Meal Planning For The 80/20 Food Rule. If making healthy changes to your diet is one of your goals and you're new to meal planning, then this Beginner's Guide To EASY Meal Planning is for you!
Neil's Healthy Meals is based on the 80/20 rule for eating.
Many people think this is an 80/20 diet.
The 80/20 rule for eating isn't a diet. It’s a sensible guide to following a healthy balanced sustainable lifestyle.
The guide focusses on eating healthily for around 80% of the time and then allows for a little bit of indulgence in other foods or treats of your choice for the other 20% of time.
What Is Meal Planning For The 80/20 Food Rule?
Meal planning for the 80/20 food rule is the plan you make to ensure that you DO eat healthily for 80% of the time whilst still allowing for a little bit of indulgence for the other 20% of the time.
It's about planning for the whole week ahead ONCE.
For breakfasts, lunches and dinners instead of trying to ensure you keep to the rule by just planning on that day for those meals.
Why Should You Plan For The Week Ahead?
Planning what food you're going to have for each meal ensures that you're making the right decisions and choices when it comes to managing your health and weight.
If you have no plan to do this then it is less likely you will actually succeed in managing those areas.
What does an 80/20 meal plan look like?
The 80/20 rule is a guide for planning your everyday diet. Your meal plan should include nutritious foods 80 percent of the time and have a little indulgence the other 20 percent.
For your “80 percent” part of the plan ensure you focus on good nutritious food choices. For your "20 percent" part of the plan lighten up a little and enjoy something you love like chocolate or ice cream!
How Should You Plan For The Week Ahead?
Keep it simple and do it slowly to begin with.
Your meal plan should be achievable so don't make it too elaborate to start off.
Check your work calendar for the week ahead.
What Do You Eat On the 80/20?
For those evenings you're home in plenty of time to cook a meal, then choose to cook a meal. Like quick healthy chicken stew.
It's a good idea to cook double so you can freeze the extra portions for another time.
For those evenings you're not home early or know you are going to be particularly busy that day. Maybe a healthy quick tuna salad requiring less preparation might be in order?
For breakfasts and lunches keep it simple. A simple porridge for breakfast.
A healthy carrot and sweet potato soup for lunch (I make my soup in batches and freeze individual portions at the weekend),
Write your plan for the week ahead down.
You don't need to have a fancy shop bought or downloaded meal planner. I've seen more of those things disused than actually used!
No, just get a piece of paper, write down each day of the week as a heading on the left hand side and "Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner" under each day of the week.
At the bottom of my weekly meal plan I list all of the frozen meals I've made from the recipes I've created as well as the tins and other foods available in my cupboards or pantry.
It's a good idea to do this, to save time so you don't have to go through your whole kitchen checking what you've got every time you meal plan!
Also make sure you involve your kids and partner in planning what they would like too.
That way your plan is more likely to be accepted by all the family and to work going forward.
Your kids or partner can help by telling you what they might like to see on the planner for the week ahead and therefore it's not all down to you.
Keep your meal planner on show at all times (such as stuck to the fridge door) for all to see and to act as a reminder for what you've planned to have each day.
When Should You Plan For The Week Ahead?
There is no specific set time to plan your meal planning except to say make sure you do it the week before.
Allow yourself enough time to shop for the week ahead based on your written meal plan.
The writing of your plan is down to when its the best time for you to write it.
For example I do our meal planning on a Friday.
I take last weeks meal plan, I check my work calendar and I plan what meals we're going to have or what I'm going to make based on when I'm home from work.
I take into consideration when my other half is home from work /her gym and what's in the freezer or cupboards.
Of course, as with any plan changes can and will happen.
Try to be flexible in case you have to shift one meal to another night because of unforeseen circumstances such as having to work late.
Shopping For the Week Ahead
Once you've completed your meal plan you can break down each meal into the ingredients it needs and shop for those ingredients days before that meal is to be served.
For example I shop 3 times a week, on Monday evenings. Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings.
I prefer to stay clear of busy shops at the weekend!
Of course this may be completely different for you. You may want to do one large shop for the whole week ahead on a Saturday/Sunday
That could save you time and mean you get straight home from work without having to deviate to the supermarket.
Keep certain kitchen essentials on hand at all times.
Certain foods like tinned tuna, frozen vegetables, pasta and oats are great to fall back on at any time.
These healthy staples will always ensure that you've good food choices to fall back on if your plan doesn't go to schedule.
Those staples are also great for when it's near the end of the month and money is running out!
Here's what I believe to be the top 5 benefits to my other half and I of meal planning for the 80/20 food rule.
Ones that you can benefit from too:-
The Benefits Of Meal Planning For The 80/20 Food Rule
- Meal planning is a way to ensure you keep what you eat (your diet) as well as your weight in check.
- Ensures you eat a variety of meals providing an abundance of nutrients from all of the 5 food groups.
- Helps to make life easier. Knowing what you're going to eat means no last minute (possibly unhealthy) meal buying.
- Stops you wasting food. Planning is the first and most important part to cut down on your food waste. Buy only what you need.
- Helps you to save money. Sticking to a pre-set plan and shopping only for what's on that plan means no unnecessary spending.
Of course this list is by no means an exhaustive list and could contain many more benefits of meal planning.
The main benefit here is just to do it, to ensure you follow a healthy balanced sustainable lifestyle and get off the endless cycle of dieting!
I gave details of an actual week of meal planning for the 80/20 food rule of myself and my other half in the previous post How We follow the 80/20 Rule For Eating.
There you can find specific details of what we might eat on a typical week. Check that out and use it as an example to start your own meal planning going forward.
Can you lose weight eating 80/20?
Can meal planning for the 80/20 actually help you lose weight? Yes. If you actually plan and follow the plan!
The 80/20 food rule means following a healthy balanced diet with a few treats. It can help you lose weight if you use your eating plan to cut down on fattening foods, watch your calories and choose healthier food choices.
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David @ Spiced
Meal planning really is important when it comes to detoxing after the holidays...actually, it's important year-round, but post-holidays just feels even more important. I know that when we don't plan ahead, we end up eating junk food because it's easy. We've been following the 80/20 rule for years...although I'm not sure we call it the same thing. Ours is more like the "Week Weekend Rule." We eat healthy and workout during the week, and then we let ourselves cheat a bit on the weekends. Thanks for the recap, and cheers to 2018 and more delicious recipes! 🙂
The "Week Weekend Rule" sounds exactly like the 80/20 rule to me David. I thoroughly enjoyed all the treats over the Christmas holidays. All the fine foods, chocolate, puddings and wine but I felt it was time for a reminder of meal planning. Hence the post. Its good to get back on board with it don't ya think? 🙂
Rose Ann Geib
Great points Neil. For the past 3 years I have implemented a no-buy February where I try to use up as much pantry products as possible. I do meal plan but I have to be flexible to which day I make what due to who I have attending dinner. Thank you for the inspiration, I really need to incorporate the 80/20 plan this year.
Hi Rose, thanks very much for taking the time to comment. That's a great idea implementing a no-buy February policy to use up as much products in your pantry as possible. If I didn't write what I have in my pantry at the bottom of my meal plan list each week to use up, I think my pantry would be overflowing with out of date and surplus products! Great to see you keep an eye on that! The 80/20 is a great way to help to plan meals and keep in shape too. Hope you have an amazing weekend! 🙂
I love your 80/20 rule on food. I never really thought of it that way. But it's quite practical and something easier to follow since you don't deprive yourself all the time.
Thanks for your comment Claire. The 80/20 rule on food is definitely the way forward so that we can still experience all the joys that life can bring. 🙂