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Meal Planning For Beginners

Meal Planning For Beginners

Meal planning for beginners is the perfect place to start if you are new to the world of “dieting” or like most, you have been inundated by too many diet choices.  It is time to get back to basics.

No matter what diet you are following or attempting to follow – Paleo, Vegetarian, Standard North American, Mediterranean – the only way for sustainable success is to plan your meals in advance.

What it can’t be (assuming success is the goal) is right now, in the moment.

Only someone with exceptional dietary habits, who has been eating the same way for years and has thousands of meals “under their belt” can get away with this strategy, for everyone else, it’s meal planning.


One of the mistakes meal planning rookies make is not giving enough time to the planning stage.

Every minute you spend planning is multiplied when you reach the meal prep stage and you’re not clear on exactly what recipe you’re using or you end up short a few ingredients and need to run out to the grocery store.

Start by picking some recipes that fit your dietary guidelines. You’ll have the most success by sticking to a handful of recipes you recycle each week along with adding one or two new ones to test out for your rotation. Don’t make the mistake of attempting to create all new meals every single time.

Number one, there’s no way you can sustain it, and two, having a few winners that you love and can make with your eyes closed is a huge time saver.

Another consideration when choosing meals is how many do you need for the week?

Maybe you’re away two nights or you plan on eating out for a work event. Modify your numbers accordingly. 

Lastly, choose meals that use common ingredients versus unique and exotic ingredients you may only use once. 


Now that you’ve chosen wisely for the week, make an exhaustive list of all the ingredients you’re going to need to create your culinary masterpieces.

You’ll quickly realize you won’t need everything on this list as some already sit in your pantry, fridge, or freezer just waiting to be used up.

Make a list of what you’re actually going to buy.


This step is simple.

The pro tip is to follow your list. You have a plan – stick to it!


The final step in your meal planning for beginners program is to set aside time on the weekend, a couple of hours will generally work depending on how many meals and how complicated your meals choices are.

During this time, you’ll chop, cut, clean and prep as many of the ingredients you’ll need.

Package your ingredients in bags and containers for simple access. 

Keep in mind the goal is to be able to reach the “cooking” stage of each meal as fast as possible on the night you’ll be enjoying them.


Once you start the process of meal planning, I promise it will progressively get easier and easier, saving you more time and helping you and your family enjoy good, healthy food more often. 

More often also means more healthy and more of the results you’ve always wanted from your diet.

Happy meal planning!

Until next time,

Dr. Cindy Beemer

Beemer Back Center