The Actionable Guide: How To Make A Meal Plan You’ll Actually Stick To

article by Rachel Carr
March 22, 2020
We've all been there. We sit up all night crafting a beautifully planned menu that we're going to portion out and freeze, and eat throughout the week. Unfortunately, that late night pizza shop look even more enticing after a nigh tout partying or a long, late shift.

But hope is not lost for your healthy eating plans. Here are 7 tips that will help you keep your head in the game, and actually stick to your meal plan.


1. Use a meal kit delivery service


Using a meal kit delivery service as a way to stick to a meal plan you have created is perhaps the easiest way to maintain good habits. Using one will help you stay on a healthy eating meal plan for weeks. By having food delivered to your door, you cut a number of ways that leave you prone to veering off your plan.

Firstly, you don’t have to go to the grocery store. This means that you are less likely to have food in your house that is not part of your meal plan. We are all susceptible to putting freshly baked goods like cookies into our trolley when browsing a supermarket.

Secondly, meal kit delivery services control portion size for you. Portion sizes are key to healthy meal plans. They mean that even if we are eating home cooked, balanced meals, we are not overeating.

Thirdly, meal kit delivery services can cater to special dietary requirements. This means vegetarians can stick to an easy weekly meal plan, but also means that subscribers can choose a calorie controlled option.

Lastly, sticking to a new easy weekly meal plan is far easier when it turns up at your door. By having the right foods in the house, you won’t fall back into bad habits as easily by simply knowing that that night you have a specific meal ready to make.

  • Home Chef – Our preferred meal kit delivery service makes how to make a meal plan worth sticking to easy with its range of delicious recipes (from $9.95 per serving)
  • Hello Fresh – One of Hello Fresh’s attractions is how affordable it is. Healthy meal plans on a budget are therefore very easy (from $8.74 per serving)
  • Freshly – If you really hate to cook, Freshly will delivery fully prepared meals to your home (from $8.99 per serving)


2. Be good 80% of the time


One of the key ways that dietitians and nutritionists recommend patients actually stay to a meal plan, is to have flexibility built in. This means that as someone who is newly dedicated to a clean eating meal plan, you only have to eat clean 80% of the time. It means that your interest is kept up which ultimately leads to you sticking to your healthy eating meal plan.

Think about it, it’s far easier to make a salad or veggie stir at home, if you know that tomorrow you can make waffles for breakfast. By building in this flexibility into your healthy weekly meal plan, the number of weeks you complete will be longer. It’s an important mindset to get used to. Most of us simply can’t eat well all the time so planning to eat only vegetable soup and carrot sticks for a week, is just not realistic. It’s also uninspiring and demoralizing.


3. If you have a bad day, do not beat yourself up about it

As well as only eating well and sticking to healthy meals 80% of the time, it’s a good idea not to beat yourself up over days where you do eat too many cookies. By allowing yourself those moments, it actually gives you the power to go back to your healthy meal plan – and far more easily too. If you are too hard on yourself, you are more likely to binge eat as a way to console yourself. Or simply give up in its entirety as you will have felt like you have failed.

Sticking to healthy meal plans is definitely all about planning, but you need to allow for contingencies too for when that plan goes off the rails a bit.


4. Eat unprocessed foods


This is another huge recommendation from dietitians. Eating unprocessed foods on a clean eating meal plan is an easy way to stick to that plan. Unprocessed foods ultimately keep us fuller for longer. When we are full, we are less likely to go off in search of other foods to eat.

This is why preparing your own food is a key way to stick to a healthy eating meal plan. You are immediately eating unprocessed foods that will satisfy your appetite and your taste buds. Processed foods are digested far quicker as they have far less nutritional value than unprocessed foods. So while they can sometimes be easier to prepare, like simply heating a meal in a microwave, they just will not sustain you until the next meal.

Eating unprocessed food is not as hard as immediately first thought. Meal planning ideas are easier now with the huge resource that the internet provides, as well as meal kit delivery services. Plus making healthy meal plans for the week also enable people to prepare unprocessed foods, by having that food in the house. When we have already bought this food, we are less susceptible to buying processed, prepared food on our way home from work.


5. Use online tools for a food diary


This is a great tip for those that are trying a 21 day fix meal plan or otherwise. Using online tools to maintain a food diary is fundamental to how to make a meal plan to stick to. It can make you realize how far you have come since starting your healthy meal planning. This way you can praise yourself for what you have achieved, while also alerting you to areas for improvement.

Meal planning apps are easy to use too, which is another reason that they are a good idea. When something is easy to use, you will find yourself using it more often. In doing so, you are making use of the technology available. This can give you insights into your eating behavior as well as the number of calories or fat grams you have eaten that day. You may see that there are times that you eat more each week. By having a food diary, you can see why that may be which will further help you stick to your dinner meal plans.


6. Don’t starve yourself


One of the main reasons that people fall of the wagon of a meal plan intended to help them lose weight, is to starve themselves. If you remember to eat whenever you are hungry but eat healthy snacks instead, you will stave off any hunger pangs easily. Plus this way, you are less likely to eat foods that are bad for you. We are all more likely to eat foods that are laden with processed sugar and saturated fats when hungry. Additionally, if you are not ravenous when it comes to meal times it means you won’t eat far too much as lunch or supper. If you are hungry, you will be prone to undoing all your hard work that day.

Having a meal plan does not have to be a horrible torture, you simply have to have the right snacks around the house to ensure that you don’t go hungry.


7. Improve your eating habits slowly


Changing a habit overnight is very difficult. If you are moving to a healthier way of eating, to do so in a sustainable way, it is best to do it slowly. This way, you will almost not notice you are doing it and that you are going without foods that you previously enjoyed. Therefore, try to adopt the mantra, little and often. By doing this, sticking to your healthy eating meal plans will be far easier. You won’t feel like you are making many sacrifices all at once.

Making small changes every other week soon adds up to a huge difference, but importantly you won’t really have noticed any material impact on your lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

Using a meal kit delivery service when you are starting out on a new healthy eating meal plan is an easy way to maintain a diet. It simply cuts out so many of the key ways that cause people to start eating badly again. Subscribers do not have to go to the grocery store, full of the obvious temptations that can make a meal plan go astray. It automatically controls your portion sizes for users so that they don’t eat too much by mistake. Plus, they are ultimately already planned out for you thus eliminating much of the hard work that goes into healthy meal plans.

Plus, they are far more affordable than they may immediately sound. This is especially true if you consider that you are cutting out a great deal of processed food or sugar-laden snacks that you may buy when out. These tend to be extra items that we don’t need and can really add a great deal of cost to our weekly food bill.