The Beginner’s Guide To Meal Planning

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beginner's guide to meal planning

  • If you have never really done meal planning before, you may not realize the importance of it. This one step, as simple as making your lunch the night before, or doubling a recipe for leftovers, will change your bariatric momma life!
    • Cooking my family a meal like Alfredo Penne, for example, could leave me open to a catastrophe! It’s a super simple option to cook for the family since it’s the end of the day and I’m tired. It would be way too easy to serve myself a heaping portion and set me back on my weight loss journey. That’s why I did a meal plan a few days ago and am already prepared to make my version of alfredo with zoodles!
    • I made a decision to change my behavior when I decided to have VSG Surgery. Doing the short meal planning sessions whether, on paper, whiteboard on my fridge, or my phone calendar helps me be prepared for those crazy hunger moments, tired cooking moments, or binge-worthy days.

The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning

  • The beginner’s guide to meal planning is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
    1. Decide what and where you will record your meals plans
    2. Take a couple minutes to sit down and plan (make a list of your favorite recipes)
    3. Make the plan and stick to it

Get your name on the List for the release date of my memoir about WLS, sobriety, and Losing an 18 yr friendship + FREE Dump & Go Recipe book!

What is Meal Planning?

  • Meal planning is the simple act of taking some time to plan any number of your meals for the week. Plan for yourself or plan for your family. You can plan to eat healthy and even include a night out. Options include planning every snack and meal, planning just dinners, or simply plan your lunches so you don’t spend money on restaurant food during the week.
  • It may seem like meal planning is time consuming or will require loads of cooking you’re not really into. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. You don’t have to cook different meals every night. You don’t have to make elaborate meals. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be more time consuming. Meal Planning itself does not have to be time consuming. And you don’t have to plan 7 meals a week!

How to get started

  • Figure out what works for you. If you have struggled with meal planning in the past, maybe you made it too complicated. Maybe you need an accountability partner to keep you on track. The main thing to get started is to just take a few minutes to pull it together and keep it simple. Start with planning only a few days to start if you’d like. Set aside a time to plan that works for you: during your lunch hour, during your child’s nap, 30 minutes before you go to bed.

Tips for Success

  • Start by building a food list. Put this list on your fridge, in your phone or in your notebook. Put all your go-to meals together. Tweak any with a healthy version for yourself if needed. Add any new ones you come across and like.
  • Try doubling a recipe to create leftovers! If there is a meal you are pretty sure you could add a little more to, take advantage of it. Leftovers can work for lunches or another night of dinner! You’ve already saved time.
  • Check out dump and go recipes. I have an ebook compiled with amazing recipes!
  • Start with meals you know you like and repeat them every week or two.
  • See if you already have some groceries waiting in the fridge to be used. Plan a meal with them.
  • Don’t forget to schedule a lazy night. There might be a night or two in the week that was so stressful you can’t even dream of cooking; or, that you just feel too dang tired. Plan an option for a sit-down restaurant or take out option. Make sure it’s from somewhere that can accommodate your healthy preferences.


  • Grab your free Meal Planner here!
  • I have a sample bariatric meal plan here if you’d like to get more ideas about low calories meal planning.
  • If you need an accountability partner, check me out here at Team No Excuse Ninjas. I’ve helped numerous people stay accountable for themselves and stick to their plans!
  • I also have a YouTube Video on my channel: HeatherIsh about Meal Planning. Click the picture to watch meal planning youtube video

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Meal Planning

  • Meal planning is key to stress free meals. Make it your own and keep it simple!
  • What are some of your favorite meal planning tips we didn’t already cover?

Related Posts:
The VSG Diet
12 Delicious and Healthy Dump & Go Recipes
4 Easy Meal Planning Tips Even If You Hate Meal Planning

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