Planning Healthy Meals To Ignite Your Fat Burning Furnace

Wondering how planning healthy meals can ignite your fat-burning furnace?

Many of you know that I tried out a vegan diet for a short while. It was a huge challenge trying to learn a new way to cook. But it got me thinking about those of you who are just starting out with clean eating. About those of you who are not used to cooking and eating clean, and I started to realize just how overwhelming a major diet overhaul can be.

How To Ignite Your Fat Burning Furnace By Planning Healthy Meals

You see when I first started to eat clean, it wasn’t that big of a switch for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was difficult. I was completely addicted to processed foods. I couldn’t picture life without Cheez-Its or a Snickers bar! But in a way, I had it much easier than some of you because I grew up with a grandmother who cooked everything from scratch. She was one of these cooks who never needed a measuring cup or a recipe to make something taste good. She just instinctively knew what to add to make something taste just right.

I’m happy to say that I am now that same kind of cook. I love to cook without measuring cups or spoons! It’s an adventure for me every time I step into the kitchen.

But for many of you, the thought of eating clean is just as overwhelming as the thought of me becoming vegan. It’s a whole new world of ingredients and cooking language that sadly, many people never learn these days. It’s little wonder that the processed food industry is so successful!


Today I’d like to share with you a few tips and tricks I’m learning for making a huge switch in the way you eat. And in the process, I hope to help you learn how to plan daily, healthy meals so that you can better achieve your fat-burning and/or fitness goals!

Eat Frequently


Ya, that one got me at first, too. I mean, who has time for all that eating?? Not to mention all the food!

But here’s the thing. It’s not as hard as you think. When I first heard about eating 5-6 meals a day, all I thought was, “How can I possibly cook that much?“. But you really don’t have to. You can do it one of two ways.

  1. Make your usual 3 meals per day, split them in half, and space them out every 2-3 hours.
  2. Make small, simple snacks that equal about 250-300 calories each. Sandwich bags or small containers will be your best friend here.

As for the timing itself, I find it very helpful to have a wristwatch with a timer on it. But if that just won’t do, the best way to get into the habit is to try and eat at about the same time every day. Really think about your routine. Where can you fit in a quick snack?

Although you obviously cannot eat all day non-stop, small, scheduled meals are indeed a great way to get that fat-burning furnace going!!

Menu Planning


It can be a little overwhelming to plan even small meals if you are not used to it. So think about single-item foods that you enjoy. Combine a carb and a protein, toss in some veggies, and you’re set! Here are some examples:

  • Hard-boiled

  • eggs

  • Nut butter

  • Nuts Soy products (organic)

  • Chicken breasts

  • Cheese (string cheese works)
  • Brown rice
  • Brown rice crackers
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Fruits
  • Quinoa (which also qualifies as protein)
  • Bread (clean)
  • Starchy veggies such as potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bok choy
  • Celery
  • Lettuce


It just makes sense. If you supply your body with lots of nutrient-dense foods, not only will your body get everything it needs to function properly, but you will feel full with less food. Combine this with frequent meals, and you’ve got a great recipe for health and weight loss!

You can find a list of 50 Super Foods here!

Menu Planner


I know this sounds silly, but it’s actually quite helpful if you implement it.

Make a list of some clean and easy (read “quick”) go-to recipes for those nights when you are not only out of time but inspiration as well. Just a small handful of recipes that you know everyone enjoys. Put it on the fridge and leave it there. Trust me. It’s handier than it sounds!

Need a good way to stay organized and on top of your menus? Try this handy little tip for a Clean Eating Menu Planner.

Plan Ahead


It’s like that old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So sit down on the weekend while you are making your shopping list and plan the actual meals as well. Figure out how much you need to make to have some leftovers in the freezer. If you “cook for an army” and freeze your food, your week will go much, much smoother.

Article is an original work and is © Tiffany McCauley. It may not be reproduced for any reason without written permission from the author.

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Hey there I just found this website and I absolutely love it. I haven’t started eating clean I’m doing this on my own so I’m trying to get as much information as I can get my hands before I biggest problem is I have to have planned what I want to eat or I will be way off for the week and I’m not sure what my daily requirements should be. That way I can plan from there. Also what food provides that.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stephanie – I would talk to a dietitian to find out what you personally need. I would have no way of knowing that. Most of my recipes have nutrition data, so once you know where you are starting you can plan accordingly.

  2. I’ve been trying to east clean for about two years now , my daughter and I are good with all the fabulous foods but my son and husband are really picky. Meaning, my son won’t eat most veggies or meats and my husband pretty much won’t eat anything clean. How do I plan meals and encourage clean eating in my house when only my daughter and I seem to be eating. Making separate meals is out of the question as we are limited in or finances. Any ideas?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bridgett – Well, it depends on how hard of a line you want to draw in the proverbial sand. When that happened at my house with my husband, I told him he could eat what I cooked or fend for himself. He ate what I cooked. 🙂 But if you don’t feel you can do that, you have to sit down as a family and reach some sort of compromise. Get your son involved in the kitchen. That’s a big one. He needs to interact with food to expand his palate. Maybe have one night a week where the boys have to prepare a clean meal, and one night a week where the girls prepare a not-clean meal. Make a game out of it. There are many approaches, you just have to find what works for you as a family. I know that’s not very specific or helpful. Have you tried making clean versions of some of their not-clean favorites? Remember that it takes time for a person’s palate to change. If packaged foods are king in your house, your (or your husband’s palate) has changed to accommodate that. It won’t change back overnight, and you can’t force it on them or they will resist even more. So you have to either draw a hard line or find a way to compromise.

  3. Like Heather, I would like to buy your organizer and recipe cards.
    How may I do that??
    BTW Love you site..!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Laurie – I haven’t sold those in a long time. But if you go to a craft store and search for a recipe box, you’ll find all kinds of them.

  4. Can I apply this to the two “snacks” in between meals? My biggest issue is portion control, so can you give me an idea of just how big the snacks should be? At the moment I’m drinking green smoothies for breakfast, leftover clean eating recipes from your site for lunch, and one for dinner. I have to eat two snacks in between each meal because I’m breastfeeding so I can’t wait too long til the next meal. I am at a loss with these snacks.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Samantha – It depends on your approach to clean eating. If you are eating smaller meals, 5-7 times per day, then it could be just like any other meal. But if you are eating three larger meals with two smaller snacks, then that would depend on your caloric needs. Have you discussed this with a dietitian or breastfeeding consultant?

  5. I’m not really sure on how to get into contact with a dietitian. Do you know anything that would help me with that? I understand you’re not certified, I’m more looking for what knowledge you can gather in terms of what I should aim for. I know you’re a mother as well, so I wasn’t sure if you’d have some information on it or not. Looking for advice 🙂 Any tips you have would help knowing you’re currently working towards becoming a dietitian.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Samantha – If your health insurance can’t direct you towards a dietitian, then I would just google the ones in your area. Actually, when we moved, I had to give up school. So I’m far from being a dietitian unfortunately. Have you tried tracking your food intake with something like MyFitnessPal? I find that helps me a lot when I have to keep track of how much I’m eating.


    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Khadijah – How many meals are you trying to eat per day?