Have you received advice to ditch meal planning and "just eat healthy"?
While changes may occur from just eating healthy, there are several pitfalls to navigate when going this route. For those suffering with certain conditions like diabetes, thyroid disease or fatty liver disease, some healthy foods may actually contribute to inflammation and worsen symptoms. White potatoes, bananas, and rice are considered healthy, but regular consumption of these foods would not benefit a diabetic. It is also easy to neglect the role of portion sizes and how they matter for weight loss, weight/muscle gain, and for fueling a particular lifestyle. Eating with no plan may also lead to nutritional deficiencies if certain foods are avoided or forgotten about altogether.
There are several benefits to sticking to a meal plan - let's highlight our top 5!
1. Little to No Food Waste: With a grocery list based on recipes in your meal plan, every food item purchased has a purpose. This significantly reduces wasted food at the end of the week (no more guilt from tossing wilted veggies!) In turn, this saves you from wasting your hard-earned money.
2. Saves Time: Batch cooking and food prep is super easy with a meal plan. Regardless if you are up at dawn for work or home after dark, having a meal prepped and ready to go saves you lots of time. You also won't have to go through the "what should I make" song and dance each evening !
3. Broad Spectrum of Nutrients: Let's face it - food is not the same as it was last century. Because of the nutrient loss through industrialization, we have to eat a variety of foods to meet our bodies' optimal nutritional demands. Having a nutritionist create a meal plan for you will ensure you're getting a broad spectrum of nutrients, regardless if you're looking to gain, lose, or maintain weight.
4. Builds Healthy Habits: Eating often gets overlooked when we are busy, tired, or stressed. The common conditioning of North Americans is to eat as little as possible while working, and indulge late into the evening when our bodies are winding down. Meal plans help you stick to food consistency to keep blood sugar/energy stable when we need it most.
5. Prevents Poor Food Decisions: Picture it - it's 7pm, you just got home from working an overtime shift, and you're starving. Brain fog means you can't think of what to cook, so you start looking through the cupboards for a quick boxed meal...or maybe takeout will do? While this happens to everyone at some point, having easy meals already cooked in the fridge can save a lot of time and money. Instead of a dinner made from your son's doughnuts and some pretzels, you'll have a nutritious meal heated up in minutes.
Is a meal plan right for you? If you are working towards a health goal (i.e. weight loss, muscle gain), have a pre-existing condition that affects blood sugar, thyroid, liver, or digestion, if your work schedule interferes with eating regularly, or if you are far too busy/uninspired to create nutritious meals...meal planning is for you!
Overwhelmed with the idea of meal planning? We offer nutrition coaching and meal plans tailored to YOU! Book a free consultation at your local Simply For Life!