What is meal mapping? Meal mapping is writing down in detail what you are going to eat for each meal the next day. Meal mapping is pretty much the same as meal planning. Except that I already HAVE the food and I’m not going to the store to get it. The important thing here is getting as close to my macro goals as I can and not going over my calories. I make a lot of things in bulk and freeze extras servings that I may not eat this week. When I do this it leaves a ton of extra freezer meals ready for me to eat whenever. Sometimes there’s extra fruit, veggies or meats in the freezer or refrigerator and they don’t really have a plan yet. I write down what ingredients I have and then piece them together into meals. Do this for as many days as possible. I use MyFitnessPal (ADD ME!) for my meal mapping to make sure I’m hitting my macros.
For example, on Sunday I looked in my refrigerator and I had a big container of fresh spinach, 2 bell peppers, 1/2 an onion, a tomato and zucchini and we always buy the big 5 dozen eggs because we eat them daily. In the freezer I had chicken and already made pulled pork. In the pantry I had different cans of beans and whole wheat bread. Using MyFitnessPal, I start dividing up all the ingredients. I was able to map out 4 mornings worth of breakfasts consisting of 2 eggs, 3 egg whites, and a little of all the veggies. For lunch, I mapped out 3 chicken salads with the spinach and veggies. For dinners, I mapped out pull pork sandwiches for 2 nights and chicken with black beans and zucchini for 2 nights.
How does meal mapping benefit me?
1.) It saves me time
Sometimes I’m eating on the go or I’m in a hurry. Stopping to try and remember the portion sizes of everything I ate just isn’t an option. Imagine doing this after each meal? That’s 5 meals a day for me. It’s not a good idea to wait until the end of the day and try to think back on everything I ate while guessing portion sizes, how accurate is that? Also if items aren’t pre logged, when I eat any new foods that aren’t going to be in my history yet. I have to make sure I can find one available in the right serving sizes and the right brand which can take some time. Luckily, once you log something it stays in your history and will pop up when you start to type it. I LOVE THIS and it makes logging calories not terribly difficult.
2.) It helps me not run out of calories
It’s great to say you’re going to eat healthy today, but if it’s not mapped out, how can you be so sure? I swear to you that in the past when I would log as I ate, there were days where I ran out of calories by 2pm. Well, what now?! I would definitely eat dinner even if I was going to go over my calories, I’m way too hungry haha. You don’t want to do this though!
3.) It helps me plan and time my meals better
I can look at my schedule and see what I have coming up for the next few days. If know tomorrow I will be away from the house for 8 hours, I’ll know to map out some items that I can take with me in my lunch box. I’ll know now to plan a fancy dinner that takes 2 hours to cook because I won’t have time. I’ll know WHEN to plan said fancy dinner because I checked my schedule and saw that I had time Thursday! Make sense? Why plan the hardest meal on the busiest day? It makes my whole week easier if everything is as in sync as it possibly can be.
4.) It helps me not waste food
If I let the food sit in there without a purpose and just eat as I go… so much food goes to waste. I will always pick the easiest thing because when I’m hungry. I want to eat right now, not in half an hour after everything is chopped and cooked. Meal mapping gives every item in the refrigerator a purpose so it is not forgotten and left there for who knows how freakin’ long. The easiest thing to do with extra veggies is just make a big salad. Then when you’re looking for a snack it’s ready and you might be more inclined to choose it over something already made like fruit snacks or chips. If the veggies aren’t already cut for me.. I’m probably not choosing them. What can I say, I’m lazy.