I have been planning my meals using this spreadsheet. I originally got it from the Microsoft Templates Library, but it was a simple sheet meant to be printed out and written on instead of used to the full capabilities of a spreadsheet. I altered it substantially. If you would like to try it, you can download it here:
This uses Microsoft Excel, so you need to have that software to play with it. If you want more details on how to use this, click here:
When you load up the spreadsheet, enter the date in the cell labeled “ENTER DATE.”
It will automatically adjust the dates for the week. I start my week on Saturday, so that’s how the spreadsheet is set up, but you can type in different days of the week so it works for you if you start your week on a different day.
After you’ve entered the date, you’re ready to plan your week. Type in the foods and their calories in the spreadsheet. It will automatically calculate your Daily Total for you.
You can use this spreadsheet to track anything: calories, carbohydrates, fat, or even WW Points. Whatever you type into the little boxes is your business. This spreadsheet won’t calculate WW Points for you, but it will keep track of the Points you’ve eaten over the day.
Once you’ve entered in all your food, you can enter your exercise plans on the right side of the spreadsheet. Enter your calories burned (or Activity Points earned) in the box on the right and type in your plans below it. The spreadsheet will subtract your exercise calories from your Daily Total, giving you an estimate of your energy in vs. energy out.
The Healthy Habits column is a reminder for you to follow healthy nutritional and emotional guidelines each day. Weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out, but being healthy is about adopting these healthy guidelines. Here is quick description for each one:
- A= Write your daily affirmations: This is my own recommendation. Whether it’s writing down your goals and positive affirmations, meditating or taking the time to write a couple of pages in your journal, this journey will be a lot easier with some introspection. I don’t care how you do it as long as you give yourself half a hour every day to observe your thoughts and make them positive.
- V=Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day: The USDA Food Pyramid recommends 5-9 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. A serving is 1/2 cup or 1 cup of leafy vegetables.
- M=Eat 2-3 servings of dairy a day: The USDA Food Pyramid recommends 2-3 servings of dairy a day. A serving is 1 cup of milk, yogurt or cottage cheese. 1 ounce of cheese.
- O=Eat 2 tsp. of healthy oil a day: This is the hardest one for me. I don’t want to waste my calories on healthy oil, but they recommend two teaspoons of healthy oil a day. Find creative ways to mix the oil with your food. I don’t recommend just taking it like a spoonful of medicine.
- W=Drink 6-10 glasses of water a day: The recommendations on water are varied depending on who you ask. What counts as water also varies (some programs allow milk, juice and decaffinated drinks to count as water). I personally drink 6-8 glasses (8 oz.) of tap water every day, so I wanted a place to check them off.
The way I use this spreadsheet is I plan my food and exercise for the week. I print up the spreadsheet and put it on my refrigerator. When I eat a food that’s on the plan, I fill in the circle. If I eat something different, I write it down instead, adjusting the Points by hand. When I complete a healthy habit, I fill in the corresponding circle.
That’s how I use this spreadsheet, but the beauty of it is you can use it however you want. You can change it or mix it up. You can use it for calories, carbs, fat or WW Points. You can use it strictly on the computer. You can just print up a blank one and use it by hand. It’s all up to you.
Go out and use this spreadsheet and leave me comments on how you use it and the sorts of things that would make it easier or better for you.