Meal Planning

Meal planning is something I’ve tried and failed at in the past.  For a while, I was able to force myself to cook instead of consuming microwaveable meals.  Blogging my progress really helped but I wasn’t focusing on the healthy aspect.  So I’m resolved to not only force myself to once again cook, but I’m aiming to plan some healthy, balanced meals based on the image below.  Half my plate should be fruits/veggies, a quarter grains, the other quarter protein and a serving per meal of dairy.

Easy enough, right?


My gluten intolerance.  My poor diet choices has me eating a lot of crap from the grain food group.  When I do that, I end up with digestive issues.  I once went a week with no grains and I felt great.  My GI doctor recommended not completely cutting grains out of my diet but to consume them in moderation.  Easier said than done considering…

I don’t eat a lot of vegetables and even less fruit!  I probably eat about one serving of fruit in a month!  I know, it’s not good and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m trying to meal plan.

I have a tendency to not consume the fresh produce I buy.  I want  to eat healthy so I buy fruits and veggies with a plan to eat them…but then I wind up choosing convenience foods and the fresh produce winds up in the trash, wasted.  I hate wasting food.  No more of this!

I don’t eat a lot.  For many months I was tracking my calories at MyFitnessPal and struggled most days to reach 1200 calories even while eating processed junk.  Fruits and veggies are generally lower in calories so I’m thinking I’m going to have an even more difficult time reaching my daily caloric intake.

Cooking for one.  When I do cook, I assume my husband will eat what I make.  Often times, he’d rather eat beans or hummus instead and I wind up with leftovers that I can eat for another 3-5 meals!  I need to learn to cook for one so I don’t wind up constantly eating leftovers I’m sick of.

I am a chocoholic.  Once upon a time I could live off a 1 inch x 1 inch piece of chocolate a day.  Those days are long gone.  While I’m still not usually eating a whole 3.1 oz bar of chocolate in a day, I pair it with chocolate ice cream or chocolate milk.  Too much sugar!  I need to get back to smaller portions of chocolate and snack on healthier things.  I have a buttload of frozen bananas that I can use to try out banana ice cream recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest.

Holy crap!  Meal planning is a lot harder than I thought it would be!

Do you have any tips for someone just beginning to meal plan?  Any tips on making and maintaining new habits/better lifestyle choices?

  • Cut down on the grains I eat and buy gluten-free products.
  • Consume at least one serving of fruit each day.
  • Juice one cup of fruits and veggies daily or make a smoothie.
  • Buy smaller quantities of fresh produce, don’t waste it!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and meals ahead of time  (freezer meals for the days I want something quick).
  • Track my calories.  If I’m repeatedly coming up short on reaching 1200 calories a day, consider high calorie shakes.
  • Half or even quarter recipes that I can’t freeze.
  • Limit myself to one piece of chocolate a day.
  • Don’t even buy ice cream!
  • Start regularly taking the vitamins/supplements I’ve been “forgetting” to take (calcium, fiber, probiotics, melatonin, etc)
  • Get outside for at least 30 minutes each day (wear sunblock!)

7 thoughts on “Meal Planning

  1. Kasey, I have been trying to eat healthier as well. I do post recipes that friends suggest and find a lot of them are low in carbs (pasta, breads, etc.), which is what I need. However, you make things like lasagna, spaghetti or chili using vegetables instead of meat (zucchini and spinach are two of my favs). If you need any ideas, check out my facebook pages for some of the postings! Good luck – love you! Aunty Di 🙂

  2. It’s tough for me to say how you can change because I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater (who always tries to find ways to keep improving). I also consume way more calories, but in all fairness to me I do exercise a lot. LOL! I think one key thing would be to absolutely not buy any junk food. Start there, and gradually experiment with food to test out what you like and don’t. You might be consuming so much junk and sugar, that your body tends to reject the taste of healthier stuff. LIke people who put too much salt on everything think everything without salt is too bland, but their body got used to too much salt. If you try to change too quickly, you may feel deprived and not like it, and go back to your old ways. Smoothies are a great way to get some fruits and veggies in your diet, but if not prepared right they too can also be too full of sugar. Throw in a little baby spinach each time until you gradually start to like it. I do banana, almond milk, spinach and some ice. I also usually use protein powder. Good luck!

  3. One thing at a time isn’t bad advice. I never liked or ate vegetables as a kid and then as a teenager my dad remarried and his new wife forced me to. So when I was on my own and cooking for myself, I went back to meat and potatoes (or often, just potatoes, I do love potatoes 🙂 ), lots of bread and sandwiches and, well, that was about it. I was well into my twenties before I realised that actually there are some vegetables that I really love. My love of leek and potato soup was because I really like leeks (and potatoes. Did I mention that I love potatoes?). Soups and stews are a great way to get lots of stuff into you without focusing too much on “vegetables”, if you know what I mean. I started eating tomatoes because I would buy jars of ready-made bolognese sauce to mix with some mince. Sometimes I used just a really small amount of meat. Over time I realised that if I cut an onion up really small, added some herbs and a tin of chopped tomatoes, I’d have basically the same sauce but for less money. And then I realised that non-chopped tomatoes were a few pence cheaper than chopped ones so I started using them, always ending up with much bigger, more recognisably tomato, bits because who has time to chop tomatoes as finely as the machine in the factory does? It took a few years but I did eventually start to occasionally eat the bit of tomato that came as a garnish in restaurants and then my sister introduced me to her tomato tart, which I loved. Followed a while later by discovering how good a nice tomato and mozzarella salad can be. Now, I eat kilos of tomatoes every week when they’re in season and can more so that I have lots on hand for winter. And almost everything I have learned to make from scratch just tastes so much better that I struggle to understand how I used to think Weight Watchers frozen meals were acceptable dinners. Never mind that it’s so much more expensive to eat “convenience” foods.
    Enough rambling about me, though. I think maybe one exercise that it might be useful for you to do is to make a list of all the things you like to eat (not the things you feel you should eat, mind) and maybe another list of the things you’d like to try but don’t know if you’ll like. Or find a giant list of foods online somewhere and start ticking off what you like. And I think one of the things that will make your meal planning most successful is to get your husband on board with it. So get him to do the same lists. And when you have your lists then you can look at them and cross off (for you) the things you can’t have (bread, etc.) and you have a good starting place for a meal plan. If you go through it each week with your hubby then he has no excuse to come home and say he fanices just beans tonight (although I have to say I’ve really jumped on the bean bandwagon in the last year or so and will have some kind of bean stew at least once a week during winter. I plan to focus on trying lots of bean burger recipes this year)
    I’m new to your blog so maybe I’m missing something but can I ask why 1,200 calories? Normal intake for an average woman should be 2,000, shouldn’t it?.

    • Thanks for the comment! I grew up hardly ever eating fruit so it’s tough to just force myself to do it. I’ve never had leeks. Adding that to the list of food to try! 🙂 I don’t think I’ll ever get the hubby on board. I’ve asked him before if he’d eat this or that, then I’d cook it and he would go for beans or hummus. :/
      For an average woman, 2,000 is correct. But I’m a shorty. I haven’t grown since I was 9. Based on my height, age, and weight, I should be getting 1,200 calories if I’m inactive. I’m trying to focus on healthy eating before I get back into exercising. I had been tracking my caloric intake for months on MyFitnessPal and, even while eating convenient junk food, most days I fell short of the 1,200 mark and that’s why it is my goal, for now. Once I get back into exercising regularly, I should be getting about 1500 calories.

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