Planning for meals, to many may seem unimportant; but ultimately the entire activity of buying, preparing and consuming food does take time. So to those for whom time is not be a luxury (and this includes most of us), planning to plan your meals is important to controlling how your week goes. Picture the week ahead. Consider your work schedule, daily commutes, family, evening activities and travel. Document the time you have to prepare and cook meals. Consider easy-to-cook recipes, and freezing batches for the week ahead. Consider the food you enjoy, the weather, and a grocery budget. This will allow you to save money, even as you plan. In other words, eat better, by spending less. Pantry check Check out the pantry, fridge and freezer. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk, eggs and cheese, all have a best-before date. Watch out for tinned foods. Knowing what you have at home before starting your plans, will enable you use what you have, avoid waste and create your shopping list. Meals that inspire Most of our quick meal options are rarely healthy. With loads of quick and easy healthy recipes, scrap the pizza et al routine and get inspired! Investing in a few healthy cookbooks will enable you do very well. Pinterest boards for healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, smoothies and healthy sweet treats recipes are a good way to start. Ensure you maintain a well-balanced diet when choosing recipes. Factor in exercise days Pay special attention to meals on the days you are exercising. Fuelling your body on training days and preparing after training snacks and meals is important for nutrition. Creating healthy meal plans Prepare a master recipe list of quick-cook meals, using the process above. Add two new recipes in your meal plan a week. Schedule the recipes that will use up your perishables early on; select recipes that overlap in ingredients. Choose recipes with an eye on the nutritional intake and ingredients the recipe includes. Ensure the recipes you choose meet your healthy eating goals, either weight loss or training and exercise fuel for your body. If you’re feeding a family or planning to use up leftovers, get your portions right. The bottom line, create a meal plan calendar, that will help you plan, visualise and stick to it. This will make you feel more accountable to yourself. List-on-the-go Creating a list on the phone will help you avoid running out of something, buying more than you need to; and keep to a budget.