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The Importance of Meal Planning and the Mediterranean Diet

Meal planning when you're on the Mediterranean diet provides you a road map for the week of what you’re going to eat, when you’ll prepare those meals, and what foods you need to have handy in your kitchen to do so. By taking the steps to do some planning, changing to a Mediterranean diet is much easier and less stressful.

Meal planning on some level is important for several reasons:

  • It ensures that you’re efficient with your time and have everything you need on hand from the grocery store and markets. This preparedness also helps keep you on track with your Mediterranean lifestyle because you always have the fixings for fresh meals at your fingertips.

  • It makes cooking easier during the week because you already know what you’re making instead of trying to think of what you can cook with the chicken and cauliflower you bought.

  • It saves you money by decreasing food waste. Do you ever buy broccoli and then wonder what to do with it as it starts yellowing in your refrigerator? Waste.

Meal planning needs to (and can) work into your lifestyle. Here are a few different approaches; hopefully, you find one that works for you:

  • The detailed meal plan: This plan is for those who love details and planning. Sit down and write out a plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week. (You may want to include snacks as well.) You can make each day’s foods interchangeable, but this planning method at least makes sure you have a plan and can go on your way this week with everything organized.

  • The rotating two-week meal plan: If you like details and convenience, this setup is perfect for you. Spend some time making up a two-week meal plan, complete with shopping list, and you’ve done all the work you need.

    So it may be that you have Dilled Eggs every other Monday for breakfast and Tortellini with Vegetables and Pesto every other Sunday for dinner. You still get plenty of variety with a two-week meal plan, but you may need to change it up every couple of months to make seasonal menus.

  • The fast meal plan: If you don’t want to waste time on making a meal plan for each and every meal for the week, think about your habits and plan accordingly.

    For example, you might regularly eat a few different items for breakfast, such as poached eggs or granola and yogurt, and often eat leftovers or sandwiches along with fruit for lunch. You can focus only on planning dinners and the few staples you need for breakfast and lunch.

  • The super-fast meal plan: Perhaps you need something even speedier than the fast menu plan. Instead of planning four or five dinners a week, focus on two to three and plan some convenience meals, such as entree salads you can throw together or canned or homemade, frozen soups.

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