Between work schedules, your children's schedules, and just life, finding time to stick to your health journeys can be tough.

One of the most effective ways to avoid last-minute meals, unhealthy choices, and prevent food waste is to plan meals ahead of time.  By taking an hour out of your weekend, you can organize your meals for the week.

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You can prep some of the food in advance to make it even easier and more convenient to stay on track with your goals. Meal planning primarily consists of mapping out your schedule, keeping a balanced plate, and organizing your grocery shopping.

Here are some simple tips and you get more info and budget-recipe tools at My Plate.

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    1

    Shop Your Cupboards and Fridge

    When planning meals, make a list at what you already have in the fridge, freezer or cupboard that needs to be used up. Is there ground beef hiding in your freezer or a salad’s worth of lettuce that will soon go limp? Incorporate these into your plan and fill in the rest.

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    Balance Your Plate

    Having a balanced plate while meal planning is extremely important. Your plates should consist of: 1/2 plate of fruits and veggies, 1/4 of whole grains, 1/4 of lean protein. Whatever you choose is up to your preference, but for an idea, you could plan out to have broccoli and asparagus, grilled chicken and brown rice for your lunches one week. Have some fun with it, but try your best to follow those measurements!

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    Organize Your Shopping List

    Sitting down before you go to the grocery store and writing down a list of what you need to make for your week meal plan, makes the process a lot easier. By doing this, you save time trying to figure out what to get, and you also avoid getting unnecessary items. Plan out what you want to make and what you want to have, so when you get to the store you are only buying those ingredients.

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    RossHelen/ThinkStock
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    Plan Your Meals Around Your Activities

    If you have a busy week ahead, are you really going to be able to make a roast on Tuesday night? Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Plan quick, easy meals for busy nights, and save the creative menus for nights when you’ll have the time and energy to tackle them.