Meal planning made easy: top tips from Pinch of Nom

Kay Featherstone, co-founder of the UK's most-visited food blog and co-author of the Pinch of Nom cookbook – the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time – shares her top tips for how to meal plan.

Pinch of Nom began life as a food blog which now has an online community of over 1.5 million followers, helping people to lose weight while eating delicious homecooked meals. In 2019, the Pinch of Nom cookbook became the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time, full of delicious, easy-to-make healthy recipes. So, Pinch of Nom creators and cookbook authors Kay Featherstone and Kate Allinson, certainly know a thing or two about how to successfully plan your meals for the days ahead, get organised, track your intake and stay focused to achieve your goals.

The Pinch of Nom Food Planner has plenty of space to keep track of calories, jot down shopping lists and celebrate your achievements, and includes twenty-six exclusive Pinch of Nom recipes to ensure that healthy eating never feels boring! Here, Kay explains why food planning is so important to dieting successfully and shares her top five meal planning tips.

The old mantra "fail to plan, plan to fail" is so important when it comes to weight loss and dieting.

Eating well and being organised isn't always something that comes naturally to many people. It's so easy to come in from work and realise that you are, in fact, Old Mother Hubbard, and the cupboards are bare – but handily, the local takeaway has dropped a menu through the door.

So, with that in mind, we've put together our top tips for why planning is important!

Get into the groove!

Sit down with a cuppa and have a think about the following week. What do you fancy eating? What are your work, family and social plans? How much time do you have to cook? Could you do some batch cooking for quick meals to pop in the freezer?

Once you've figured out what you're going to eat, plan your shop. Online shopping (groceries . . . step away from the clothes sales!) is a great way to keep your virtual shopping trolley full of all the good stuff, without the temptation of the "good" stuff!

Meal planning also helps to keep your grocery costs down. Food waste is costly on all fronts, so always try to plan for days when you might have leftovers!

By planning all of these things, you'll get into the right mindset for good eating habits, and you're much more likely to make good choices!

Do you really need it?

Writing down everything you've eaten makes you take stock of what you've already had, and think about whether you actually need that snack. Taking some time to pause and reflect on the day's meals is a really useful way of self-regulating what you are eating.

The Pinch of Nom Food Planner is a great tool to help you keep a record of everything you've eaten, or what you're planning on eating!

Short term goals for long term achievements

Long-term goals can sometimes feel like huge mountains which are impossible to climb. Although it's good to have a distant goal, setting short-term aims is a great way to stay focused. Not only that, you'll feel like you are actually winning!

Goals don't need to be based on your weight loss – perhaps you'd like to go to a social event and stick to your eating plan, exercise for a whole week, or maybe you'd like to wear an item of clothing that you can't quite fit into. Sometimes the best achievements are the times when you just feel good about yourself!

Write down what you want to achieve, and what you have already done – it's a great way to stay motivated and look back on how far you've come. One giant leap is not required, we are not walking on the moon . . . small steps!

Don't lose track!

Getting into the habit of writing down everything you eat isn't easy, but it's absolutely worth it.

You might not have remembered the little snack from 8 a.m. when you're reaching for the biscuit tin at 7 .pm. . . . but all those little things really add up.

It'll also help you to look at what your triggers are for hunger, whether you need to have a more substantial breakfast or lunch, or whether your evening meal needs to be more satisfying. Don't get bored with the same meals every week – not only does the Pinch of Nom Food Planner have loads of new recipes to try, but it also works hand-in-hand with the Pinch of Nom cookbook.

What can I do better?

Had a tough week? Not achieved what you thought you would? Don't panic.

By writing down your plans, goals and meals, you can take a look back and focus on what helped you have a successful week, and what might have caused you to not achieve your goal for the week.

Planning will help you to look at patterns to help you overcome the things that have gone wrong, or recreate things which have gone right.

Pinch of Nom Food Planner

by Kay Allinson

Book cover for Pinch of Nom Food Planner

The Pinch of Nom Food Planner is the perfect tool to record your progress, plan your meals and smash your goals. A six-month journal with diary-style pages, this meal planner is easily adaptable to your personal slimming guidelines and includes twenty-six delicious Pinch of Nom recipes.

Pinch of Nom

by Kay Allinson

Book cover for Pinch of Nom

Full of delicious but healthy home-style recipes, Pinch of Nom shows that dieting doesn’t have to be boring. The 100 recipes have all been tried and tested by the Pinch of Nom community to ensure they are healthy, tasty and easy to make, from Cumberland pie to chicken balti.