Diet Plan and Meal plan though might seem same but they are NOT. These two words are the most commonly inter used words.
Whenever I ask my clients that I would design their meal plan they almost always say, “Ya, send my diet plan.” and I always end up saying “Meal-Plan not Diet-Plan.”
Well it may seem same, but there is a lot of difference in the designing, requirements and functioning of these two different plans!
But Why is it important to know the difference?
What we eat directly impacts our body and moods. I personally believe if you keep telling your body that you are on a diet, the neurotransmitters send message to the brain communicating that you are on a starvation mode. So it’s important to know the difference so your body knows what it’s really doing.
But first what is a Meal-Plan?
A meal-plan is a balanced plan based on your DRI (Dietary reference intake) to provide a well balanced intake of nutrients and foods within your DRI range. Each one of us are different and have different requirements. Meal-Planning does not necessarily aim at weight-loss but can help meet a variety of health or fitness goals.
There are other benefits of meal-planning too -
Time - If you are someone who just doesn't want to spend time thinking about what to cook for yourself or your family, meal-planning can go a long way in helping you save time. I usually make my meal plan over the weekend. This way I can add variety to the weeks food and easily grocery shop over the weekend so that I don’t have to run to the market in the middle of the week.
Health - So we face this trouble where we are super hungry and craving for a snack, so whatever first we lay our hands on we eat it. And at that point we mostly end up eating some junk and that too in large portions (and we all end up snacking on that packet of chips and regretting it later on :p). Planning your meals can help you snack on healthier options and leave you feeling lighter and happier rather than feeling guilty. Planning also keeps your mind at ease and and you consume the right portions as your mind and stomach knows that the next meal will follow soon.
Money - Trust me meal-planning can actually benefit your pocket. With just a little planning you already have all the groceries and snacks that your need and don’t end up ordering food from outside. Simple food planning can also help you reduce food wastage big time.
This almost covers the basics about Meal-Plan. Meal-Plan could help anyone irrespective of their age, gender to have balanced meals with a variety of nutrients.
What makes a Meal-Plan different from a Diet plan??
Thought diet-planning is again structured planning of your meals and will benefit you in all the ways above but it made with an objective. Those of us weight-watchers who are trying to lose weight or just trying to shed those extra pounds work with a Diet-Plan.
To understand it a bit more - A healthy woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories a day to maintain her weight. But if someone has a goal of losing 1 pound per week their calorie intake should be 1,500 calories a day. So a Diet-Plan will help you plan your diet but creating the required calorie deficit.
Stop eating mindlessly and start eating mindfully
So though they are not very different I believe it is very important that you don't starve yourself and just plan to meet your health goals. Pick or design the right plan to meet your requirement. Stay Healthy and happy :)