The only way to be sure you’re consuming healthy, high-quality food is to make it yourself. Of course, there are only so many hours in the day, and finding time to cook can be a challenge -- but it doesn’t have to be. With some basic tools and the right foods, you’ll be on your way to creating a meal plan you can stick to. 

Make cooking part of your weekly schedule

You book appointments, meetings and dates in your calendar, so why not food prep? Use a weekly cooking calendar to plan your meals in advance. Commit to cooking on the days you’re less busy, and rely on leftovers when you have other plans.  

By deciding on your meals in advance, you can build a complete grocery list, which will help minimize unnecessary purchases and additional trips to the grocery store, as well as reduce food waste.   

Dedicating one or two nights a week to preparing lunches and dinners is also a great way to stay consistent with your health and fitness goals. By deliberately cooking in advance, you’re less likely to order in or pick up junk food when you’re hungry. 

Nutrition meets convenience(and flavour) 

If you want your meal planning habits to last, your choices should be nutritious but also practical and enjoyable! If you have specific goals, like gaining muscle, reducing fat, or maintaining your current bodyweight, portion sizes and macronutrients should align with the desired result.  

Portion out your meals based on daily calorie goals and hunger cues, opting for larger portions on days you plan to be more active. Each meal should contain a quality protein source, fibre, a healthy fat, and variety of colourful fruits and veggies.

Incorporating all of the recommended components into every meal can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of food hacks to help you plan a balanced, delicious meal with all the right ingredients. Pre-made salads are great for variety and convenience. Frozen veggies are a time-saving and affordable way to create quick and nutritious dishes. In some cases, frozen vegetables maintain more nutrients than fresh because the flash freezing process keeps them from spoiling. 

Enjoyable means sustainable 

You should always enjoy your food, and ideally have fun preparing it! By setting aside time in your calendar, cooking can become a regular part of your weekly routine. Use that time to multitask with something you enjoy -- listen to a podcast, watch your favourite show, or make it dedicated family time.The internet is chock full of healthy and delicious recipes to try. And don’t be afraid to break the rules…think eggs for dinner or leftovers for breakfast! Keeping it fresh and changing it up will make it that much easier to maintain.