There are many diets and food lifestyles out there. While many people look for a quick fix, there are now many people looking for a sustainable lifestyle that helps them lose weight and keep it off in the long term. They want more than just a way to get rid of the flab and want a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re on a diet.
Therefore many dieters and healthy eating plans focus on filling and healthy foods. If you followed one of the old Weight Watchers diets, you’ve likely heard of the “filling and healthy” plan. This was full of food that was designed to make you feel fuller quicker and keep you feeling full for longer. The food was also healthy, offering a range of nutrients rather than empty calories.
Whatever type of diet you follow, you want to create a filling and healthy meal plan. In fact, you can do this without following a specific type of diet. Focusing on foods that are good for you and will make you feel satisfied sooner and for longer will help you eat fewer calories and lose more weight.
But how do you create a filling and healthy meal plan? Just where do you start and what do you need? This is your step-by-step guide to prepare and create your filling and healthy meal plan. We’ll start from the very beginning.
What Is a Filling and Healthy Meal?
Before we look at planning, let’s take a look at the idea of filling and healthy meals. What makes a meal both filling and healthy?
Think about your current meals. Do you find that after a few hours you feel hungry, or you don’t have much energy? This is likely because you’re eating the wrong mixture of nutrients—or you’re not getting any nutrients at all.
You could end up with too many carbs and not enough fiber or protein. Sure, carbs are important, but your meal shouldn’t be completely made up of them. You’ll need to make sure you get a good mixture of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. And you’ll want to get the right types of carbs; the ones with the fiber.
Proteins, fiber, and healthy fats break down slowly in the body. They help to avoid sugars metabolizing quickly, so the energy is released throughout the space of the day. You’ll feel more satisfied throughout the day because of this. This can mean you eat fewer calories throughout the day, although you will have to think about your portion sizes.
It is possible to lose weight without calorie counting. You focus more on the type of food you’re eating, naturally making you eat less.
Filling and healthy foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean meals
- Olive and coconut oil
- Whole grains
- Whole wheat bread, pasta, and rice
- Nuts and seeds
Now that you know more about the filling and healthy foods, it’s time to create your filling and healthy meal plan.
Step 1: Make Sure You Have a Book or Planner
Let’s start with something to create your meal plan. It can be in a notebook or a planner for the wall. You just need somewhere that you can look at to know what you will be making on the day or the meal that you’ll pull out of the freezer. We’ll move on the freezer element later!
There are meal planners available in most craft stores now. You can also get a white board that you put up in the kitchen. You simply mark out a table for the week with sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Make sure you have enough space to write in each section. Your snack section can be smaller than other sections.
You may want to have a wall planner just for dinners, as they may be the only meals that your family will eat together. The other meals can be planned separately in a book. It’s also possible to use different colored pens for individual people in the house. This can be a good way to manage certain types of meals, such as gluten-free or dairy free diets.
Some people have taken to bullet journaling for meal planning. They have a small notebook that they use for all types of planning and organizing.
Step 2: Plan Out All Meals and Snacks
Some people will only plan out one meal a day. They forget about the other two meals. Those that plan out all three meals will often forget about the snacks. It’s important to plan out all your meals.
You will also want to plan out the timings of your meals to keep your energy leveled throughout the day.
When your main meals are four hours apart, you’ll find you need fewer snacks and can cut down to just one. Alternatively, you can opt for smaller meals spaced out three hours throughout the day. You get a constant stream of energy that breaks down and is used up slowly throughout the day.
Any more than four hours between meals and you will start feeling hungry. This is because your body will use up the energy that you’ve provided it. If you eat the wrong types of foods, you’ll feel hungrier at earlier points in the day. Feeling hungry can make your body going into a panic mode. While it seems silly, your body doesn’t exactly know when you’re going to get your next meal. It starts making you crave the instant rushes of energy to sustain it.
You want to focus on the smaller meals throughout the day, rather than two big meals and a couple of snacks. This helps you stick to your filling and healthy meal plan.
Step 3: Have a List of Low GI Foods
Remember when I said you needed to focus on the right carbs? Well, you want to focus more on the low GI carbs. These are those that don’t release as many sugars directly into the bloodstream. They don’t cause a large insulin response and are healthier for you, especially if you have diabetes.
That doesn’t mean all high GI foods are off limits. Surprisingly some fruits are considered high GI foods. You just must be aware that these foods aren’t as good for your health or your hunger levels. They can metabolize quicker than other foods, leaving you feeling hungry throughout the day.
Make a list of all the low GI foods that you can eat. This will help you decide whether a recipe is good for your filling and healthy diet. Consult the list for any new recipe that you find, especially if it claims to be filling and healthy. One or two ingredients on the recipe list can be high GI, but you want most them to be low.
Step 4: Spend Time Looking for Recipe Ideas
While you will have some staples for your meal plan, you’ll want to add some new recipes to your weekly plan. This helps to avoid getting bored. You’ll find it much easier to stick to this healthy lifestyle.
Spend time each week looking for some new recipes to try. Don’t just pick up cookbooks. You can check out blogs, websites, and even Pinterest for some ideas. Speaking of Pinterest, set up a board for all your recipes. Quickly repin all the ones that look interesting to you and then you have them for easier grabbing.
You don’t need to add a new recipe to every single day of the week. Opt for a new and fun recipe once or twice. Get the kids involved in this process and find out what they would like. You can offer a couple of choices to choose from, so they feel like they have total control, but you’ve still made sure the meals are filling and healthy.
Plan strategic places for putting them into your meal plan. Think about the days that you have more time to cook and those when you’re not going to resent spending time at the stove. This means it will be less likely that you will switch the plan and opt for something that isn’t filling and healthy.
Don’t forget to plan in some desserts. These will become part of your meals. Dessert with your evening meal is the most common.
Step 5: Make Sure You Have Some Family Friendly Staples
You won’t want to spend all your time cooking something new. There will be times that you just want to grab ingredients and create a meal. Therefore you’ll need some staple meals that your whole family will love. These could also be meals that your guests are guaranteed to love, instead of risking trying something new.
Set up a recipe folder or a Pinterest board full of the family-friendly recipes. This will make it easier to pull them out when you want to make them.
You may not have the recipes. After a while, the staples will be ones that you make off the top of your head.
Step 6: Don’t Be Afraid to Bulk Cook
I mentioned that you could grab some meals from the freezer. I wasn’t talking about processed meals that you can get from the grocery store. This comment was about bulk cooking one day of the week.
This can be an excellent way to stick to your filling and healthy meal plan during a busy week. Opt for a day off work when you make a range of meals throughout the week. You can have Bolognese sauces, marinades, and soups. You can even pre-prepare some of your vegetables and salads to make it easier to grab and go.
You don’t have to prepare every single element of your meal. Simply have the elements that usually take the longest to make, so you can reheat while your pasta or meat is cooking. You’ll find it is much easier to grab a meal after a long day at work. You won’t think about the takeaways that just aren’t filling and healthy.
Step 7: Try Out Themed Nights
“Meatless Monday” is a popular hashtag on Twitter. You could opt for Soup Saturday or Pizza Friday. There are all sorts of themes that you can have.
Yes, they will help with creating the meal plan for your filling and healthy lifestyle. Each day of the week has a designated theme. This is your theme throughout a month or a few months; then you can always change them up if you want to try something else.
Each meal of the day will work with your designated theme. You will find that coming up with ideas is much easier. You just must search for recipes that work with the theme or adapt your favorite meals to work with the theme.
All you have to do is make sure that the recipes are still filling and healthy.
Step 8: Create a Shopping List of Necessary Foods
Once you’ve created your weekly meal plan, create a list of foods that you will need to buy. Some meals will use the same ingredients, so you’ll need to make sure you stock up on plenty for your needs.
Don’t worry if you do run out. You can always go to the shop on the way home. However, having everything ready will help to limit the frustration of running out of a particular ingredient.
When you are out of a staple ingredient, make sure you put it on the shopping list. This will avoid forgetting about it when it comes to creating your next shopping list.
Step 9: Don’t Be Afraid to Be Relaxed
It will be tempting to stick with your filling and healthy meal plan strictly. This isn’t necessary. Your meal plan needs to be fun. Eating with your friends and family should be enjoyable, as well as healthy and good for your energy levels.
It’s important to create a meal plan that is relaxed and works for you. If you decide you want to switch the meals for Friday and Saturday around, don’t be afraid to do it. If your kids decide that they want Wednesday’s planned dinner for Monday, go with the flow. A simple swap is not going to affect your diet or your meal plan!
However, you only really want to do swaps. If you are going to opt for alternatives, make sure they are still filling and healthy recipes. You don’t want to swap out the Friday filling and healthy fish dish for a takeaway pizza!
Are You Ready for a Filling and Healthy Meal Plan?
It’s time to stock up on filling and healthy ingredients. Look out for foods that work great for recipes but also for good snacks throughout the day.
A filling and healthy meal plan will be fun to create. There is lots of inspiration on the likes of Pinterest or in cookbooks. Just make sure you have your calendar or planner and create a meal plan that works for everyone in the house. You’ll soon have a list of staples and wonder what the panic or confusion was all about.