Meal Planning for Beginners

Do you meal plan?

I find when I use this term, people's minds immediately jump to a bodybuilding athlete carefully packing up seven days worth of bland chicken, soggy broccoli, and meager portions of rice.

This is not my kind of meal planning.

Meal planning to me simply means looking ahead at your week and thinking about what you can do/purchase/cook to have more success in eating healthy, well rounded meals.

This could be as simple as creating a note in your phone (which is what I often do) that includes what your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas and your grocery list of items needed to execute that plan. Or it could be as complicated as having a fancy PDF with elaborate, curated recipes and a mile long list of obscure ingredients (10/10 do not recommend this, yet this is where a lot of people think they need to start).

I will often have my clients fill in a spreadsheet that breaks meals out into even smaller categories and answers the question: where is my protein, carb, fat, and color coming from at each meal? I think this is a useful educational tool for the beginning of your meal planning with macros journey.

My favorite way to meal plan? Using the Rule of Threes. Choose:

- 3 proteins (let's say eggs, chicken thighs, ground turkey)

- 3 carb sources (like oats, bean pasta, rice)

- 3 vegetables (mushrooms, grape tomatoes, broccoli)

Prep these options in the easiest way possible- personally I like to set and forget a lot of my meat in the slow cooker, or toss it in the oven to slow roast. Here's how I would make different combos of the above ingredients:

Monday + Tuesday

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushrooms and oatmeal

Lunch: chicken and pasta pesto salad with tomatoes

Dinner: turkey burger bowl with rice and broccoli

Wednesday + Thursday

Breakfast: savory oats with turkey mushroom meatballs

Lunch: fried rice with broccoli

Dinner: chicken with pasta, blistered tomatoes, tomato sauce

Friday + Saturday:

Breakfast: egg and broccoli omelet with oats

Lunch: barbeque chicken thighs over rice with tomatoes on the side

Dinner: baked rigatoni pasta with turkey and mushrooms

Use sauces and toppings (usually fat sources) to enhance the flavors of the above options. Looking for more meal planning help? Download my free Meal Planning template here and work on keeping 'ish SIMPLE!

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Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist

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