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How many times have you made a pledge for healthy eating, only to break it a few days later? My guess is, quite a few times. I know this from my own experience. I took me hundreds of tries and several binge eating moments to finally realize that the problem was not my lack of will but rather a lack of planning. It was only when I incorporated these 6 simple meal planning tips that I was truly able to take control of my nutrition. One month later, I was eating healthy AND LOVING IT!

Plan ahead

Before you begin your journey to a healthy diet, sit down and plan it properly. Planning helps give you focus and direction. That way, you won’t lose motivation. You will probably need a book to jot down your recipes and a monthly planner to plan out your meals. I’ve created a Weekly Meal Planner that’s easy to use and not complicated – simply jot down your plan for each meal and groceries needed to make it all happen!

Create a healthy recipe book

My biggest problem when going healthy was finding healthy recipes for dinner and lunch. I created my own healthy recipe book for this. Don’t just pin your favorite recipes; write them down in your healthy recipe book. Or download the Yummly App to not just save recipes but also to filter them based on nutrition value, cuisine and time.

To take to the next level, categorize the recipe book into meat, seafood, legumes, beans and vegetable sections. For each week, try to choose a recipe from every section. Have a meaty Monday or Seafood Sunday.

Here is a 31-day healthy meal plan for inspiration.

Plan and Shop for the whole week

At the start of the week, sit down and plan your menu for the entire week. Ask your partner and children what they would like to eat. Incorporate that into the weekly menu. This way you won’t be sending texts to your husband asking them what they would like for dinner and getting the answer, ‘Whatever you like.’ I hated that.

Once you have planned for the whole week, make a list of all the ingredients. Go shop for the whole week. We all know that grocery shopping becomes a luxury once you become a mom. Shopping for the whole week not only saves you time but also money. When I started making lists, my trips got much focused. I stopped wasting money on food that I often knew would end up in the trash a week later. I used that saved money to treat myself to a much-needed haircut or even a luxury massage.

Prep the food beforehand

Once you are back from grocery shopping, get into action mode and prep the food. I know the first impulse is just to put everything in the fridge or the pantry and go lie down. But trust me, prepping the food will make the rest of the week so much easier. Wash, cut and even boil those vegetables. Boil the chicken. Shred the cheese. Prepping them in one go is a time-saving tactic that you will later thank me for.

Leftover night

Have a leftover night at the end of the week. Clean out the fridge and serve the entire family an assorted number of dishes. Trust me, your family would love it. Mine do. This way everyone can enjoy the food they like. Marge can have the chicken and Jackie loves the baked potatoes. And make this the day you go grocery shopping. This way you don’t have to come home to prepare dinner. You can use that time to prep your food for the next week. A win-win situation.

Have a Cheat Day

Yes, each healthy should be a consistent step. But don’t overdo it. Cut yourself and your family some slack and enjoy a cheat day. Prepare the meal that you have been craving for the whole week. I once made myself a whole bucket of fried chicken. Halfway through eating that, I realized that I liked my healthy food much better.