Meal planning—just the thought can give you a rush of either dread or excitement. But, most of us can agree that the idea has plenty of potential to make life (and hitting your goals) easier.
However, it isn’t always easy to know how to get started, particularly when you are eating a different way from the standard American diet.
Luckily, meal planning doesn’t have to be difficult! Here’s how to keep it simple and effective—and meal plan the easy way.
Why Meal Planning Is Important On Low Carb
The first step is knowing why you need to meal plan, especially with a low-carb lifestyle.
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There are three big reasons that meal planning is crazy important on low carb:
- It saves you money.
- It helps you track macros.
- It keeps you on track.
When you plan out your meals a week ahead of time, you can buy food that’s on sale and save money. Grab that steak at Costco and eat steak this week. If chicken is half off at Publix, make a few chicken recipes.
Meal planning also helps you track your macros. You can literally write down how many carbs you will eat all week. Then, you don’t have to worry about “Oh, can I eat this?” or look at your food tracking app and wonder, “Do I have enough carbs left over to eat this?”
In fact, scheduling your meals and macros ahead of time will protect you from temptations. When you know you have a super tasty 7 layer bar at home to eat, you won’t even want that dessert at the restaurant.
So, how do you meal plan on low carb so you stay on track and lose as much weight as possible?
You just have to break the process down into easy steps (and use a few hacks to break through the haze of confusion and frustration).
Use A Pre-Made Meal Plan
I mean, it can’t get easier than using a meal plan that’s already made for you, can it? Nope! And there’s no shame in relying on something like the 28 Day Metabolism Reset‘s 4-week menu to plan out all of your meals. That’s why we created it!
In the 28 Day Metabolism Reset, you’ll find the printable grocery list along with enough meals and recipes to last you the entire month. Don’t want to be boxed in by the meals in the plan? You can customize it, switching out recipes for similar ones from the Thinlicious recipe index.
If you want total control over your weekly menu, then here’s how to meal plan without losing your mind.
Meal Plan A Month In Advance
When you plan all your meals for the entire month, it saves you from having to do it over and over again each week. FREEDOM!!!
The best thing about planning out an entire month’s worth of meals is that you can edit them as your mood strikes, but you always have a meal to fall back on, just in case you don’t feel like thinking about it.
We all know what decision overload feels like and knowing that all the meals are planned is a gigantic emotional relief.
Plus, when you plan your meals a month ahead of time, you can put them all into your favorite food tracking app, so you don’t have to think about it while you’re eating!
Techy Tip: Use An App
Here’s a hack that will save you even more time (and brain power). Use a calendar app (like Google Calendar or a board like Trello). List out your favorite low-carb recipes of all time, one each day. Then, set each recipe to repeat every 2 weeks (or whatever interval you want).
You only have to fill up one month’s worth of recipes to have food planned out for the entire year!
Whether you plan out your menu on an app, a whiteboard or a piece of paper, do whatever you can to make life easier for yourself.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
Another way to make life easier is to plan out meals that use leftovers in new and creative ways. This way, you’ll only have to plan about three recipes for the week. The other recipes are new ways to eat what you have already cooked.
For example, you might grill an entire chicken with the low-carb beer can chicken recipe. Then, chop or shred the leftovers and use them in chicken salad. See? You can get two recipes out of that one chicken!
Just thinking about cooking meat fewer times each week feels like a huge weight is being lifted off your shoulders.
Want to save yourself even more time and cook even less often?
Spend one day and cook all the meals for the next three days. Then, all you have to do each day is put the food in the air fryer or oven, and dinner is ready. Ahhhh…is that what free time feels like?
These delicious meals store so well that you can use them in your meal prep for lunches, too.
Meal Prep While You Menu Plan
As you plan out dinners for the week, don’t forget about lunch (and low-carb snacks, if you need them).
To make lunches something you can just grab and eat, portion them out into single servings in small, resealable containers.
Keeping items neatly tucked away in containers allows you to enjoy your lunch without having to figure out what to eat. It’s like having an older sister on standby who is always ready with a snack! She knows exactly where to reach without sifting through cluttered cupboards or pantries, searching the bottomless abyss of random stuff in there.
Plus, containers are great because they come in so many shapes, sizes and colors, making it easy to find what suits your lifestyle best. Get creative with it and color coordinate by day, meal type or food type.
And you know what’s even better than organizing your refrigerator by color? Organizing your favorite recipes on Pinterest.
With its updated search functions, Pinterest is easier than ever to use. Every single time you make a recipe that you absolutely love, pin that recipe to your “Make This Again” Pinterest board.
If you prefer to do things offline, print out your favorite recipes, 3-hole punch them and add them to a binder of favorite recipes.
Do whatever you need to do in order to keep your all-time favorite recipes somewhere you can quickly find them.
If you’re eating low carb with a spouse or best friend, share a Pinterest board so you can both add recipes to it!
While we’re talking about Pinterest…follow Thinlicious on Pinterest. All of our favorite recipes are pinned there!
When all of your favorite meals are in one place, you don’t have to sit and agonize over what to make this week. Sit down, open the app, write down what you’ll cook, and it’s done!
You can check “make weekly meal plan” off your to-do list!
There’s nothing quite like that feeling of seeing a to-do list with all the things checked off, is there? Stop moving “make meal plan” further down the list and just do it once and for all. When you learn how to meal plan the simple way, it isn’t a chore you hate anymore; it’s something you can do and finish stress-free.
And don’t forget to join the Thinlicious Facebook Community for more support on your journey to making healthier choices. We can’t wait to hear all about your successes (and maybe even share a recipe or two)!
As you become a pro at how to meal plan, here are some more resources for low-carb living that we think you’ll love:
Meal Plan To Lose Weight
Are you ready to make a plan to take control of your health and finally feel better than ever? Then start with our Thinlicious 28 Day Metabolism Reset, designed to introduce you to the Thin Adapted System and help you retrain how your body burns fuel in just four weeks. Get it HERE.
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