Planning meals and snacks will help you to feel more secure with food. Remember as we have talked about this week, feeling insecure with food won’t allow you to graduate to other areas of eating. Planning for your meals and and snacks is really important in the beginning and well worth the effort. It’s not always an easy habit to get into, but once you get in the habit you will notice a real difference in how you feel at meal and snack times.

Over the last several days, since trying to implement eating on a more predictably schedule you may have noticed your hunger more. You may have noticed you have been more full and satisfied. Maybe you have even noticed you have had less food cravings. It’s no coincidence!

The more you are in charge of the WHAT and WHEN you eat the more you begin to notice about your eating. It opens up the ability to be curious and notice things you couldn’t before.

Today, I am including a Weekly Meal Planning Schedule. This Meal Planning Schedule is a basic worksheet to plan your meals and snacks for the week. While it will take you a few minutes to plan out, you will notice how much smoother your week will go once you have it planned. I have included a third sheet to print out so you can make any notes you need.

Here’s how it works:

1. Print out this worksheet – Meal Planning Worksheet

2. First sit down with your calendar for the week. On the top row of boxes start by writing out what appointments or activities you have planned for the week. This will help to plan out meals and snacks accordingly. For example, your daughter has basketball game at 6pm on Friday night. You might need to think fast, early dinner or extra snack and late, fast dinner. A doctors appointment may interfere with your lunch. You get the point.

3. Next, decide what you will eat for the week. Write all meals and snacks in the appropriate boxes. Keep in mind, if you don’t usually have a morning snack or don’t find a need for it, feel free to leave it blank. If you have plans to eat out on a particular night, just document that accordingly. You may have a working lunch and food will be provided…plan for that by writing “Work Lunch.”

How I do this. I sit down with the grocery store circular to check for what types of protein, veggies and sides are on sale. I then look for recipes that will work with those sale items. My favorite to look up recipes is usually Pinterest, but I’ve been known to use do a google search too. You can check out my dinner Pinterest page here if you need fresh ideas.

I work three nights a week so dinners need to be easy and something my husband can execute when I’m not there. You’ll see a lot of crockpot meals or one dish meals that can be heated up and served in a jiffy. However, you will have your own barriers around getting meals on the table, so it’s important to find something that works for your family.

4. Decide what needs to be prepped for the next day. For example: Take chicken out of freezer. I mean come on, there is nothing more frustrating than when you get home from work to realize the meat is still frozen. That can really derail dinner plans. Maybe you do better with prepping lunch the night before? Whatever it is you need to get done the night before you can add to the last row. That way at the end of the night you can review it and make sure you are ready for the next day.

The first week planning out meals and snacks can take you time. When I work with my clients one on one, I will sometimes spend half our session working on the plan for the week. It is so worth the time. It will help you to make a plan and follow through. Just that is enough for you to feel food secure.

Of course to follow through you have to get to the store and get the food you have put on the list. Once you have a plan for the food, it is much easier to get it made. Then there is less likelihood for food waste.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer for what you prepare. My only suggestion is what you decide to eat should be food you enjoy and tastes good. There should also be variety so you are excited to get to the table and eat what you’ve planned.

I’d love to hear how this goes for you! Where you able to plan your meals and snacks for the week? How did it help your eating?