One simple tool to save time and money, and get healthier: A meal plan template
There are so many tools you can use to save time, save money, and/or get healthier. As a nutrition and wellness professional, you want to do all three for your clients and your business.
If I can recommend one key thing it’s this: Use a meal plan template.
A meal plan template isn’t a meal plan that you need to create from scratch. Instead, it’s a premade starting point - the “template” is key!
A meal plan is a list of recommended foods and recipes for meals and snacks for a specified number of days. For example, it tells your clients what to eat or make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for 3-, 7-, 21-, (or however many) days. It’s a simple way to organize recipes for your clients based on when they should shop for, make, and eat.
The meal plan is the end goal - a healthy eating plan, complete with recommended recipes, grocery lists, and nutrition information.
Creating a meal plan from scratch takes a lot of time.
Researching different dietary preferences and finding recipes to match takes a lot of time.
Ensuring nutrition and health goals are met in each meal plan takes a lot of time.
Question: How do you save time by creating a meal plan without having to start from scratch researching and finding recipes every single time?
Answer: By using a template!
A meal plan template is a ready-made meal plan you can tweak and customize to build perfect signature meal plans for your clients and programs. (Or, if it’s perfect already, you can use it as is!)
Most meal plan templates are not very useful. For example, some are blank printable calendars that lists the days of the week and might have a spot to write out a grocery list. Some meal plan software programs might force you to start each meal plan from scratch every time.
What you really want is a pre-populated template. One that already includes recommended recipes and automatically calculates the nutrition information and grocery list.
How does a meal plan template help save time?
The real key is not to start from scratch! You can find a template already created and scrutinize it to make it perfect.
Good meal plan templates come in many shapes and sizes. There should be a lot to choose from. They have already been created for dietary restrictions, health goals, or even cooking styles.
For example, for dietary restrictions, you can start with a premade template for your vegetarian or gluten-free clients, or school-safe nut-free recipes for your kids.
When it comes to health goals, maybe using a meal plan template already created for athletes, that’s low glycemic, or has a specific calorie count would be a great place to start.
For those clients or programs with specific cooking styles like minimal kitchen time or skills, you can start with a template that uses only 5 ingredients per recipe, one for mason jar recipes, or one that uses one day of batch cooking to last a whole week.
How does a meal plan template help save money?
As a nutrition professional, we both know that time = money! By saving time and not having to create individualized meal plans from scratch, you’re able to spend that time with paying clients, marketing your amazing services, or even relaxing with your friends and family.
Plus, as a bonus, your customized recommended meal plan will help your clients save money too! By using meal planning software like Meal Garden, once the meal plan is perfect, it automatically generates a grocery list for them. This helps them buy everything they need in one trip, and helps them avoid unnecessary convenience or fast food stops during the plan because they’ll know what to buy, prepare, and eat.
Bonus tip: You can also include leftovers in your meal plan to simplify it even more and help your clients save more time and money.
How does a meal plan template help improve health?
Once you choose a template, software like Meal Garden automatically calculates the nutrition information. You can see at a glance if some of the nutrients are out of balance. If there is too much or too little of something, you can edit the meal plan schedule, make an easy swap, and then re-check the nutrition information to make it perfect for your client or program.
Using a meal plan template makes creating meal plans for your clients a whole lot easier. It saves time and money, while still delivering a professional nutritious meal plan for your clients. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?