We know we have talked a lot on meal planning, but that’s because it is something we all use every day whether we think about it or not. Meal planning is a powerful tool for maintaining a healthy and organized lifestyle. Not only does it help you save time, money, and stress but it also allows you to enjoy well-balanced and delicious meals. However, to truly excel in your meal planning, it’s important to track your progress. This post will explore the importance of monitoring your meal planning journey and offer practical tips to set yourself up for success.
The Role it Plays
- Accountability: It holds you accountable for sticking to your meal plans and making healthier choices. When you track your meals and what you consume, it becomes easier to maintain a sense of responsibility to your dietary goals.
- Efficiency: It helps you identify what’s working and what could have been better. This allows you to refine your approach for future meals. As you find which meals work best for you it will streamline your planning process to your specific preferences.
- Motivation: Having a plan to see the progress of where you started vs how far you have some in your meal planning journey is highly motivating. Doing this reinforces your commitment to meal planning and keeping up with working towards your goals.
- Adaptability: Just like we said in a previous meal planning post, flexibility enables you to adjust your plans as needed. Life happens so, whether due to changing tastes or dietary requirements or a change in your daily habits tracking your meals reinforces the changes into your memory and routine.
Tips on Tracking Your Progress
1. Meal Planning Journal
This could include your meal plans, grocery lists, and post-meal reflections. It serves as your meal planning playbook where you document your journey and learn from your experiences. The most important points would be noting what worked, what didn’t, and any adjustments or improvements you’d like to make. Tracking through journalling can help with pivoting your strategies when necessary, ensuring your plans align with your evolving needs.
2. Set Achievable Goals
Establish realistic meal planning goals. There should be a main focus goal to work towards. Once you have that work backwards. Include the steps that will be needed to get to your ultimate goal. When setting these and your timeline make sure to be realistic in what you want and when you want to reach it. Some of your goals could be as simple as cooking at home more often, trying new recipes each week, or incorporating more vegetables into your meals. The main point in setting them is that goals give you direction and that gives you a road map to follow.
3. Use Meal Planning Apps
Utilize resources to help make meal planning easier and more streamlined. This could be a number of things from meal planning apps, courses, or cooking classes. These tools can help simplify and speed up your meal planning process. From helping you plan, storing recipes, making shopping lists, and adjusting to your preferences to leveraging professional chef or planner’s skills to grow yours faster it’s definitely worth it to check out what is offered online.
While there are a number of different meal plan sites and courses, we do happen to love ours. If you want something that offers support along the way we recommend joining our Facebook group Meal Planning for Busy Parents. We are taking our meal plan site and adjusting it to a course to help teach you how we meal plan every week. The group will be the first to hear about everything, so if you want to know more that’s the best place to be!
4. Take Photos
Photos serve as visual record not only of your culinary accomplishments, but they also allow you to assess portion sizes, skill growth and presentation. Capturing images of your meals can be a fun and interactive way to document your progress. As professionals we can attest to this. If we look back at our food pics over the past 15-16 years, we can see how far we have come with our skills and presentation. It’s also great to share with family and friends, who can help with accountability.
5. Monitor Your Grocery Expenses
We all have a budget, some may be larger than others, but the point is that you have to know what it is in order to know whether you are on track or not. Tracking what your grocery expenses are ensure you’re staying within your budget or where you need to make adjustments. Over time, this will help you make more cost-effective choices and reduce food waste. By keeping an eye on your spending, there is a better opportunity to see where things may need to be changed or where you may have room to be more selective on higher quality ingredients.
6. Reflect Regularly
Having a process to track where you are with meal planning allows you to set aside time for regular reflections on your journey. During these times it’s important to consider what’s going well, where you’re facing challenges, and what changes you’d like to implement. Reflecting keeps your meal planning strategy dynamic and aligned with your needs and preferences as they grow and evolve.
7. Celebrate Your Wins
It’s easy to get caught up in focusing on the major goal you want that you miss the small wins along the way. Don’t forget to celebrate your meal planning victories, no matter how small. Each successful meal, new recipe, or week of sticking to your plan is an accomplishment worth acknowledging. Come up with a fun way to document, share or celebrate each win so that you acknowledge it. These celebrations help keep you motivation to continue up.
Whether you use a dedicated journal, technology, or a combination of methods, the insights you gain from monitoring your meal planning journey will help you achieve your goals and offer space for adjustments along the way. We hope this post finds you well in your meal planning journey and if you have any questions or need any help don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
If you haven’t joined our Facebook group Meal Planning for Busy Parents yet, please check it out HERE. That is where you can find our community and easily chat with us. We also go live every Friday to answer your questions and talk about all kinds of cooking and meal planning topics. We’ll see you tomorrow!