Odds are good that you plan your vacations in advance. You probably plan your budget, too. You plan birthday parties, weddings and family gatherings. But do you plan your meals? Meal planning is the most effective way to start building healthy habits, says Jenny Champion, Daily Burn Nutrition/Fitness Coach. “You’re so much more likely to stick to your goals when you’re not winging it on a meal-to-meal basis,” she says.
And the benefits don’t start and end with your waistline. Having a plan in place will streamline your grocery shopping and save you time and money in the long run. (You’ll waste less food, too!) Before each week starts, jot down what you want to eat and create a shopping list for all the foods you’ll need. If you really want to save time during the week, Champion recommends preparing some of your meals ahead of time on Sunday. (Meal prepping is easy with these handy tips.)
“If you’re new to meal planning, start with just one meal per day,” says Champion. “Choose the one that causes you the most stress. Once you’ve tackled that, add another meal to the plan.” And don’t be too down on your self if you stray from your plan. “There were always be times when something unexpected comes up or your schedule is thrown off. Allow for some flexibility in your plan and don’t get discouraged if a meal or a day doesn’t go perfectly.”
Ready to fill your calendar with delicious food? While tech-savvy planners can try these five apps to get organized, for those who like to keep it old-school with pen and paper, we’ve got six meal planning templates you can print at home. From keeping track of freezer meals or feeding the whole family, these printable templates have you covered.
6 Printable Meal Planning Templates
1. Download here.
Best for: Planning a well-rounded diet
With a cute and colorful daily servings checklist at the bottom, this template makes it easy to ensure you’re getting all your vegetables. Photo and template: Erin / Strawberry Mommycakes
4. Download here.
Best for: Feeding the whole family
Need to keep track of who will be at the dinner table on Wednesdays versus Thursdays? This template helps coordinate schedules with meal prep, taking the stress out of family time. Photo and template: Jess / Design Lass
5. Download here.
Best for: Keeping track of freezer meals
Freezer-friendly meals are a meal prepper’s best friend. For the uber-organized, this template will help make sure you don’t lose track of any frozen breakfast sandwiches or leftover chili. Photo and template: Cynthia / Organized Home
6. Download here.
Best for: Preparing for your whole month
If you’ve mastered the art of weekly meal prep, why not take it up a notch? Set yourself up for a month of healthy eating with this master template. Photo and template: Brittany / The Military Wife