How do I Make a Healthy Meal Plan?

B. Miller

To make a healthy meal plan, begin by determining your specific dietary needs and researching what you should be eating. For instance, if you are trying to lose weight, a meal plan might be low in calories; if you are weight lifting or doing a lot of exercise, however, you might want a higher calorie meal plan. Any other specific dietary or medical restrictions should be considered when creating a healthy meal plan, such as a preference for a vegetarian diet, or a restricted diet due to diabetes.

Cookbooks can often offer many healthy meal ideas.
Cookbooks can often offer many healthy meal ideas.

In general, a healthy meal plan will predominantly contain foods from the fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and lean protein categories. Processed foods containing fats, sugars, and simple carbohydrates should generally be avoided or only eaten in moderation. Once you have determined what kinds of foods you want to eat, search online or in cookbooks for recipes; try to select some recipes that you would not ordinarily try in order to add variation to your diet. For instance, you might search out some meatless dishes made with beans and rice instead of ground meat.

Adding fruit salad as a dessert option can make meal plans healthier.
Adding fruit salad as a dessert option can make meal plans healthier.

Some people create a vague healthy meal plan, and simply try to purchase foods that follow the general rules of the plan. Others may create an actual, specific plan for the month or the week, determine all the foods needed, and go grocery shopping accordingly. This can be a great way to save time and money, as well as to avoid snacking on unhealthy foods just because they are there. This may not be fore everyone, however, as some people prefer more spontaneity in their dining habits.

Substituting lean chicken for red meat is one step in healthy eating.
Substituting lean chicken for red meat is one step in healthy eating.

If it is helpful, create a chart or search online for an application that allows you to enter your meal plans. Some applications will tell you the calorie count in a meal, as well as ways to cut calories, which may be able to help you as you create next week's healthy meal plan, and progress in your healthy lifestyle. As you make the meals, keep track of which ones you don't like and which ones are favorites.

Salads are often included in a healthy meal plan.
Salads are often included in a healthy meal plan.

After a few weeks of eating a new healthy meal plan, reassess your goals. For instance, have you lost weight, or gained more energy or muscle while exercising? If changes need to be made, adapt your meal plan. A doctor will also be able to test for medical issues like high cholesterol and determine if a different way of eating is making a difference. A nutritionist may also be able to offer practical advice and customize a meal plan for your specific needs.

A healthy meal plan should include various low-calorie, but high protein snacks like yogurt.
A healthy meal plan should include various low-calorie, but high protein snacks like yogurt.
Most sound diet plans stress greater consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Most sound diet plans stress greater consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
For breakfast, oatmeal is an inexpensive yet healthy food, as are seasonal fruits bought at the farmers market.
For breakfast, oatmeal is an inexpensive yet healthy food, as are seasonal fruits bought at the farmers market.
If you are trying to lose weight, a recommended meal plan might be low in calories.
If you are trying to lose weight, a recommended meal plan might be low in calories.
Fresh fruit should be added to a healthy meal plan.
Fresh fruit should be added to a healthy meal plan.

Discussion Comments

anon122138

I have searched and searched for help for my teen. It is frustrating. Each website says something different and none will help without me paying a fee. The free ones are so vague and only provide information that I already know. No wonder so many people give up!

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