Today I have a guest post for you from Nikola, an expert in low carb diets and the perfect meal plan. Read more about her at the end of the article.
Converting to a healthy real food Low Carb lifestyle is a major shift. There is such a weight of culture around building our meals around starchy carbohydrate with no added fats that when this is removed from the equation it can feel as if there is “nothing left” – even if that isn’t true.
Even with what I teach in the HOPE protocol and the support of the simple to use OSN Scale, when we change our diet to remove bread, cakes and biscuits as well as potatoes, pasta, rice and sugar (what society deems as essential) and add back in the healthy natural fats that nature puts into whole food, we can be left feeling rather lost.
So, here are my top 5 tips for effectively meal planning:
01 Work out your budget and the details
You might the type of person that loves to work in depth with planning. You find great joy in searching for and picking out recipes and planning for lots of variation to mealtimes to produce highly detailed weekly or even monthly menus.
Or, you might simply want to know that when you open the fridge, there will be inspiration to make your favourite meals inside. I’m one of these types and I tend to buy similar food week-to-week and make stuff up by riffing on past successes.
You might fall somewhere between these two extremes. Either way, shopping for it all and then cooking it has to fit in with your life!
02 Work out what you need to buy
Once you know your recipes/patterns and budget, you can then work out what you need to buy to feed yourself and your family easily.
If money is tight, proper planning helps control food expenditure. Also, recipes can really help with budgeting, as finding and grouping recipes that use similar store cupboard ingredients saves money in the long run.
Also of note, the UK generate 4.5 million tonnes of edible food waste, and by properly working out what you want to eat, you save food, time, and money. This helps you build this perfect meal plan.
03 Work out when you want to eat what you want to eat
Use a grid such as this to work it all out:
|Snack if desired|
|Snack if desired|
It’s worth noting that as you settle into your low carb life, your hunger levels naturally diminish. Most Low Carbers eat only two tasty whole food meals a day and don’t feel the need to snack. That’s also great for the budget!
04 Work out your three shopping lists
Form three core lists around what food you want to obtain,
- “Perishable Foods” (short shelf life),
- “Seasonings” (medium to long shelf life / stuff that is “used little and often”)
- “Store Cupboard Ingredients” that will always be in your house. (long shelf life)
Seasoning and Store Cupboard will usually stay similar month to month, with the perishables having the most variation.
Perishable foods are meat, fish, eggs, butter, cream and green vegetables.
Seasonings are things like salt, pepper, herbs, spices, Worcester sauce, soy sauce, num pla, olive oil, coconut oil and sweeteners
Store cupboard is fresh vegetables that keep well such as onions, garlic, butternut squash, swede etc, canned and frozen foods, and also whilst we are thinking about shopping anyway, general “household” goods such as loo rolls, laundry detergent and cleaning products
05 Arrange to get your shopping delivered
Whilst going to the shops is sometimes unavoidable, there is nothing at all wrong with using supermarket delivery services for the bulk of your shopping. Having food delivered also means it is simple to stick to your lists and prevents impulse purchasing. Instead you buy what you need for your perfect meal plan.
I suggest plan for either weekly or bi-weekly perishables delivery and plan to get the seasonings and store cupboard items delivered once a month.
Nikola Howard, one of the UK’s leading champions of the benefits of a low-carb lifestyle https://lowcarbinthe.uk, is celebrating winning two prestigious awards just as she approaches the 21st anniversary of the start of her personal mission. In her own words, she wants to set people free from ‘diet prison’ and encourage Britain to ‘eat itself healthy’.