Stop everything immediately. Is there an emergency? Yes – and it’s happening to you! Your meal planning and snack choices are out of control, and you know it. Week in and week out, you are buying and eating the same thing and continue to wonder why you have no energy and don’t look so hot. What’s happening? Your grocery shopping skills are weak. Yes, kudos to you for reading the label, and peeking at the ingredient list. But what exactly are you looking for, measuring it against, and doing with it? If you are buying individual food items with no plan for what to do with them, you, my friend, need a grocery intervention. I’m here for you.
All kidding aside, would you ever get ready in the morning without thinking about your outfit? We spend more time picking out our shoes and accessories than we do on how to put food/ingredients together to make a meal, decorating our outside, but neglecting our insides. Ironically, decorating the outside is impacted by our insides, right? Forget the picture filters. Your skin should be glowing and healthy on its own, not just because you photo shopped it.
So what to do? Here are 10 steps to get on the right path with your food planning and help you get better at shopping and meal planning. …And don’t forget to see a dietitian to help you drill down to your personalized choices.
- Make a list of your favorite foods, meals, snacks, and spices.
- Take stock of your pantry, freezer, and fridge and note what you have on hand.
- Think about the last delicious meal or snack you had and who made it. Find out the details.
- Take an inventory of your favorite recipes and compare your kitchen equipment with your list to see if you have the right things to make what you like to eat. Make a list of gaps and ask for these things as presents for holidays, birthday, or buy them yourself.
- Make a list of the reasons why you ate the last day’s worth of food. Was it because you planned it? Someone brought it into work? You were starving because you forgot to eat so you grabbed something on the go? What?
- Make a list of what is important to you in terms of what food does. Is it to quell hunger? You eat because it’s mealtime? You are training for a marathon?
- Think about how you plan your meals. How intentional are you?
- Think about where you got your food advice and what you are doing when you shop. If you stare at ingredients and food labels but you don’t have an accurate, science based reference as to why you are doing what you are doing, question yourself. Then visit choosemyplate.gov, and http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm079449.htm to read up on the details from label reading, menu planning, and more.
- Figure out what drives your choices and then be strong about supporting your beliefs. Don’t let others talk you into ordering something you wouldn’t just because of what they are eating. At the same time, don’t judge others for their own choices. We are all the captain of our own ship. Don’t let yours get sunk by allowing someone else to steer. Unless of course you are heeding the advice of your dietitian and steering out of the storm into calmer waters with the help of a professional. 😉
- Allow time to plan meals, don’t let them happen to you. It happens to all of us, so don’t feel bad. Just remember that food is necessary for life, and you deserve the best.