Two Years of Meal Planning and Calorie Counting

As you might already know, I am a big meal planner. Typically, throughout the week I peruse websites and magazines (like Taste of Home and Cooking Light), and bookmark and pin dishes that interest me on my Recipes to Try board on Pinterest. (Similarly I have a Recipes I Have Tried board serving as an archive, as well as, obviously, this blog.) Usually on Thursday and Friday I start putting together a meal plan for the upcoming week.


Calorie Counting has become a lifestyle for me, after over two years of doing so (and I’ve managed to lose and keep off over 30 pounds.) Now that I am in the Maintenance Phase of my weight loss (wanting to stay where I am at!), I am much more laid-back about it than previously, when I was in the very strict Loss Phase (actively trying to lose weight). Having become familiar with the calorie counts of foods I commonly consume, I am able to easily assemble a meal within my calorie goal without much effort or thought, because I have learned what type of foods I should (and should not!) keep on hand.

    • Breakfast is always iced coffee, and maybe one-third of the time I will have a morning snack, usually a banana, handful of trail mix, or a low-calorie bar. I am not that hungry when I wake up early.
    • Lunches are assembled on the fly based on what is on hand. I tend to frequently eat one high protein dairy (often Greek yogurt with honey or cottage cheese), something sweet (almost always berries on my yogurt or a piece of fruit), and a savory item (often frozen Amy’s entrees/burritos, baby greens salads with tuna and/or avocado, or frozen Indian entrees). I try to shy away from carbs at lunch as well, and my lunch calorie goal is 500-600.
    • Afternoon Treat: Almost every day I eat a square of chocolate around 3:00 PM at work! Ghiradelli squares are my favorite, though I am currently savoring a pretty awesome Godiva bar. (40-60 calories)
    • Dinner: see meal plan below. My calorie target is 700-800 calories, and I sometimes have dessert (goal: 150 calories or less, such as an ice cream sandwich or three Oreos).
    • Evening Snack: I cut this out of my diet for a long time (this was a bad habit of mine), but have been starting to occasionally reintroduce a small evening snack back into my diet – often a reward if I worked out after dinner! It could be a pickle, small measured bowl of salty snacky things, or a fruit bowl.
    • Weekends: Friday dinner and all day Saturday are rule-free when it comes to food! There is also flexibility within the week. If something fun comes up, I do not deprive myself. I will indulge, and then balance it out with healthier choices later in the week.


Weekly Meal Plan:

Here is what I needed at the store this week. The list doesn’t include many items that I already had on hand and did not need to purchase. My weekly goal is to spend under $80 on groceries but often my bill falls in the $80-$100 range. This week I shopped at Meijer.

Grocery List:

  • Produce:
        • limes (2)
        • corn on cob (5)
        • watermelon
        • fresh mint
        • garlic
        • romaine [organic]
        • avocado
        • peach [organic]
        • onion
        • raspberries [organic]
        • cherries [organic]
  • Dairy:
        • feta cheese
        • Yoplait yogurts (4)
        • Fage yogurt tub
        • fat-free half and half
  • Meat:
        • boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (1 lb)
        • bacon
        • mesquite albacore tuna steaks (2)
        • brats (from Biercamp)
  • Pantry Staples:
        • cider vinegar
        • chipotles in adobo
        • tomato sauce
        • biscuit mix
  • Frozen:
        • corn
        • tater tots
        • frozen entrees (3 Lean Cuisines for huz, 2 Amy’s bowls for me)
  • Beverages:
        • Diet Mountain Dew (for huz)
        • Powerade Zero (8 bottles)
  • Misc.
        • toilet paper
        • soap bars

Am I the only one who finds it really interesting to see what others buy at the grocery store? I guess that’s why I am a food blogger. I love learning about others’ habits when it comes to shopping for, eating, and cooking food.

5 thoughts on “Two Years of Meal Planning and Calorie Counting

  1. I too, enjoyed this post. Yes, it is interesting to learn about others food habits. As a nation we are pretty obsessed with food. There is not much one can control in life…what you put in your mouth…well, you do have control.
    Must haves in my “fridge” or pantry: half and half (wouldn’t drink coffee otherwise), lemons and limes (makes most everything taste better!), extra sharp Pinconning cheddar or other “stinky” cheese (kind that makes you salivate), fruit (I actually crave this food group), yogurt, and chocolate.
    Good job on keeping a tight budget when shopping. Your mom taught you well as did her (my) mom.

  2. Pingback: Meal Planning for June 7–June 13 « Meg.Goes.Nom.Nom.

  3. Pingback: Meal Planning for July 7–July 13 « Meg.Goes.Nom.Nom.

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