How to Build a Meal Plan that You’ll Stick To

soup bowls meal plan

Trying to eat healthier? You’ve probably tried making a meal plan. Did it work? If not, here are some ideas to help make it stick. When you’re constantly in a hurry and on the go, it can be really difficult to stick to your plan—especially when you get the midday munchies. We’ve got some tips on how you can create a meal plan that’s easy to stick to, so you can get your healthy diet back on track and eat better.

Eat Enough Calories

While you may be trying to lose weight, denying your body of the calories it needs will actually kickstart your body into starvation mode and cause you to experience dizziness, headaches and irritability. By eating your daily requirement of calories through healthy foods like fish, fresh produce and whole grains, you’ll be getting the calories your body needs while also staying healthy. If you’re not sure how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis, ask your family doctor.

Include Healthy Snacks

Bowl of almonds

One of the main reasons meal plans fail is because people forget to include snacks. When you’re on the go all the time, it’s easy to work up an appetite. Satisfy your hunger pangs by always having fresh, easy-to-eat produce like apples, bananas or carrot sticks on hand. Or, keep long-lasting healthy options like roasted almonds or dried fruits in your bag or desk drawer.

Incorporate Foods You Love

It’s hard to stick to a meal plan if you hate everything you’re eating. When you make your weekly plan, choose healthy foods you enjoy. While you may not be able to eat junk food all the time, think of your favorite fruits, vegetables, recipes and side dishes and incorporate them into your meal plan on a regular basis.

Every once in a while, incorporate a cheat meal into your meal plan. This isn’t permission to go crazy and eat everything in sight, but it gives you the opportunity to go out for dinner with friends without feeling too guilty. After all, a single unhealthy meal doesn’t mean the end of your meal plan—as long as you don’t allow it to become a habit.

Make Meals Ahead of Time

Pan of foods cooking on a stove

When you’ve had a long day at work, almost anything seems like a better idea than cooking—even ditching your meal plan. That’s why it’s important to prepare some of your meals ahead of time. You can do some meal preparation the night before so there’s less to do when you get home, or you can spend one day a month making a bunch of homemade freezer meals that you can add to your plan.

Plan Some Backup Meals

You may find there comes a night when you just really don’t feel like eating what you’ve put on your meal plan for the day. Instead of forcing yourself to eat something you’re not in the mood for, have a few backup meals on hand that you can whip up in just a few minutes from ingredients you keep on hand, like avocado toast, egg salad or stir fry.

If you want to eat healthier but find it hard to stick to a meal plan, give these tips a try. If you’re looking for some healthy recipes for inspiration, check out some of our favorites here!

Image Credits:, Juan José Valencia Antía, Matthias Zomer