44+ Sample Meal Plans

What Is Meal Planning?

Meal Planning is the act of deliberately designing one’s meal schedule for the entire week or month. It involves a lot of prior planning and researching. A meal plan is customized to fit an individual’s needs and preferences. 

According to Mayo Clinic, planning your menu for the week gives you more control over your nutrition and diet. It also saves you time and money.   

Types of Meal Plans

The word most commonly associated with diet is restriction. What am I not allowed to eat? What food should I eat less of in order to make my diet work? Meal plans help you reach your health and wellness goals. There are dozens of diet plans out there but these are some of the popular ones:  

Calorie Counted: For those whose goal is weight loss, a popular plan is calorie counted meals. This means each meal is portion-controlled and designed not to let you exceed your daily calorie limit. Low Carbohydrate: This diet is popular because of the notion that carbs supposedly make you gain weight. It is not necessarily just carbs that lead to weight gain but also too much sugar or fat in the diet. You need to burn enough calories to lose or maintain weight; and this includes burning the carbohydrates you consume. Low Sodium: Many health conscious people believe too much salt in the diet can lead to a host of health problems. Excessive sodium intake is associated with many illnesses.Plant-based: Veganism and vegetarianism have certainly gained a significant following in recent years. Meal plans that are plant-based omit any product that come from animals, including eggs and dairy. Pescatarian: For those who want to cut back on or completely avoid meat, you may opt to incorporate a pescatarian meal plan. This diet primarily consists of seafood, whole grains, fruits, vegetables etc.

How To Start Meal Planning

The printable and customizable templates above are designed to help you plan each meal accordingly. There are daily and weekly meal plans that you can use to jumpstart your diet goals today! Keep these steps in mind when crafting your meal plan:  

Step 1: Establish Your Goal

For some people, meal planning is not a personal choice. Unhealthy habits have forced them to seek medical help. The doctor might prescribe a low sodium and low fat diet to help regulate cholesterol or blood pressure. Have a firm but realistic goal in mind to serve as your guide and help you stick to your plan.  

Step 2: Research and Inform Yourself 

It’s fairly easy to access information and gain knowledge nowadays. Arm yourself with the right information; this means science-backed and medically sound information. You can consult a doctor or nutritionist to be sure. You could also try visiting your nearest grocery store and take mental notes of what types of food are available, then list the ones that follow your meal plan. 

Step 3: Plan Your Menu 

You can decide on a daily, weekly or even monthly meal plan. Input the dates and label your meals accordingly: breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also include light morning and afternoon snacks in between meals.  

Step 4: Record Milestones And Track Your Progress

Celebrate small wins and don’t be too hard on yourself, especially at the beginning when you’re still adjusting. Setting realistic goals instead of overnight results will help you persevere in your plans. Track your progress and monitor any changes. For instance, if your meal plan is calorie counted, write down your weight before the diet and after.  


What is the importance of meal planning?

Planning your menu ahead can save energy, time and money. Meal planning can help you budget not only your finances, but your food (i.e. portion control). If you are working towards a particular weight goal, incorporating a meal plan can be an important way to shed or gain pounds.

How do I plan a menu for a week?

At the beginning of every week, list down the food you plan to eat for the entire 7 days. Make sure to specify each meal for each day of the week. List down the ingredients needed and prepare your grocery list. For example, the menu for Monday can be oatmeal and apple for breakfast, grilled salmon and brown rice for lunch, bean and cheese burrito for dinner and so on.

What do you mean by meal planning?

Meal planning is essentially being intentional with your meals. It means taking the time to list down your daily or weekly food menu. People usually plan their meals in order to achieve a health-related goal.

Starting a meal plan may seem time-consuming at first. But the health benefits often outweigh the cons. If our main objective is to be more intentional with what we eat, then we need to start paying attention to what we actually put into our bodies. Food is fuel, after all. To begin your healthy journey, find the right template above and start planning!