One of my absolute favorite ways to use Plan to Eat is to create a custom weight loss meal plan. And if you follow Weight Watchers then you can create custom Weight Watchers meal plans too!!
Creating a weekly meal plan is one of the best habits you can implement to kick start your weight loss journey. Taking the time to think ahead and become intentional with your meals is more than half the battle when trying to establish healthy eating habits. However, let’s be honest. Meal planning can be a real pain sometimes. Now add in trying to create a weight loss meal plan and it’s no wonder people throw in the towel.
Well I have a solution.
In the last couple months I have been using the meal planning site Plan to Eat. Truth be told I’ve been a subscriber for a couple years now but didn’t unlock the full potential of the site until recently. Don’t ask me why. I guess I just like to take my sweet old time when it comes to making my life easier. Anyway, as you probably already know, Plan to Eat is amazing for organizing recipes, quickly putting together a meal plan, and generating a grocery list in seconds. However, it can do so much for that that.
One of my absolute favorite ways to use Plan to Eat is to create a custom weight loss meal plan. And if you follow Weight Watchers then you can create custom Weight Watchers meal plans too!! That’s right! I know isn’t this exciting?! And what’s even more exciting is creating these meals plans are incredibly simple. Trust me after the first one you will scratch your head (like me) and say to yourself “seriously, what took me so long”.
How to Create a Custom Weight Loss Meal Plan Using Plan to Eat
Let me take you through the process.
Step 1. Figure out the number of calories or Weight Watchers points you need to eat every day to lose weight.
When I first started my weight loss journey I figured out my daily caloric intake for weight loss through My Fitness Pal. Once you sign up to MFP (it’s free) just plug in your information and it will calculate the amount of food you should eat a day. It goes into more detail than that but that’s the basic idea.
If you’re not sure then obviously go to your doctor and they can assist you. I don’t use Weight Watchers so I am not entirely sure how to figure out daily points. So if Weight Watchers is the program you would like to follow then go to their website, enter your information, and they will calculate the number of points you need to lose weight. Okay, once you have all this information you are ready to start putting together your own custom weight loss plan.
Step 2. Find recipes.
There are many websites that offer nutritional information with their recipes. To make it easy on yourself use those recipes. This will save you a ton of time. However, if you find a recipe that does not include the nutritional information don’t worry. You can always calculate it using My Fitness Pal. Here are instructions to do that. Once you have that information then add it to the recipe in Plan to Eat.
Here are some of my favorite food blogs that include nutritional information and weight watchers points:
Of course my blog Organize Yourself Skinny includes nutritional information and weight watchers points for all recipes.
Step 3. Import the recipes into Plan to Eat
I went over how to import recipes in a previous post so if you need help doing that then refer back to that post.
After you import a recipe you want to make sure all the nutritional information has imported. If it didn’t then you might need to manually import the information. If the recipe includes all this information then it shouldn’t be an issue. But just double check to make sure. Sometimes the Weight Watchers points don’t import or you might need to figure them out for yourself and add them. Please note there is not a specific spot in Plan to Eat for Weight Watchers points to be added. However, there is a spot that says Nutri. Score (Generic). See the picture in step 4. That is where I add the Weight Watchers points.
Also, if you want to add snacks or other non recipe type meals for planning and tracking purposes no worries you can do that too. Just create a recipe and type in the information you want. For example, I did this with my almond snack packs.
Step 4. Tag, Tag, Tag!!
This is where the customizing come into play. Make sure you tag every recipe you import. This is what you will use to filter recipes when you need them for your weight loss meal plan. You can use any tag you like. However, for weight loss purposes I recommend tagging recipes with tags such as the number of weight watchers points, calories, carbs, sugar, or whatever it is you are trying to keep track of.
After you tag your recipes you will be able to view the tags on the pictures in your recipe box.
This is where the real magic happens. You can sort all of your recipe by tags. So, if you only want to see 8 point breakfast recipes. Or breakfast recipes under 350 calories you can do that. Isn’t this exciting?!
You will also use these tags when filtering recipes for the meal planning calendar.
Step 5. Create your custom weight loss meal plan
The Plan to Eat meal planning calendar can be set up to view the nutritional information of a recipe. First, click on that gray button in the upper right corner.
This meal planning option form will come up. For the purpose of your weight loss meal plan focus on the section where it says include nutritional/cost information. Check what information you want displayed on the calendar. As you can see with mine I have checked calories, fat, and nutritional score. As I said before I enter the Weight Watcher Points into the nutritional score box.
By setting this up you will see the number of calories, points, etc for each recipe you put into the calendar. Once all the recipes are dragged in you will see a total at the bottom.
There you have it – your very own customized weight loss meal plan. Once you collect recipes and tag them these plans can be put together within minutes along with a grocery list. If you are trying to eat healthier and lose weight then I highly recommend creating customized weight loss meal plans using Plan to Eat.
Have you used Plan to Eat in this way? What are your thoughts or tips? Remember to friend me (username organizeyourselfskinny) if you decide to subscribe.