Meal planning: tricks and tools to better organize yourself

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Frantic days, commitments and breathtaking races: due to the daily chaos, lunches and dinners also become too hit and run. How do you escape this loop? Starting to put the meal planning, a real lifeline.

Meal planning is a friend of healthy eating because it allows you to eat tasty (and healthy) dishes every day. Once you try it you will hardly abandon it. And the whole family will benefit from it.

In this article

  • Why is meal planning useful?
  • Where do you start planning meals?
  • Plan meals with apps
  • Shopping and recipes: the tricks for planning meals
  • The weekly programs
Read also: 10 tips for a healthy and green diet for the whole family

Why is meal planning useful?

There are five main reasons so meal planning is not only useful, but especially necessary when working days are extremely long and you barely have time to breathe:

  • It saves time: basically by planning meals you always know what to cook, when to cook it and when and how to serve it, without having to worry at the last minute;
  • Saves money: and who says no to some money put aside? Planning meals allows you to draw up a more accurate shopping list and avoid grabbing the most "comfortable" but also economically demanding ready meal from the shelves;
  • Helps to eat healthy: haste, as we know, leads to choices that are not always valid and in terms of food, invalid choices mean junk food. By planning meals, lunches and dinners become healthy and nutritious;
  • Simplify your days (and your life): an overview of the meals that are prepared and an accurate planning ensure that the days are simpler and that there is less stress;
  • Fights waste: planning meals allows you to make more informed choices when shopping, avoiding buying excess foods that risk not being consumed.

In short, the pros of meal planning are so many. And the good news is, getting started isn't hard at all.

Where do you start planning meals?

Getting started is not difficult, as we just said: meal planning is generally done on a weekly basis and the first thing to do is reflect on what are the things we would like to eat during these seven days.

A good practice is to divide meals by gender: first courses, second courses, appetizers, salads, desserts and so on. After that you need to give one look at the agenda to identify the freest days.

One of these days must inevitably be dedicated to expenditure, while the others can be used for more complicated preparations or to prepare meals that will then be frozen.

Then there are useful tools and tricks for excellent planning, such as using apps, making targeted shopping lists, making precise recipes or following weekly programs.

Plan meals with apps

Let's start with the most handy tool: apps. Downloadable to our smartphone and ready to use, meal planning apps are constantly increasing and can really become essential.

You can choose to combine the classic apps for the shopping list and combine them with the most common recipe apps, but it must be said that in the Android and iOS stores there are also applications entirely dedicated to meal planning: all in principle act as a guide, but there are some that have some really useful extra features.

Per esempio PlateJoy, available for both Android and iOS, allows you to create real personalized and calibrated food plans not only on the various family members, but also on any goals related to weight loss or gain. It is very intuitive and allows you to register the food we have already bought, to avoid buying it again.

Another very useful app is Mealime, which presents a series of recipes adapted to our preferences (which are expressed during registration) and has a very useful section, that of meals that can be prepared in less than 45 minutes.

These are just two examples, but the offer is very large and you can opt for both free and paid apps.

Shopping and recipes: the tricks for planning meals

When we talk about tricks to plan correctly meals, we mean that first of all you need to make a local mind. Planning starts from expenditure, which must be done in an intelligent and strategic way.

For this reason it will be necessary to think about recipes that we intend to prepare: what will be the main ingredients? Will we opt for a larger number of vegetable-based recipes or will we prefer something meat-based? And when do we think about putting in the fish?

Assuming that a varied diet is a healthy diet, we must try to alternate the ingredients and draw up one perfectly divided list, so as to go without fail.

But be careful, because, as we have already mentioned, you need to find a space in the agenda to dedicate topurchase of food as long as necessary and not a hasty quarter of an hour since first the long-life products will be placed in the cart and then the fresh ones such as fruit and vegetables, which require a more careful evaluation.

Time is also the key to preparing some meals: if our days are chaotic it is good to find at least one more free day to cook dishes in advance and defrost them on the assigned days.

The weekly programs

Read also: Weekly menu for the whole family with kindergarten-age children to make life easier

Finally, when it comes to meal planning, we must not forget that there is the possibility of putting into practice real weekly programs. We can take inspiration from our apps, from the web or, quite simply, create them by us.

To create a weekly program you need to do something we have already talked about, that is think about recipes that we are going to prepare during this time interval. Meals must satisfy being able to respect the needs of our body and be balanced with the necessary doses of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), vitamins and minerals.

The best way to organize a weekly schedule is starting with what we like and gradually fit all the other meals in the best way. A good idea is to think about the weekly plan on Fridays, shop on Saturdays and spend a few hours preparing meals to be frozen on Sundays.

We remind you that the weekly plan does not necessarily have to be followed to the letter: if by pure chance we realize that one of the dishes in the program was more abundant and that the leftovers are enough to make another meal, let's not waste: let's consume what we have first. fridge and then we move on.

  • planning
  • healthy nutrition
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