How to Drink More Water Every Day With These 7 Hacks (even if you hate water)!

How to Drink More Water With These 8 Hacks Every Day.

Waaaay back when I was in high school and college, how to drink more water wasn’t on the forefront of health news. And they certainly hadn’t started bashing added sugars, nor begun scolding us for drinking sodas. So back in those days, my beverages consisted of mainly straight juice, sweet tea (I am from the South), and sodas. All full of sugar. Like, LOADED with sugar!

I couldn’t understand why certain weird and undesirable things were going on as a teenager and young adult in my body. Things like terrible skin, horrible mood swings, and what I now know was the beginning of my panic attacks.

Being dehydrated, or even almost dehydrated can cause some really crummy things to go on in your body. And as a busy Mama, these crummy things are just some of the little things that stress us out, and put us on edge when we’re already being pushed to our limits in day to day life. Being hydrated by learning to drink more water is part of self-care because it’s crucial to health and processes going on in our bodies. This includes having enough energy every day. I constantly promote finding the magic ✨ place where healthy + efficient merge, and drinking more water 💦 every day absolutely holds a place high on the list of things that tick off both boxes.

how to drink more water when you don't like water or aren't thirsty

 The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Being properly hydrated every day is so, so important! It helps you think better, it gives you energy, and it keeps your systems running properly.

Think about how well a dish sponge would work with only a tiny bit of water in it. It would be extremely hard to get a dish properly cleaned with a ton of goop and not enough water, right? That’s what happens in your body.

But also, your kidneys are trying to balance the minerals in your body (which affects your circulatory system!) They get bogged down when there’s not enough fluid in your body. So don’t underestimate the importance of staying hydrated properly!

What happens when you drink more water?

>Improves your skin, hair, and nails

>Relieves headaches

>Reduces muscle cramps

>Helps to flush out your body

>Improves weight loss efforts

>Gives you more energy

>Helps wounds heal faster

>Improves concentration levels and mood

ALL of those things make it uber worth it to me to drink more water!! How about you?!

How much water should you drink in a day?

The amount of water needed in a single day has had lots of debate over the past few years. But here’s the reason why: Every person’s body composition is different, every person’s health situation is different, and every person’s activity level is different. Plus every person lives in a different climate. There are so many variables that it really depends on several different things. But here’s where to start:

Calculate your body weight, then divide by 2. That’s how many liters you should start with each day. Or-

The Mayo Clinic suggests starting with 11.5 cups/day for women and 15.5 cups per day for men.

However—if you live in a very dry climate, if it’s summer, if you’re sick, if you’re taking meds that make you dehydrated, if you drink lots of coffee, AND if you’re very active—you should drink more than that!

I challenge you to start out with the basic formula, then
add as needed. See how you feel every few days and add more if you feel like it.

How can you drink more water when you don’t like it or when you’re not thirsty?

1. Drink It Before Every Meal

The first tip for drinking more
water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass before each meal
and snack you consume
, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is
one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more of the good stuff,
without really having to think too much about it. Train your mind to know that
if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast
or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first.

This provides multiple benefits. First, it reminds you to drink another glass. It’ll also
going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it
prevents you from overeating since it helps to fill you up a little. It’s not
uncommon to think you’re hungry, when you’re actually thirsty. (Especially if
you’ve eaten a super salty meal earlier in the day!) If you’re not hungry after
a full glass, wait a bit before eating.

You should also try to drink a glass
of water before or after every other beverage you drink. Force yourself to
drink the same amount of it as the other beverage you’ve consumed.

2. Infuse or Flavor It

A common problem people have with
drinking water isn’t that they don’t remember to drink it, but they’re just not
interested in it.
This is totally true for me, and
was a big issue when I was pregnant. I finally found one brand that I sort of
craved. (Yeah, that had to do with hormones, those darn things!) The good news
is, you have some other options. You don’t necessarily have to drink just plain
filtered or tap water all day, every day. There are many ways to add flavor and
make it more interesting, without piling on the sugar and calories.

The Simple Method

If you are short on time and just
want a super quick way to add flavor, go with lemon water. All you need
to do is add a few lemon wedges, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the
wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water
quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other
juicy fruits like grapefruit. (Just one tip is to not let it sit for a long
time, even in the fridge. The rinds have a tendency to leech out super bitter/sour
taste if left too long. Trust me. It’s mouth-puckering.)

Fruit or Vegetable Infused

This is one of my absolute
favorites! And when I make this ahead of time and store it in a beautiful
pitcher in the fridge, I find that I crave it all day! When you can spend more
time on it, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor
your water
. This is called infused water, since it’s a longer infusing
process. You aren’t just flavoring it with these ingredients, but adding more
nutrients from the produce and herbs.

To make infused water, you should
have a glass pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your
fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced
so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled
first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release
the oils and flavors.

Add the ingredients to the bottom of
the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the
refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows
those flavors and nutrients to come through. And oh goodness, are they
delicious!

3. Choose a Cup You Love to Use

Do you want to encourage yourself to
hydrate more? It’s all in the cup! Seriously, I’m so guilty of this, and it
drives my husband nuts! If you use boring water bottles you don’t like, then
you probably won’t drink as much as you should.
A good way to have fun with
it and remember to bring the bottle everywhere with you is to choose a bottle
or cup that works best for you.

This might mean the overall look and
color of it, or the ease of holding onto it while walking. There are so many
small details that determine if it’s a good fit or not. For example, if you
drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. On the other
hand, if you bike for exercise, you may want it to have a tight lid, but one
that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding.

Try out a few different cups until
you feel like you have found the one that is perfect for you.

4. Limit Other Drinks You Consume

Another little trick for drinking
more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This
doesn’t mean drinking water 100 percent of the time. But, it does help to
reduce the ‘bad’ beverages, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water
instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you’re
going for water when you feel thirsty, and not other beverages.

5. Track Your Water Intake

This isn’t something you need to do
every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard to determine
how much water to drink, and if you’ve even reached your goal for the day. Start
by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your
phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your
computer. {Or just download the one below!}

Start by tracking your water for a
few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how
much you’re currently drinking on an average day. If it’s less than 8-10
glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once
you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more
throughout the day.

6. Enjoy Fruits & Veggies with High Water Content

If you find that you simply can’t
drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to
drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little
below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high
water content, therefore helping to hydrate you.
(Read: This does NOT mean
drinking these as a juice–this means eating the fruit or veggie, thereby
getting the fiber to offset the sugars you’ll be ingesting.) These include:

Cucumbers
Grapefruit
Apples
Pineapple
Lettuce
Celery
Radishes
Watermelon

7. Try These Reminders

If you enjoy water, but you often
forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you.

  1. Drink water before every meal, snack, and other
    beverage
  2. Have a glass first thing when you wake up
  3. Hydrate before or after your workouts
  4. Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
  5. Have a glass or bottle every time you enter your office
    or your home

As long as you keep these reminders
in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on
your way to dramatically increasing your water intake and reaping the awesome
benefits from it! I promise your body will thank you!!

What tricks do you use to get more hydrated? Let me know in the comments!

Know someone that could use help with increasing their hydration? Please SHARE this post!

drink more water

The 15+ Amazing Best Kitchen Tools for Meal Prep that I Use Every Week

These are the best kitchen tools for meal prep that I use and LOVE in my household and recommend to others!

*As an affiliate, I may receive a small portion of proceeds of any items you buy through these links, at no extra cost to you. However, I only recommend products I know, use, and love.

Meal prep isn’t just a trend, it’s really a revolution of efficiency. But truthfully, it gets even more efficient when you have the proper and best kitchen tools for meal prep. As a nutrition specialist and health coach, some of the first things I discuss with clients are the roadblocks to making healthy eating happen, whether it’s general healthy foods or sticking to a dietary style for weight loss or food intolerance. Lack of time is usually the biggest reason named, but it doesn’t have to be (which is what I work through with clients).

My philosophy is to always merge healthy + efficient to make these healthy habits doable on the daily.

Here are the best kitchen tools for meal prep that I feel are the most efficient in their own right to make meal prep happen with the least amount of frustration.

best kitchen tools for meal prep

Ninja all-in-one system

This Ninja system has everything you need to chop, dice, spiralize, blend, cream, and so much more! It comes with a bullet-sized smoothie cup, large blender, crazy-sharp blades that are absolutely amazing, a food processor bowl for chopping and ricing, and the smaller attachment for grating and spiralizing. It also includes a dough blade! This system eliminates the need for 3 different appliances, and also has preset functions so you can push the button and walk away while it does its thing!

Instant pot 8-quart 9-in-1

This larger 8-quart Instant Pot has the size to cook larger or smaller amounts, and eliminates the need for a separate slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, saute pan, and more! You can sear meat right in the pot before setting to slow cooker, you can use as a pressure cooker and even cook meats that came straight from the freezer (anyone forget to thaw something for dinner??), and it has settings for different types of meats, rice, eggs, yogurt, potatoes, and so much more. It seriously eliminates the need for multiple different cooking devices! It even has a function for sterilizing! (Baby toys or bottles, anyone?) My feeling, especially if you have a lack of space, is that the best kitchen tools for meal prep can multi-task.

(I like the larger size because it can fit so much more or cook less.) And if you really wanna get high-tech crazy, there’s even a “Smart Wifi” model!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid stand mixer is another amazing all-in-one. It obviously mixes hands-free, but it comes with dough hook attachment AND whisk attachment. But it also has a MILLION AND ONE add-ons! For example, meat grinder, spiralizer, pasta maker, juicer…. honestly the list goes on! The Aqua Sky color is the most popular, but check out the link below to explore all color options!

Silmat set

Ok, this may sound crazy, but this Silmat is amazing and eliminates the use of oil sprays or coatings when baking! I love that I have the option of cooking oil-free and know that it won’t stick! I also love that this set has multiple sizes since not all baking sheets are the same size. These can be used in baking sheets (whether baking, cooking, or roasting) or on the countertop for rolling out doughs WITHOUT the use of extra flour! The best kitchen tools for meal prep will also help eliminate extra ‘stuff’ you have might otherwise have to buy, like parchment paper, oil, flour, etc.

Baggie Stand holders

Baggie stands are something I never knew I needed until I used them. Like something in my head told me this would be incredibly helpful, but having them makes my life so much easier when I meal prep!! (Ever have a biggie fall over while pouring liquid in? 😭

Yeah…no bueno.) With these baggie stands– PROBLEM SOLVED!

Reusable Storage Bags

If you’re a serial MEAL PREPPER like I am, or even WANT TO BE— these reusable storage bags ARE FOR YOU! I use a TON of baggies in meal prep!! We also send berries, chips, granola, etc in baggies for the kids to school because we either make our own stuff, or buy the large bag and divide for cheaper snacks. These reusable bags eliminate the overwhelming amount of plastic being thrown away, but also the overwhelming amount of baggies I’m buying every month!

Glass Food Storage Containers

Whether you do weekly meal prep or not, getting rid of plastic food storage containers is a MAJOR upgrade for your health! I love these glass storage containers because they’re dishwasher safe, microwave safe, oven safe, and even freezer safe! They’re extremely versatile! Perfect for meal prep. Perfect for leftovers. Without the icky BPA. Also, they don’t melt in the dishwasher. All the plastic meal prep containers you can buy will eventually lose their shapes (sometimes sooner, depending on the water temperature in your dishwasher). The glass meal prep containers are good to go forever.

Silicone Muffin Pans

Silicone muffin pans are a dream for bakers and meal preppers alike! No more rusty pans. No more muffin papers. No more sticking or using non-stick sprays. Oh yeah, and no more washing silicone muffin wrappers individually!!​ HUGE time saver for me!! (Remember: healthy + efficient!)

Saute Pans + Skillet

In case you’re been under a rock the last decade, you already know the reason Teflon isn’t normally used on skillets any more. And although that non-stick surface was hella useful, it’s crazy toxic. Next best non-stick thing? Ceramic-coating! (If you have an induction cooktop, make sure to confirm the cookware works on it before purchasing!)

Enamel Coated Cookware

If you love the versatility of being able to go from cooktop to oven, or even fridge to cooktop or oven, then enamel coated cookware is the way to go! The only ‘con’ I have to these is that they are very heavy because they’re cast-iron on the inside, and that means my kiddos can’t feasibly handle them, and also it means it’s nearly impossible to hold the skillets at an angle to pour contents out. Otherwise, these pieces should last for years (and many high-end brands like Le Creuset should last a lifetime). Plus you can get them in a ton of really preeeetty colors! 🌈

Good Knives

The best kitchen tools for meal prep will always include a quality set of sharp knives. A good sharp set of knives can mean the difference between beautifully and quickly sliced foods and an urgent trip to the ER. Invest in some really good knives!! Better knives cost more, but they last longer and are more durable. Plus if they get dull, you can sharpen them!

Mixing Bowls

This may sound like silly advice, but coming from someone who VALUES minimalism these days, a really GOOD, DURABLE, POURABLE, and STACKABLE set of mixing bowls that only takes up a SINGLE shelf in my kitchen is a mega win!! 🏅

Not to mention that this specific set has graters and a slicer you can attach right on top of the bowl!!

Proper Labeling Tools #1: Sharpies

When doing meal prep, the gold standard for labeling baggies is the good ole’ Sharpie. And while I LOVE me some colored Sharpies, unfortunately teal and lighter colors just won’t cut it. Use BLACK, DARK BLUE, PURPLE, or RED.

Proper Labeling Tools #2: Dry Erase Markers

Guess what—DRY ERASE markers aren’t ONLY for a dry erase board!! They’re PERFECT for labeling FOOD CONTAINERS when you’re meal prepping or have leftovers!! 🤩

THESE dry erase markers are my favorite, because they have a fine tip, are black (same importance as the Sharpie situation), and they have a magnet, so you can keep it on the side of the fridge for easy access when labeling leftover containers! *And a tip–although you may be super tempted to use the wet-erase version (usually Vis-a-Vis brand), DON’T! If any moisture gets on the container, the words will smear right off onto your hands and then take 17 days to get off… speaking from experience.)

Meal Prep Cutting Board

Ok, so I’ve saved the BEST for last. I never realized how much of a pain it was cutting up tons of veggies and fruits for meal prep until I started. This is my FAVORITE thing ever! A cutting board with containers for what you’ve chopped under it! Eeeekkk! There are a couple of other options for meal prep cutting boards, but this one is by far my favorite!

So there ya have it! My list of the 15 best kitchen tools for meal prep! Keep in mind it’s not a dire situation if you don’t have these or can’t afford them right now. They simply make it easier to meal prep.

Got any more suggestions? Let’s hear them in the comments below!

Know someone that could use advice on what the best kitchen meal prep tools are? SHARE this post!

best kitchen tools for meal prep

Quit Stressing About Dinner With this Free Printable Weekly Meal Planning Template with Grocery List

Although soooo many of us are moving to everything tech, there’s something to be said for something that doesn’t take ten minutes just to pull up on my phone (like a super-snazzy, mega cute, free meal planning template with grocery list.) So this post is for those of us that like a physical, tangible paper that you can write on and see without relying on a phone, computer, or tablet. To meal plan tech-free.

meal planning template with grocery list editable

In all honesty, I use both methods depending on what mood I’m in that week (I can’t help it, I’m a Gemini.) I really want to be all tech-savvy, but half the time I actually need something easily accessible right up in my face that I can touch and write on. And to be honest, we could all use a break from our screens. That’s where a meal planning template with grocery list comes into play. My philosophy is to always merge healthy with efficient to make our health goals doable, and if/when I have days where tech is not cooperating, it means more time spent trying to work through glitches when I could just do it on paper in half the time.

meal planning template with grocery list editable

The meal plan tech free way

So in order to meal plan tech-free with a meal planning template and grocery list, what I created was basically my counterpoint to any meal planning app. It’s pretty simple actually. It’s a paper that’s folded in half. I stick it to the side of the fridge with a magnet (crazy high-tech, huh?)

Then throughout the week I use it to start our shopping list (things we’re out of, things we’ll need soon, staples, etc.) The list is already categorized for sections of the grocery store, and since I can be a bit OCD I have it ordered by the sections that I visit in my routine order.

This makes it a lot more time-efficient because I’m not crisscrossing back and forth in the store for things I didn’t see on the list while I was standing in that section 👉 Remember: healthy + efficient is where magic happens!

Planning day with a meal planning template

So when it gets to shopping day or the day before, I’ll go ahead and flip the editable meal planning template I’ve printed over to the other halved side where the days of the week are listed.

Then I can plan what meals we want for the week and what we want/need for lunches, breakfasts, snacks, too.

Then I open up the page and add all the things I need for the meals I just listed onto the meal planning shopping list.

Shopping day

I take the list with me to the store, and the rest is common sense. Anyway, I keep the meal planning side, so that when I get back home I can list all the things on the chalkboard we have on our kitchen wall. (This isn’t necessary, but I find that it eliminates the husband and kids asking me for an hour a day what’s for dinner because then they can just look at the wall for the corresponding day and see.)

So I know this meal plan template with grocery list method isn’t all glamorous and tech-ie, but for me it works if I’m not in the mood to deal with phone screens, tablets, or my computer.

I do, however, recommend creating a system for collecting and organizing recipes (like other than Pinterest– whole other story, read about the best meal planning app for your family HERE.)

If you don’t like going the tech way, and would like to try this method out, I’ve got just the editable meal plan template PDF that you can download and fill in any way you want. I also included a free weekly meal planner template word option. I put the basics in, but it’s totally editable, and you can change fonts, colors, and sections of the grocery store and order it any way you want (cut/paste.)

Click the image below to get your Meal Plan template with grocery list!

meal planning template with grocery list

So how do you normally meal plan? Is it a challenge right now? Do you want to try the digital way? Let me know in the comments!

And if you think this meal planning tech free post will help another Mama out, please SHARE!

free meal planning template and grocery list

Meal Prep Ideas to Help You Save Time and Lose Weight

Finding meal prep ideas can undoubtedly be just as grueling as meal planning when you’re so busy every day. I get it– kids and work and quarantine (if that’s still going in your area). But the truth is, partnering meal planning with healthy meal prep ideas for weight loss can keep you on your diet (or get to losing that quarantine 15), keep you on budget, and also save hours in your week! It also saves loads of stress off you, which is why I include meal planning and easy meal prep in my definitions of self-care and stress management.

These things can be automated as routines that don’t take brainpower. You need some stuff off your plate, stat. And my philosophy is that when we merge healthy + efficient, we get a magical area ✨ that makes awesome health and ideal weight a doable daily thing. So let’s start with meal prep ideas to enhance your meal planning and weight loss efforts, shall we?

meal prep ideas to save time and lose weight

What Should I meal prep to lose weight?

The first obvious answer to this is to find healthy meal prep ideas that follow your chosen dietary style for weight loss. So if you’re doing keto, for example, you’d search ‘keto lunch meal prep’ or something similar. It’s easier and faster to find meal prep ideas for weight loss by using search terms that are very specific. Otherwise you’ll have loads of stuff come up that you don’t need.

If you’re not following any dietary style, search using the word ‘healthy’. In general, including protein, healthy fats, smart carbs (like whole grains– nothing refined and no added sugars), and fiber in the form of lots of veggies is the perfect formula for a filling meal that will fuel your body correctly. This means plenty of energy for walking, work, and taking care of kiddos the rest of the day.

To actually lose weight using meal prep, you’ll need to determine the number of calories, carbs, or macro ratios you’ll need for each meal, then plan accordingly. There are several apps that can calculate numbers for each recipe in this way. I use the Whisk app because it calculates all that automatically when you pull in a recipe.

{Recommended article: How to Find the Best Meal Planning App for your Family}

Can you meal prep for 7 days?

You can definitely prep for 7 days, but I recommend splitting the types of meals into ones that are fine for 3-4 days in the fridge, and then the rest for either the freezer or will store well in the fridge that long. This usually means meals to be reheated. Salads typically don’t do well sitting for that many days in the fridge. Produce can go bad at any time, plus when you mix veggies that way, one can make another go bad faster, especially when sealed up. 

I recommend being a little strategic about how you prep if you need a full 7 days. If you’re only doing meal prep salads, bowls, or wraps, go ahead and prep all the proteins and grains or starches, and maybe even chop the veggies. Then prep 3-4 days completely, but have the components of the last days of the week in separate containers in the fridge. Then you’ll need to do a quick prep session for the last few days of the week. 

Can you freeze meal prep?

This depends on the recipe. If it’s a recipe that you reheat, typically yes. If it’s a salad, no. You can, however, freeze some of the components of your healthy meal prep recipes. So any of the proteins like chicken, ground meat, shredded meat… those can usually just be frozen. Many of the veggies can be frozen as well. Veggies that contain a lot of water or are more fragile like cucumbers or lettuce don’t do well at all being frozen. Think about what you’d find in the freezer section. Those are the veggies and starches that will do fine freezing for a bit. 

If you want to freeze your recipes, though, I recommend doing batch prep with freezer meals. {Head to THIS PAGE to get 10 free freezer meal recipes!}

Where Can I buy food prep containers?

I usually use two different types of containers for my weekly meal prep, and it totally depends on whether or not the meal will go in the microwave to be reheated, OR if I’m doing a salad that’s on the go. 

If I need to reheat it, I use a glass pyrex-style dish. They’re rectangular, flat, and stack really nicely in the fridge.

{Check out this post for the Best Tools for Meal Prep recommendations!}

If I’m making a salad or bowl, I’ll either use the plastic meal prep containers (shown below) and add dressing right before eating it (because if you add it before it’ll make everything soggy), or I’ll use the Mason jar salad meal prep method if I’m taking it somewhere. The mason jar method is great because you can put dressings and anything more wet, like cut up tomatoes, at the bottom and then stack the rest of the greens and veggies, etc, vertically so nothing gets soggy before it’s time to eat it.

Cheap meal prep ideas

When it comes to cheap meal prep ideas, the general rule is to choose recipes with fewer ingredients. Yes, fancy seeds and sauces are nice and good. But when you need meal prep ideas on a budget, hitting your main macros will give you a delicious, filling, and nutritious lunch that’s easy on the bottom line cost. BudgetBytes has some awesome meal prep idea recipes that are extremely affordable.

What meals are good for meal prep?

Here are some awesome meal prep ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinners:

Breakfast meal prep ideas-

Lunch meal prep ideas-

Grab your free editable meal planning template by clicking below! 👇

Know someone else that would love to read about meal pep to save time and help lose weight? SHARE this post!

meal prep ideas to lose weight

How to Choose the Best Meal Planning App for Your Family

As a crazy busy mom, I can tell you that meal planning used to be one of the most stressful tasks I had until I found the best meal planning app for our family. I still use paper to write out meals to post on the fridge, but that’s more for my husband or kids because…ya know, they have questions. For the husband it’s to determine whether or not he wants to undertake dinner (“Like how complex is this meal and should I offer to cook it…?”) and for the kids I assume it’s to gear up for what level of complaining they should commit to for the evening.

So if you have any or all of these issues, I’m gonna walk you through what I believe should be the criteria for using and choosing the best meal planning for your family. Because bottom line is that to make great health doable on the daily, we need to merge healthy + efficient: that’s where the magic happens! ✨

best meal planning app

Why use a meal planning app?

  1. What’s funny is that moms usually think menu apps will free them of the harrowing job of searching for recipes and just designating something for the meal for the night. But the truth is that a meal planning app with grocery list can actually keep you on budget. I’m sure you’ve heard about the whole impulse buy phenomenon. It’s real. And the first line of defense against it is to have a grocery list while shopping. The next line of defense is to not go into the store, but do curbside pickup or delivery. Many of the best meal planning apps can now send your list straight to the store, which means you’re not going inside.
  2. The second reason to use meal planning apps is to help stay on a diet or dietary style. In all honesty, just not having to make the decision of a meal because it may or may not fit your dietary style is a huge load off your brainpower every day because it can serve as your healthy food planner. The same holds true for meal prepping lunches and breakfasts. And although I don’t know of a specific meal prep app, the idea is something worth exploring for anyone who needs to stay on a specific way of eating.
  3. The third reason for using meal planning apps is to save time, plain and simple. However, this requires you knowing how to use the meal planning app to its full potential, coupled with other tricks for efficiency (like being able to send your list straight to the store for pickup or delivery). But you should also be aware that any meal planner program isn’t necessarily better to do your weekly meal planning simply because you can pop a meal on a specific date. (More about that in a minute).
  4. And lastly, finding the best meal planning app for your family is a fantastic way to reduce stress. This is because of the enormous amount of information we process each day, in addition to the overload of decisions that we make daily. For moms, this is such a crazy amount it’s silly. All those thoughts and decisions compounded with things like clutter through the house and every other responsibility at home are the perfect storm for mega stress levels. (Why do you think organization sites and stores are so dang popular? Cause once you get a taste of freedom of your mind, there’s no going back!) And believe it or not, managing those stress levels should be priority one of self-care for your health and wellness.

What is meant by a ‘healthy meal planning app’

Ok this question needs to be addressed. I don’t believe there’s a such specific thing as a healthy meal planning app, per se. Many meal planning apps require you to input your own recipes, so in those instances the responsibility falls on you to make sure the recipes are ‘healthy’ or ‘not healthy’ per your own standards. Other meal planning apps have tons of recipes loaded, and can be set from the start to only give you recipes that fit your dietary style.

The problem with seeing any program as a healthy meal planning app is that many of these are recipe-sourced from bloggers who have no credentials or knowledge for deeming a recipe ‘healthy’. And believe me, I’ve seen many a thousand recipes labeled healthy that contained loads of refined grains and cups of sugar.

My recommendation is to choose an app or program based on your HABITS and what will fit your family best, then curate your own recipes based on your dietary style and types of meals that you need.

Meal planning app for moms or families

I’ve read through many recommendations for apps, and my conclusion is that there are several differences that will meet or fall short of your family’s needs. This is because every meal planning app or program has its own features. So it will really depend on what you need to fit your habits and alleviate your frustrations.

I’ve seen lots of clients and friends go through specific meal planner programs because they already had recipes in them, only to be disappointed at the recipes given. Many of these are not free meal planning apps, so they’ve been out of money for the app itself and out of all the time it took to learn it and try it out. So even though an app may claim to ‘personalize’ your meal plans, there’s no guarantee the recipes are any good.

I’ve also seen the mistake of thinking that the best meal planning app will set meals for specific days when the reality is it’s super easy to use the ‘collections’ function for grouping and planning your weeks. There aren’t many now, though, that don’t have a ‘meal planning’ function built in.

And lastly, things should be taken into consideration like how easy or hard is it to add recipes. If it takes too much time, you’ll likely get frustrated and quit pretty early in. Is the interface easy to use when it’s time to cook the meal? Can you edit recipes? Can you add your own? Are you able to send the grocery list to the store? And if so, which stores does it interface with?

All these questions should be considered when finding the best meal planning app for your family and your needs.

What is the best meal planner app

So here’s the million-dollar question, right? So I’m going to list the apps that I love best and recommend. And keep in mind that these are NOT apps or programs that generate a meal plan for you. These are apps or programs that allow you to collect and organize recipes (so it’s stuff you’re choosing), and then generate a shopping list. But they all have different functions and features. And keep in mind that what people think of as grocery list apps may or may not be just simply a list-making app. What we’re dealing with here are apps or programs that generate your shopping list for you based on the meals you’re cooking and send to the list.

If you really want a meal planner program that has specific dates for your meals laid out in order, the three I recommend are Whisk, MealBoard, or PrePear.

Whisk is the app I use and recommend first; it pulls in recipes super fast + easy. It’s also a free meal planning app. They’ve recently added the dated ‘meal planning’ function, which is awesome if you’re attached to dates with your meal planning. They have a Chrome extension and use the ‘send to’ feature on your phone where you can immediately edit or categorize your recipe with a few quick taps. (Meaning– awesome for those of us with nearly zero time to fool with copy/pasting a URL and then having more steps to get it into a category.) They now have a feature where others share their favorite recipes in groups that you can joing. Otherwise, for recipes you find elsewhere online, you pull in all that you want, and can edit any of them. But with how easy + fast it is, I’ve amassed a really large amount of recipes in very little time. It also can send your shopping list to the store, and is integrated with Walmart, many other local stores, and Instacart.

MealBoard has a ton of features that include storing recipes of your own, pulling in recipes (only by copy/paste of URL), editing recipes, and organizing into categories. It also allows you create ‘templates’, which are sets of meals you can name and reuse any time later. You can customize everything for yourself within this app, including multiple stores, the order of the store aisles, and even add pricing and barcodes for items. It also has a ‘pantry’ feature. What it does NOT do is send to any store. So when you generate a shopping list, you can either send it to someone else, or use it in the app in the store to shop. It also only has a couple recipes in it as examples, so all recipes will have to be imported that you use. It’s $4 in the app store.

PrePear also uses the dates for meals setup, but it DOES have recipes in the program. The downside to that is that it’s free with ads, and you can pull in SOME of the recipes for free, but they push buying an annual membership pretty heavily to have access to more recipes, ‘cookbooks’, and ‘meal plans’. These are all generated by bloggers. PrePear will generate shopping lists, and you can send to the store, but right now they only send to Walmart. You organize your recipes by ‘cookbooks’ and then within those you can create more sections. I’ve found it a little difficult to navigate this app and figure out how to add and organize recipes up front.

The last 3 apps I recommend at least exploring are really more for collecting and organizing. But if you have no interest in adding your own recipes or editing them, this may be a better meal planning option for you. These apps also don’t use ‘dates’ to set meal plans.

The first is Yummly, because of the 3, I recommend it most. It’s powered by food bloggers (every notice that little orange ‘yum’ button?) and has literally millions of recipes in it. I like it the most of the 3 because they do a great job of narrowing down your preferences and dietary needs from the start because of your ‘feed’ that shows up when you sign in. They also have a cool function where you input whatever ingredients you have on hand and it’ll give you recipes to make with them. You can create collections, and it has a ‘meal planner’ function that serves as a placeholder for the meals you want to cook for the week. You can send these to the store and it’s integrated with stores and Instacart. The downside is that you can’t edit anything or add your own recipes. For this reason, I usually use it as more of an exploration app to FIND recipes. I’m also not crazy about how they have each recipe set up when you open one. It usually forces you back to that blogger’s recipe post, and if you’ve ever had to fight 87 popup ads and 1000 words of text + images just to find the darn cooking instructions, you get my frustration with this.

Next is Tasty. This app is so colorful and fun, that sometimes I go in just to see what’s happening today. It does what Yummly does, except is a little less robust. It also does not have a ‘meal planner’ function. The collections function it has is nearly useless because they decide what to name or categorize the collections as. You can’t set that up for personalization. But if you need recipes, they’ve got it.

And lastly, I wanted to mention Food Network kitchen app. I’m not crazy about the cooking videos, etc, that they push the membership for. But they do have an insane amount of recipes. Their collection and organization methods are also subpar. But again–if you need recipes, you’ll find them here.

How to use ‘collections’ in apps for meal planning

I want to address the ‘need’ for you to have a meal planner app that has specific dates on it for meal planning. Because that shouldn’t be a limitation for you choosing an app that uses collections instead. I actually really like the collections option because you can set up collections as ‘templates’ or ‘weeks’ of recipes, then use them again. The Whisk app allows you to easily set multiple collections that any given recipe can be in at the same time, and I create a collection for ‘this week’ and ‘next week’ to plan weeks ahead of time for my placeholders.

Free template + how to use with apps

Get the free meal planning template and grocery list below and use it along with the best meal planning app for your family. 👇

I use paper templates STILL because my kids help add stuff to our grocery list all week. But I also have a paper listing out meals for anyone else to help out or just know what’s for dinner. It’s attached to the side of the fridge.

How do I make my weekly meal plan

Making a weekly meal plan doesn’t have to be hard. You obviously need to start out finding recipes that fit your dietary style and needs. This can mean following a specific blogger or site that has lots of those types of recipes, finding some on Pinterest, or even googling your search requirements. Recipes are super popular now, so lots of stuff will come up. Collect and organize everything you find.

Next you should figure out how many recipes you need per week based on your schedule. Do you eat out any? Plan for a leftover night during the week? Also consider your time available to cook. This may mean you cook a lot of slow cooker meals or even decide to do some mega meal prep. All these factors should go into the types of recipes you collect.

Once you know how many and what type of recipes you need, just start plugging them in. Either create ‘collections’ for the week you’re cooking or plug into the specific dates you need.

How do I make a meal plan and grocery list

Once you’ve made the meal plan per the above guidelines, you have two options: use strictly the meal planner grocery list feature to generate a shopping list (which you can add anything else you need in the store to), or you can transfer those ingredients in the list or recipes to a paper list, like the one in the free meal planning template and grocery list below.

{Click the image below to grab it! 👇}

best meal planning app

Again– I highly recommend you take a step back to evaluate your own habits and tech limitations to determine which is the best meal planning app for you and your family. It could make the difference between wasting a lot of time in an app you hate, or saving loads of time, frustration, and stress that can actually turn your evenings into joyful mealtimes with your family. 🥰

Know someone who could use some help choosing the perfect meal planning app? SHARE this post! 💕

the best meal planning app for your family

How to Stick to Your Diet with Meal Planning for Weight Loss

No doubt you’ve read many a trick, tip, or hack for losing weight, but as a nutrition specialist that works with crazy busy moms, meal planning for weight loss is by far the best trick there is.

Yes, we all aspire to meal plan on a regular basis to make sure our families are fed. But honestly, that’s where the problem is when it comes to losing weight. We get hung up on only dinners because we have to feed the kiddos. We’re not really going that one step further to think about the other meals for the day. Here’s how to stick to your diet with meal planning for weight loss.

How do you make a good meal plan for weight loss?

First things first: To lose weight, you must either create a calorie deficit, or reduce your carbohydrate enough that your body goes into ketosis. Creating a calorie deficit would be dietary styles like what I call ‘smart-carb’, Mediterranean diet, Paleo (for the most part), and plant-based (this is not an exhaustive list). Going into ketosis would be very low-carb diets and the keto diet. I won’t get into specifics for going into ketosis in this post.

What I will do is say that relying on packaged and ‘quick diet foods’ to reduce calories may help your bottom line, but it’s doing you zero favors in real health benefits. Which is why I recommend using nutrient-dense foods in a smart and purposeful way when going into a calorie deficit. This includes:

  • Quitting processed and packaged foods and added sugars (which are in nearly all packaged and/or processed foods). These foods make you think you’re still hungry when you’re really not. That can make it extremely difficult to stay on track when you have a certain calorie allotment per day.
  • Load up on vegetables and some fruits. Vegetables are full of fiber and vitamins, and will help you feel full faster and longer with smaller portion sizes. This includes legumes and beans, which are sorta like power foods in terms of fiber for weight loss. Fresh fruits are good, but in limited amounts. Make sure you’re having way more vegetables than fruits. Fruit with the fiber is good (and a million x better than packaged foods), but remember that fruit contains fructose. Fructose still makes an impact on your insulin response, and every time it’s hit up for more insulin, it sends the signal to store fat. Which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. So if you have fruit, pair it with a protein and a healthy fat. Great examples of these would be an apple + peanut/almond butter or blueberries + a cheese stick.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber. Both help you feel full faster and longer, and protein helps you build muscle when doing strength training. This matters because more lean muscle will also boost your metabolism.
  • Try using a meal planning app. Yeah, I get it– some of us are die-hard paper planners. But storing all those recipes makes it hella easier to get organized and have a good recipe on the ready when it’s time to sit and plan. Get ahead of the game by choosing a good one, getting organized, and always use it when you find something good (ie-quit tossing them on your Pinterest board that you never look at again!)

{Recommended: How to Choose the Best Meal Planning App for Your Family}

Is meal prepping good for weight loss?

Oh my goodness YES! Meal prepping makes actual meal cooking take less time, and allows for spending more relaxing time with family during cooking and meal time!

One of the first things I recommend to clients is to meal prep anything you can. But also, pull in help. This can be a segway to teaching your kiddos cooking as a life-skill plus allows time to have conversations. Purposeful time like this is crazy important for them and you! It can also be a great way for you and your partner to connect and get on the same page for meals and maybe your plans for the week. I have lots of clients who end up pulling their partner into meal planning and change the way they both eat, resulting in healthy clean eating being a family affair.

Meal prepping for weight loss is so important because you’re not only planning out your meals (which is the number one way to stay on track with your diet), but also making sure it’s doable. We all have crazy lives when we have kids and a business to run, so having a plan and doing your prep work up front is everything when you’re trying to stay within specific calories or carbs every day!

Also, meal prepping allows you to make sure your breakfasts, snacks, and lunches are taken care of as well. This is the biggest time for downfalls when trying to lose weight, because any small meal during the day is an afterthought, until it’s not. And if you don’t have a plan in place, the hangry you will win with whatever’s most convenient. Which is usually processed and full of empty calories.

What is a good meal plan for weight loss?

A good meal plan for weight loss starts with outlining your schedule, how much time you have for meal prep and cooking, and obviously–how many calories or carbohydrates you need as your daily limit. To determine your caloric needs as a start, calculate your basal metabolic rate. Once you know that, you can cut that number according to your activity level and adjust from there.

Calculate your caloric needs with this calculator :

EER Calculator – Estimated Energy Requirement

So now that you have an idea of the deficit you need in calories daily to lose weight, use that as a guide for your meals. Two options for keeping track of those that I recommend are either MyFitnessPal (which integrates with Fitbit) or the Whisk app for recipe collection and meal planning. You can read more about that HERE. Why I love Whisk is that it was designed with data in mind and calculates all macros and calories for any recipe you put in. That way you know exactly how much of the recipe you can have portion-wise (or if you don’t need it at all!)

The Ultimate How-to Meal Planning for Beginners Guide

How to Meal Plan for Beginners Guide

As a busy mom, I’m sure you can relate to the dinner-time frenzy of ‘what’s for dinner?’, as well as the panic that beginners of meal planning encounter regularly. It’s seriously draining to have tiny humans to feed when you have no clue how to meal plan or where to start meal planning. 

I actually advocate meal planning as one of the FIRST things to get in order in your household to help reduce stress. (Seriously–order and a plan = calm + collected).

Finding the magic ✨ middle between healthy + efficient will change everything.

But there are actually a lot of other reasons to meal plan, and here’s why you should get your ish in order and get started!

meal planning for beginners

1. Benefits of meal planning

Meal planning is one of those things that people just hate doing. It usually feels like an impossible task, not knowing where to start or end. Most people are very confused about what meals they should include for staying with a particular dietary style, which meals through the week they should plan for, and how make the shopping lists.

I get it—before I started meal planning it felt completely overwhelming. Evenings were stressful, because even if we did agree on a meal, I had no idea if we had the ingredients to make it. (Forget whether or not it fit into our ‘diet’ we tried to adhere to at the time!) The frustration of not ever really knowing what was for dinner got the best of me once we had kids and our time became a gazillion times for valuable (because it was qucily becoming in more short supply).

That’s when I decided to get serious about meal planning.

And you know what? I discovered that there were several benefits to  meal planning I didn’t even realize until we were into it a couople weeks.

First, our ‘diet’ we were trying to follow—we stuck to it because I took the time to search out recipes that followed it. The confidence it built in both my husband and I after eating good for two weeks was amazing! That alone helped us stay motivated to keep working out as well. We didn’t want to waste our efforts at proper eating habits.

Second, we saved money. (Serious.) When you have an actual plan, you don’t wander through the store and grab at whatever looks good. You get your stuff and get out. This also allows to intentiaonally search up recipes that cost less if you’re serious about bringing your budget down on groceries.

Third, we eliminated multiple trips to the store. Translation: time saver!! We honestly didn’t have time to make so many trips to the store in the first place, and this just put me into panic runaround mode the days I had to ‘stop real quick’. Think about how much time (and brainpower) it’s taking for you to realize you forgot something or you’re out of whatever you dreamed up for dinner on a whim, then the time to get into the store (especially if you have to take kids in with you!), the time in the store, loading the car back up, then unloading everything while unloading kids. Oh yeah—and getting everything put up. This can suck hours out of your week. Only one trip a week has saved me boatloads of time!

And last, our stress levels were exponentially less in the evenings. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I’m not kidding. There was no scrambling around, no arguments, no searching online like a madwoman for something—anything—I could make with mushrooms and ajar of relish. We had a plan, we both helped in cooking every night, and we started having some amazing conversations while spending relaxing before-dinner time with the kiddos.

So now that you’re convinced you’re definitely on the right track–

2. How do you start meal planning?

Meal planning will come down to a couple of different things.

First, are there any dietary styles you need to adhere to? If so, those are the kinds of recipes you need to search up.

Second, how many people will you be cooking for at night? Think about if you need to cook for adults and kids.

Third, do you want to take advantage of leftovers for lunches? This will determine the number of servings you cook of the dinner recipe. This is a GREAT way to also make sure you stay on track with your dietary style. As long as you cook your dinners in that style, you’re assured your lunch is the same when you’re using them as leftovers. Plus you don’t have to go searching for lunch when you’re hungry. It’s already done and ready in the fridge.

Do you need to plan for breakfasts, snacks, or more lunches? If so, you should also account for these when sitting down to meal plan.

3. How do I create a weekly meal plan?

Creating a meal plan takes a little time each week, but once you have a system set, you begin to follow it automatically and it gets easier.

The first thing you should do is print out a meal planning template (which you can get below), and find recipes. Consider all those things above when coming up with your plan.

Next, start filling in the days and slots you need a meal for with the recipes you’ve found. Think about any nights you won’t be home for kids’ practices, nights you eat out, or nights you’re planning for leftovers. Mark those out or make a note.

You’ll also want to note any nights you want to cook but it needs to be simple or a slow cooker meal that you threw in first thing in the morning to be ready by dinnertime.

Third, you’ll need to create shopping lists. This can be done by either using recipe or meal planning apps, or by simply writing a list with a meal planning template and shopping list template yourself while looking at the recipe. It’s a little time-consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult.

Fourth, double-check you don’t already have those ingredients (I hate when I buy something I already had 5 of !)

Last, I suggest posting your weekly meal plans somewhere anyone can find it. This is so that if your partner needs/wants to start the meal, or even has questions about it, you always have a designated place so there are no questions.

4. Meal Planning Template With Shopping List

Meal planning templates with a shopping list can be very simple, planning only for dinners, or you can find very complex meal planning templates when you need to plan for multiple meals per day. The advantage of printing these out is that you have a very clear, organized picture of your week right in front of you.

meal planning for beginners

5. Schedule in Meal Planning Every Week

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners make is not taking the time to meal plan, and not making it a priority. If you’re serious about saving time in your week and nixing the constant anxiety about what’s for dinner- schedule in a time to sit and do meal planning every single week! 

6. Get organized

Every time I ask a client where their recipes are, I know what’s coming: “Oh they’re on my phone”. But the where is the bigger issue. I know how this works– we get going down the recipe rabbit hole on Pinterest, pin a thousand recipes that all look amazing, then we never see them again. 

Friend! Stop doing this!! If you find something you think looks fantastic and your family will love it, do yourself a HUGE favor and get organized with your recipes so you can find them again later!! I use a recipe organization app that’s amazing at analyzing nutrition information, too. They use a ‘collections’ feature to organize recipes, and (although they will have an official ‘meal planner’ feature soon within the app), I use that ‘collections’ feature to do my meal planning. Plus they generate my shopping list and you can send it any store from there for shopping– SO EASY!!

7. Save + Reuse Favorites

This one is so easy, but always easily forgotten. When you find something that everyone likes, don’t forget to save it and reuse it. These start to fall under the category I call ‘Family Faves’. What’s so great about these is that once you’ve made it a time or two, it starts to be second nature– meaning it takes you less time and brainpower to make it. Heck-some of ours I actually know all the ingredients by heart now! 

So now that you have your steps in order for how to meal plan, grab the free meal planning template with shopping list below and get started! 👇

meal planning for beginners

Know someone else that could use help meal planning? SHARE this post!

meal planning for beginners meal planner with grocery list

What Diet is Best for Me Ultimate Guide and Roadmap

BY FAR, the biggest question people have for nutritionists (including myself) is: What diet is best for me?

And I get it– your dietary style has a lot to do with how you feel every single day. I wasted so much time trying to lose baby weight after my second and third kid using a dietary style that didn’t support my body type and allergic condition. It was a miserable multitude of months seeing weight go up and down while relying on daily antihistamines and asthma medication that made me feel like I was in outer space.

I felt like a failure, and I didn’t get why my allergies seemed to get worse even though I was eating ‘healthy’. (In my naive defense, I didn’t understand food labeling at the time–that came much later as I completed formal education in nutrition.)

Most people want to know which diet is best for me to lose weight. But there’s a lot more that goes into this question than just–tell me which diet is best for me. Here’s why.

First, every single body is different. Meaning your metabolism is different. Your body type is different. Yes, your DNA is different. But also, your tastes, environmental factors, lifestyle, and habits are all so very different!

what diet is best for me

What I like to guide clients and readers to do is figure out which goals they have based on their medical issues FIRST. This means asking yourself what your goal is (which can be to lose weight, avoid foods you’re allergic or intolerant to, pull down blood sugar levels, decrease inflammation, get your gut health back on track, get energy levels steady all day, get blood pressure under control, or just simply eat healthy intuitively. And this is not all-inclusive, by the way–there are many, many other goals you could have based on health issues.)

The reason I tell people this first is because you can waste so SO much time collecting and trying out recipes that aren’t right for you and your family.

Why does this matter? Well, first because it’s not getting you any closer to your goals, but also–the endgame should be to set up an automated routine for each aspect of your health so you don’t have to think about it. For you to become a Systems Superstar as the President and CEO of your health. To do this you must act like a CEO—learn from experts, then create and use systems to delegate + free your mind so you can focus on things to propel your business and make the best of your family time while feeling fantastic physically and mentally.

My philosophy is to find that magic ✨ middle where you merge healthy + efficient.

which diet is best for me

But to get an efficient system going, you have to take a bit of time, researching and soul searching to build your proper foundation first. Otherwise you’re chasing squirrels up the wrong tree.

So take a look at what I call the ‘Dietary Direction Hierarchy” diagram to get a better idea of what I mean in terms of your diet or dietary style being the foundation to your SYSTEM that should eventually run itself:

what diet is best for me to lose weight

Since you’re reading this article and asking ‘which diet is best for me’, you’re at the Foundation level (the green one). You have to use health conditions, habits, and goals altogether to figure out what the perfect diet is for you.

which diet is best for me

So what I aim to do is give you some guidance on where to start based on what your goals are. Then you can further research different dietary styles with the resources listed below. And keep in mind that many people have more than one health issue that needs to be addressed with diet. When you’re looking at your issues, notice recurring dietary style recommendations. These are where you should start.

But I cannot stress enough 2 important things:

1) EATING CLEAN will do more for you right off the bat than counting anything. If you’re eating sugar, refined carbs and flours, and processed foods, eliminate those first.

2) It will probably require you TRYING a few styles to get the one that’s BEST FOR YOU. There’s almost no way around that. So let’s get started.

Grab the FREE Clean Energy 1-Week Meal Plan Here: CLICK THE IMAGE 👇

The best diet for losing weight (fat)

I put this first because ‘what is the best diet for losing weight?’ seems to be the most commonly asked question. Here’s the deal, studies have shown that the best diet is the one you’ll stick to. This means the one that works best with your habits, or that you’re willing to change or make new habits to support the diet. These studies, however, didn’t take into account any of the things I listed above. So I still recommend you figure out what will work best based on your lifestyle, habits, and any food intolerances/allergies you may have.

As far as what works with your body type, some people do much better on low-carb or keto styles where you severely limit carbohydrates. Others do better when limiting total calories. Some would rather have the flexibility of eating specific foods they want as long as the daily total falls into specific macronutrient counts. And even others do very well using the ‘smart carb’ method where you’re specifically choosing your carbs but not necessarily limiting them. The benefit to this is that you can still have carbs, but you’re choosing ones that are healthy in terms of nutritional content and FIBER. *Fiber is key!

And yet others really hate counting anything and would rather follow ‘rules’ regarding which foods they can or cannot have based on that dietary style.

And the last group would be those that would rather learn to eat intuitively (which is a new buzz word for the wellness and diet world). Sometimes it’s called ‘non-dieting’ or the ‘un-diet’, but it means you reset your metabolism and taste buds for whole clean foods, and then listen to your body for what you need daily.

This is a lot of information overall, and it can be confusing to figure out overall, “What diet is best for me?” So really dig into what diets you’ve tried in the past and how you’ve FELT on each.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did I lose weight in a healthy, steady way?
  2. Were the recipes and types of food easy to find, cook, and choose when out (eating out/drive-thru)?
  3. Did I have enough energy to do my work AND exercise?
  4. Did the diet disrupt any gut issues? Or solve any?
  5. Were there any other noticeable changes (good or bad) regarding skin, mood, and brain fog/focus?
  6. Why did you quit? What were the barriers that made it unsustainable for you?

Here’s a flow chart to get an overview of what this means so far:

what diet is best for me

A great way to kickstart your clean eating is the Rocketfuel Reboot, which you can find HERE.

Once you have these questions answered, you can look into dietary styles to see which ones will match best based on your health concerns. Since this is the next point in this sequence, I’m going to give some options based on health concerns.

Best diet for Lactose Intolerance

Being lactose intolerant means you have tummy troubles when you have any kind of dairy. Sure, there’s lactose-free milk. But it’s very difficult to avoid dairy in everything else. If this is your only health issue, you really can try any dietary style for weight loss as long as your foods are dairy free. However, the Paleo diet is dairy-free and also emphasizes whole foods. Whole30 also removes dairy. (But both of these also restrict grains and legumes).

*Recipe search tip:

When searching for recipes, you may need to add ‘plant-based’ or ‘vegan’ onto your search to find recipes that will not include dairy.

Best Diet for Diabetes or Prediabetes (and sometimes PCOS)

Prediabetes, diabetes, and PCOS all involve the way the body responds to sugar entering your bloodstream. These conditions don’t allow proper insulin production to process those blood sugars, which can lead to a variety of serious health concerns. This means you need a dietary style to limit and control the sugars you’re eating every day. Doctors also recommend losing weight if you have any of these conditions because of the connection with body fat and hormone levels that all interplay in these conditions.

Most people must do a drastic dietary overhaul to manage these conditions with food. For that reason, I actually recommend cleaning up your food first, eating smart carb style next, then moving on to lower carb if your blood sugar levels aren’t coming down within acceptable range. This may mean going into the keto levels of carbohydrates. Again-all this depends on your body, DNA, lifestyle, and environment.

The best diets for these conditions are smart-carb styles (Paleo with limited natural sugars, Mediterranean diet, Pescatarian, low-carb, and keto).

**Recipe search tip:

Use the terms ‘Mediterranean’, ‘low carb’, or ‘keto’ in your search terms, and don’t be afraid to combine terms. For example, if you need higher fat but lower carb recipes that you’d like to follow the Mediterannean principles of more fish and olive oil, try something like, ‘Mediterranean keto salmon recipes’.

The Best Diet for Severe exhaustion or Energy rollercoaster

Believe it or not, energy rollercoasters and exhaustion are usually caused by using ‘energy’ foods to give boosts throughout the day just to get through the day. This means sugary foods and caffeine normally. The best course of action for these conditions is to first wean your caffeine consumption back (cause headaches), and wean back from sugary foods and replace them with complex carbohydrates. If you’re trying to lose weight, see what these changes do first, with adding some light walking and yoga, then decide on a plan to cut either calories or carbs to lose the fat.

People who feel this much exhaustion and energy rollercoaster feelings all day usually have severe stress in their lives too. This means you’ll also greatly benefit from doing a deep-dive and commitment to managing your stress levels throughout the day and improving your sleep.

The best dietary styles for this are going to be smart-carb, low carb, Paleo, keto, Mediterranean, or even Whole 30 to shift your body out of relying on ‘hits’ of short-lived energy to survive the day, and instead use long-lasting carbs or fats for sustainable energy that’s whole and healthy.

**Recipe search tip:

Use terms like ‘low carb’ or ‘sugar-free’ looking for recipes, or try the specific dietary style you’re using. Just make sure to review the recipe ingredients and double-check there are no added sugars.

The Best Diet for Gut issues

Gut issues can look like anything from irregularity to constant bloating and pain. It can also include a ‘brain fog’ feeling, and even issues like anxiety and depression since the mind and gut are so closely related. Another indicator that you need to address gut issues is you’re having constant allergy issues and/or have candida (yeast infections) frequently.

For gut issues, there are several different avenues you can go since it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Yes, the gut needs to be healed if you’re having these types of problems. But there are many different protocols to heal that take totally different approaches.

I will say this: If you have any of these gut issues but want to lose weight, I recommend you work on healing the gut FIRST. This is because your body is not absorbing the nutrients it needs from food or supplements you’re taking, and your body will be working overtime trying to compensate for this. This means it will be that much harder for your body to shift into fat-burning mode.

Recommended dietary styles for this would be: Low FODMAP, the Gut-Health Protocol, the GAP diet or any other dietary style that eliminates grains, dairy, and soy for a period of time to allow your gut to heal (which would also include Whole30 or Paleo, and possibly even low-carb with no dairy or keto with no dairy.) Studies have also shown plant-based diets to help with gut issues because of the higher fiber content.

Bottom line on this one: I recommend working with a professional to determine what your gut issue actually is so you can figure out how to heal first, then worry about weight loss.

The Best Diet for When You’re Intolerant to meat

I hear this every now and again, that someone is intolerant to meats. This can be true, but sometimes the intolerance is due to an allergy that’s developed because of leaky gut. (See prior section about gut health).

My recommendation on this would be to first try a few different types of meat with NOTHING else on them to make sure it’s not just the fat, sauce, or seasonings you’re using. Then see what your reactions are to fish and eggs. Find out what you CAN eat.

Plant-based diets can actually have some meats in them, and if you can find some meats you can tolerate well, this might be the way to go for you. Otherwise, vegan, Pescatarian, plant-based, or vegetarian would be the dietary style you need to focus on. This means very careful calculations for protein intake. If you go this route, I would definitely work with a nutritionist who specializes in vegan diets. Especially if trying to lose weight, because you have a whole other ballgame when it comes to figuring out whether you should cut calories or carbs, and how to do it appropriately to ensure you’re still getting adequate protein.

**Recipe search tip:

Use the term ‘plant-based’, ‘vegan, or ‘vegetarian’ when searching recipes.

The Best Diet for High blood pressure

High blood pressure has traditionally been associated with high-stress levels and high sodium levels in the diet. And while these 2 things definitely contribute to it, the science is now showing that our sugar intake, as well as weight, are huge factors as well. The 3 main things I recommend for high blood pressure are: cleaning up your diet STAT, implementing stress management techniques EVERY day, and getting in a workout every day that RAISES your heart rate.

As far as dietary style, several are good for high blood pressure. The DASH diet is the most popular in searches, but my problem with this diet is that it’s a little loosy-goosy on clean eating. Unless you’re committed to combining more clean foods with the DASH style, I’d go more towards the Mediterranean diet, Paleo, smart carb, low carb, or keto.

Bottom line will be limiting salt and sugar, so you’ll do well to start with cleaning up your foods first, then move to smarter carb or Mediterranean, then low carb or Paleo, and then keto if needed.

**Recipe Tip: Always remember that in recipes, you can always adjust the amount of seasonings and salt to decrease that overall intake in your meal. This is more difficult when you’re eating out, so be careful.

The Best Diet for High cholesterol

High cholesterol is a warning sign that we’re not taking proper care of our heart, whether that’s a lack of exercise, other poor lifestyle choices, or just our diet in general. By far the most popular recommendation from doctors is the Mediterranean diet because of the large amount of fish, olive oil, and whole grains that it uses. This is not to say that other dietary styles may work as well–like Pescatarian– but there are many studies proving the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet for heart health.

The Mediterranean style limits red meats, alcohol, simple carb foods, and added sugars. It also promotes more whole grains, legumes, and beans for their mega fiber content. Another key component is the healthy fats from lots of fish, avocado, and olive oils.

**Recipe search tip: simply search using ‘Mediterranean recipes for’ and then your next ingredient to find lots of options.

The Best Diet for Celiac

Having Celiac or gluten intolerance means the ‘Which diet is best for me’ question must obviously be answered with, ‘Any diet that eliminates gluten.’ The dietary styles which don’t include gluten also eliminate grains, unless you look for recipes that are simply labeled ‘gluten-free’. The 2 most popular dietary styles for this would be Paleo and Whole 30.

But keep in mind that low-carb and keto can’t do grains either because grains have so many carbohydrates. Another point to think about is that many people with celiac or gluten intolerance are also sensitive to dairy. For this reason, many food blogs will group these types of recipes and label them, ‘gluten-free, dairy-free.’

The main thing to know is that trying to eat any type of bread, cakes, pastries, etc that would normally be made with wheat or grains means learning an entirely new way of baking or cooking.

The second thing to know is that it’s very difficult in our modern food society to get whole grains easily if you can’t have gluten–which you still may want for the fiber. And fiber is super important. So you’ll absolutely want to avoid breads, cakes, pastries, etc that are packaged because they’re usually made from potato flour, rice flour, or other flours that have little to no fiber and cause large blood sugar and/or insulin spikes. (This means it triggers fat storage, so if you’re trying to lose weight on a gluten-free diet you need to avoid these things.)

**Recipe search tip: Use the terms ‘gluten-free’, ‘grain-free’, or whatever dietary style (Paleo or Whole30) in your search terms. You can also combine terms, for example, ‘gluten-free keto’.

The Best Diet for Inflammation

Inflammation can have many different causes, but the main starting point should be eliminating added sugars. The second thing to work on would be replacing trans and saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated and upping your omega 3’s. For those reasons, the Mediterranean Diet or Pescatarian diet are both excellent dietary styles for inflammation.

There are many different conditions that can lead to higher inflammation, but your DNA can also play a big role in that as well. That doesn’t mean throw in the towel cause you can’t control it anyway–rather, that means you actually may have to put in a bit of extra effort to keep your inflammation under control.

There are a few self-proclaimed diets for inflammation, but again–I recommend cleaning up your diet first, then addressing ongoing issues from there.

The Best Diet for Autoimmune Issues

Autoimmune diseases are some of the most difficult to manage because you’re fighting with your body’s natural immune system. However, studies are showing eliminating certain foods and working on healing the gut first can make big headway in how you feel before trying specific dietary styles. There is a specific diet called the Autoimmune Protocol (or AIP diet) that walks you through this period of healing. It can be pretty intense, so just go into it prepared.

Aside from that, many people have found that combining low-carb diets like low-carb or keto while eliminating caffeine and alcohol have made huge differences in managing their autoimmune issues. Another dietary style good for autoimmune issues (rheumatoid arthritis, in particular) is a plant-based diet.

Again–this is a lifelong journey and battle, so clean up your diet first, heal your gut, then try a few different dietary styles to see what will give you relief the most.

The Best Diet for Skin issues (like eczema)

If you have skin issues like eczema or random breakouts, there could be 2 possible culprits: hormonal imbalance or intolerance to certain foods. If you’ve got hormonal imbalance, it usually starts with gut issues. So I’d see the section above on gut health. If you have intolerances, the best way to see this is to eliminate gluten (or even all grains), dairy, and soy, as these are the top 3 culprits. A full-out elimination diet may give some insight as well.

Another possible culprit could be the types of fats you’re consuming. If you eat lots of trans fats or way more omega 6’s than 3’s, your skin could be suffering terribly.

If you’d rather have a dietary style to follow to help eliminate these, the Paleo diet and Whole 30 are very clean eating-centric and don’t include grains, dairy, soy, or legumes.

**Recipe search tip: Use the terms ‘Whole30’ or ‘Paleo’ then whatever other main ingredient you’re searching for. Or if you’re just looking for recipes in general, you can search Google or Pinterest using these terms.

The Best Diet for Allergies (food or environmental)

Food allergies are no joke. So if you KNOW you’re allergic to a certain food, if it’s one of the top 8 (peanuts, dairy, soy, wheat, nuts, shellfish, eggs, fish) you’ll have to work around these in your diet. This is really difficult to navigate because of cross-contamination as well.

So if you only have one allergy, it can be fairly easy to find a good dietary style. If you have more than one, it starts to get tricky. And the higher the number, the more difficult it is to feed yourself. That being said, it will be even more difficult to lose weight before healing your gut, unless you’re starving yourself anyway because you can’t figure out what to eat.

I recommend working with a nutritionist that specializes in food allergies first and foremost. She can help you work on healing your gut so you’re absorbing nutrients appropriately. She will also help you create (or create for you) personalized meal plans that eliminate all the food allergens you have so you’re not constantly freaking out about your next meal (or just going hungry for fear of a reaction).

If you have environmental allergens, this can be a huge sign of gut health issues or candida imbalance. Both can be addressed by cutting out sugar and processed foods first and foremost. Then work on healing the gut as well. Adding in as many nutrient-dense whole foods as possible will help you have more energy to deal with the allergy situation. Stress management will also play into this (as well as good sleep), so address these issues as well.

And as far as weight loss when you have these issues, address the gut health first, then choose a diet that FEELS GOOD to your body. If you have zero energy all day doing low carb or keto, you may just need a higher complex carb way of eating like the Mediterranean or smart carb. These diets are really good for getting in a lot of fiber that help feed those good bacteria you worked so hard to get back with your gut-healing. So work on those things first, then deal with the weight issue.

How to Choose a Diet or Dietary Style

Now that you’ve looked at the options for each dietary style, see which recurring ones come up for your conditions.

And now comes the fun part: Trying different things.

Yes, this is a pain in the butt. Yes, it takes time. But this is the way to finding the *perfect* diet or dietary style for you. You wanna be in the group of people that actually lose weight because you stick to it? Then quit asking, ‘what is the best diet for me’ and actually do the work to find it!

YOUR NEXT STEPS –> Choose a dietary style to try, find recipes for at LEAST 4 weeks, and see how you feel! If it’s not fitting into your habits and capacity to cook and prepare the food, move on to the next. But give it a MINIMUM of four weeks. (You can do anything for 30 days, right?)

Wanna clean up your diet while deciding on a dietary style? Try the FREE Clean Energy 1-Week Meal Plan 👇 (It’s clean eating + smart carb). CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW!

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