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How To Create A Healthy Meal Plan

She seems happy to be grocery shopping!

WARNING: NEVER go food shopping when you are hungry! Or tired or cranky! It doesn’t work. Healthy shopping turns into healthy eating when you are in the right frame of mind. If it’s all too much, try ordering online.

Here’s my fail safe steps to meal planning success

1. Plan it

I am a fan of choosing our most loved meals, without it appearing like groundhog day, I like to stick to our favourites and then always have options on board that I can “create” meals from. I’ll show you what I mean:

Never changing (love these to death, eat them errry week!)

– Spag bol
– Stir fry
– Fish night
– A weekend breakfast fancy thing (pancakes, frittata or bacon & eggs)
– Steak night
– A Pizza or takeaway food night (easy peasy)
– A Bunless burger type situation
– A few “just vego”options

And so on. I recommend you plan your favourites then you can create meals once you’ve filled the gaps. If you then need to print out something to keep in your fridge then do it. Every little bit helps

Nat’s Tip: Stop stressing yourself out with having to come out with amazing, brand new meals every night. Go with what you love and will eat. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just healthy & delicious. Pretty much every night I serve something along the lines of piece of meat, big salad, maybe a little bit of carb (pasta/rice/sweet potato/potato/gnocchi) and a good quality fat (egg, oil, avo, nut or dairy).

2. Shop it then store it

My list in ingrained in my brain, because I don’t really deviate from it too much on a weekly basis, so I shop from what I need only. When at the grocery store, the stuff worth buying is generally on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. I save time by dodging the crappy/junk food in the middle and I also do a monthly shop for staples (the stuff that is in the pantry) and buy dairy, fresh fruit and veg weekly. I freeze my meat, so get away with doing that fortnightly. The routine just works for me, if you want to shop more often, go for it!

Nat’s NEVER CHANGING WEEKLY Shopping List:

Packet of free range eggs
1kg greek yoghurt
Fresh fresh
2-4 different types of red/white Meat (to freeze)
Butter
Loaf of sourdough
2L Organic milk
A white cheese (haloumi, cottage cheese, fetta, bocconcini etc)
Fresh fruit and veg

PANTRY/FRIDGE STAPLES:

COFFEE
WINE
Tea
Peanut Butter
Olive Oil
Salt/pepper
Passata
Vinegar (apple cider)
Mustard
Soy
Chilli sauce (Cholula)
Canned tomatoes
Pasta
Gnocchi
Brown Rice
Quinoa
Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes
Onions
Canned chickpeas
Lentils
Rice cakes
Oats
Chia seeds
Nuts
Stock (veg/chicken/beef)
Dried herbs/spices
Nuzest protein powder
Natural Raw C Coconut Water
70% block of dark chocolate (I get 2 squares, that’s if my man hasn’t woofed it down after I go to bed!)
Baking items (rice malt syrup, cacao, coconut flakes, coconut oil, stevia, gelatine, baking powder, bi carb, cinnamon and vanilla beans)

FREEZER STAPLES:

Meat (chicken, mince, steaks, sausages etc)
Berries & Bananas plus any other frozen fruit
Peas

Once at home, I get preppin’. I have freezer bags and containers ready to sort my food out. I do this for portion control, no real other reason. Where I may have a packet of chicken breasts, I divide it up into say 4 and freeze those portions. There is only two of us, so it’s easy to just organise it this way.

Nat’s Tip: Buy seasonal produce from the fruit/veg markets, that way you’ll get fresh food that your body with want. Think soupy, warming items for winter and cooler salads for summer. It totally makes sense!

3. Bulk cooking

Repeat after me: Bulk or batch cooking is your friend! It can come in the form of grilling a load of meats or whipping up a pot of meatballs. It can be as simple as smoothie bags (where you pop all your fruit & veg ingredients in smoothie bags and keep them in the freezer to then just add liquid and protein powder come morning time) or chopping stir fry veg items and keeping them in a storage container in the fridge. Little things help save time. My recipe ebooks are all here , they offer up some creative ideas for everyday meals, entertaining and desserts.

4. Have a food budget

It sounds so simple but I find having a budget and sticking to it, is really handy for your health & wallet. I’m getting much better at engaging  FRUGAL MODE. You know that point where you find yourself scraping the bottom of the veggie crisper to create a soup versus calling for a takeaway pizza. Or you decide to create a three to five ingredient meal with whatever is kicking around in the freezer. It’s those meals that are sometimes the best! A real quick thing I can think of that I do when in frugal mode, is using the whole broccoli, stems and all, in a stir fry with some beef or chicken, few handfuls of nuts, some carrots and a splash of soy. The broccoli stem is really tasty, it’s almost better than the “tree” part! I used to throw so much food away, now it’s less and less.

Nat’s Tip: Frugal Mode doesn’t mean eating crappy poor quality food everyday or looking for bargains. It’s just simply thinking outside the box or preventing the piles and piles of food waste we all are guilty of doing. I definitely recommend fruit and veg markets. I save a fortune shopping there. The other day I got about 7 bananas (perfect for freezing but a little brown to eat fresh) for $1! Frugal mode for the WIN!

What are your meal planning tips? Did I miss anything?

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