Bariatric Meal Planning
Made Easy

Bariatric meal planning means asking, “what am I going to eat?” only once for the whole week instead of every day. Whether you choose to meal prep too is a personal decision, but at least have a meal PLAN!

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Bariatric meal planning can take several different forms.  The only “wrong way” to meal plan…

…is NOT to meal plan at all!

Define YOUR Personal Bariatric Meal Planning Strategy

What does meal planning mean to you?

Time for a little self-assessment: Do you want to plan for all meals? One Meal? One day at a time? One week at a time?

  • Plan ALL breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks?
  • Plan only dinners?
  • Plan only lunches?
  • Plan only breakfasts?
  • Plan only snacks?

Pro Tip: If you’re new to meal planning, pick the ONE meal you struggle with the most. Start small.

No need to do a full 180 degree turn in a week. It’s overwhelming to go from no meal planning at all to full out cooking every morsel you’ll eat for the entire week.

If you run out the door without breakfast and find yourself in the fast-food lane every morning, then start with breakfast. If you’re eating out every night because you’re too tired to cook at the end of the day, then start with dinner. If you’re grabbing processed packaged high carb snack foods throughout the day to curb hunger, then start with snacks.

Bariatric Meal Planning:
Decide How Much Variety You Need…Or Don’t Need

Time for more self-assessment. The next step is to decide what your “boredom factor” is:

  • Can you eat the same thing for breakfast day after day after day?
  • Or do you need 2 options to alternate between?
  • 3?
  • Do you need to eat something totally different every single day?

You need the answers to these questions before you can start meal planning.

Maybe you’re planning for breakfast AND lunch. Assess both. You may have different answers for each meal. For example, you may be perfectly fine eating the same breakfast every day, but you may get bored with the same daily lunch. So plan one breakfast to eat for the whole week and two lunches to alternate between.

Not sure how to start?

Try one of my simple meal planning strategies:

  • Bariatric Meal Planning: “This or That”
  • Bariatric Meal Planning: “1-2-3-4”

Bariatric Meal Planning: “This or That"


  • One meal only
  • Multiple meals

HOW: Choose 2 healthy menu ideas/recipes and alternate between them for one week. The following week, choose 2 different healthy menu ideas/recipes to alternate between. A little bit of variety over time is important. “Menu fatigue” can send your right back to old habits.

Keep planning 2 different healthy menu ideas/recipes per week or start to repeat ideas from previous weeks.

WHY: It’s simple. It’s doable. It builds your confidence. It helps you develop a healthy habit. Repetition is the key to success. Repetition is the key to success. Repetition is the key to success.

Have I mentioned repetition is the key to success?!

  • Plan 2 different breakfasts
  • Plan 2 different breakfasts AND 2 different lunches
  • Plan 2 breakfasts AND 2 lunches AND 2 dinners


  • Plan 2 breakfasts AND 2 lunches AND 2 dinners AND 2 snacks

Get the idea?!

Remember, it’s ok to start small. Start with the one meal you struggle with the most.

Bariatric Meal Planning: “This or That” Example

“This or That” Breakfasts: Week 1

  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt with berries; sprinkle with ground flaxseeds
  •  Ready made protein drink

“This or That” Breakfasts: Week 2

  • Hard boiled egg+ string cheese + apple
  • Green smoothie


Simple, right?!!   

Bariatric Meal Planning: 1-2-3-4


  • Whole Day Meal Planning

 HOW:  Plan 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 3 dinners, and 4 snacks for a week at a time.

Plan different 1-2-3-4 for the subsequent week. Meals can be somewhat different or completely different. Remember, variety will help you from returning to old habits!

Continue with new ideas weekly or start to repeat ideas from previous weeks.

WHY: As with the previous bariatric meal planning strategy, it’s simple. It’s doable. It builds your confidence. It helps you develop a healthy habit. Repetition is the key to success. Repetition is the key to success. Repetition is the key to success.

Bariatric Meal Planning: Bring the Plan to Life!

Once you decide on your meal planning approach, the fun part begins…

  • Select Your Meals
  • Write Down Your Plan
  • Grocery Shop
  • Save Your Work

Select Your Meals

Bariatric Meal Ideas:

Where to Find Actual Recipes:

Write Down Your Plan

Commit your plan to paper.

Studies show that goal setters achieve their goals. Planning what to eat is a goal! Committing your plan to paper is more powerful than just thinking it through in your head. It “ups” the level of intention and accountability.

Writing your meal plan down forces you to get clear on what you’re going to eat…

…and your grocery list practically makes itself as a result! Oh yeah…that’s an important point you don’t want to miss. In order to eat what you plan, you have to grocery shop!

Grocery Shop

You can’t eat what you don’t have! Make a list of all the groceries you need based on your meal plan.

Schedule a Day and Time

Schedule your meal planning and grocery shopping time on the calendar like they’re important appointments. Because they are.

If you’re planning to meal prep too, consider spreading out the planning, shopping, and cooking. Of course, it can all be done in one day, but that might be overwhelming.


  • Plan on one day (example: Friday)
  • Shop on another day (example: Saturday)
  • Meal prep (if desired) on a different day (example: Sunday)

Save Your Work

Once you have a written menu plan and a corresponding grocery list, file it away manually or electronically. Don’t throw all your hard work in the trash! You can pull it out and use it some week in the future when you’re pressed for time. Or you can simply cycle through your meal plans once you have enough of them.

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