week.

This week I’ll be creating a more in-depth bullet journal layout to track all of my food for the week; I gained 5.5lb after my holiday, so I need to get serious! If you’re interested in using this too, I’ll make a copy available in the Printables area.

Even if you’re only making a brief list of your weekly dinners on a scrap of paper, or a hastily tapped-out list on your phone while being forced to watch yet another episode of Peppa Pig, it’s a habit worth developing.

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