Do I really need a meal plan?
“I just can’t follow a meal plan”, “ I get bad sugar cravings”, “I really like to eat outside food”.
I usually hear a lot of these statements when I try asking people about their food habits. When someone tells me this my answer is simple - “ You are already on a meal plan”.
So why do we need a Meal Plan?
We have been eating since we were born and so it is a natural tendency to think that we already know about food and planning is unnecessary.The difference is that the meal plan that we are already following each one of us, is just not structured as we don’t bother to add variety or understand the nutrient values of foods that we eat. Many of us are too busy with our works or lives that instead of spending some time preparing for our meal we would rather flip through the pages of menus of the endless take away joints that are there.
So what do structured meal plans really do?
Think of walking into a gym and randomly doing a few sets here, a few sets there… like a wandering stray dog. We’ve all been there. Do we REALLY expect to make huge progress without knowing what we’re doing?
No, of course not! It’s why we love having a plan to follow: it eliminates 99% of the decisions that can derail us on our progress: “Should I do 3 sets of 10 or 5 sets of 5?!”
Structured meal plans is simply a meal transformation plan.
You just need to think about what you’re already eating, and how you could make it a little bit better. All you have to do is think how you can “make this meal just a little bit better”.
Making small changes and improvements to what you already normally eat and enjoy, one small step at a time. That one small change may add years to your life.
How will this help me?
That is a really big question and an important one.
If you start planning your meals few days in advance it can not only save you time throughout the week but avoid all those bad decisions that you make during the week, like snacking on an unhealthy bag of chips. Well the chips could have been easily replaced by a handful nuts and seeds. But that would have been possible if you would have planned your weeks meal and added the nuts to your grocery list.
Contrary to what many of us think that meal plan is required only by those trying to lose weight, meal plans can actually help anyone who is trying to add a little structure to their life, get better nutrition for lifestyle change or anyone wanting to control chronic diseases such as diabetes or thyroid through right nutritional food.
When it comes to our diet, we can use a little bit of help, so that we can eat healthier food, avoid spending money on the wrong types of food, vary our diet and avoid stressful situations. Meal planning provides this help and is the perfect way to achieve our goals.
Prevent Hunger Pangs -
We all are aware that larger meals lower our BMI, besides that larger meals have behavioural implications as well. Meal planning can help avoid those hunger pangs which make many of go crazy in the evening and we end up having an unhealthy snack or anything that comes first in front of us (no pun intended ;) )
Metabolism Boost -
Having smaller meals at short intervals boosts our metabolism. How?? When the body senses starvation the BMR (Basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories required to keep the body functioning at rest) slows down making it difficult to lose weight, unlike the popular belief where we think if we eat less we will lose weight faster.
Keeps You Energized -
Like every plant that needs sunlight to grow, food is the fuel that keeps us going. We need the right balance of nutrients based on our age, gender, genetic makeup, physical activity during the day and other factors. If we get just the right proportion of nutrients we will definitely feel much more energized to not just get through the day but make the best of it.
Promotes Happiness -
Ever felt confused when you are starving or trying to cut calories to lose that weight? I for sure had a real bad day whenever I tried to skip on a meal or two. And then I wondered why suddenly I had turned into the hulk version of myself. I just couldn’t focus. It took me a while to understand that it was not just me who felt this way but it was the way the body responded when it didn’t get food. A new study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition suggests that those who consume regular meals have better overall diets. The study also showed regular meals contributed to a lower consumption of sugary drinks and fast foods, plus an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. So planning your meals can help you get a balanced body and mind which is essential for the overall well-being of a person.
As humans, we’re creatures of habit. You may not even be aware of the routines you’ve developed. But each decision you make contributes to your routine and impacts your health. By making regular meals a priority, you help your body establish a healthier lifestyle. If you’re unfamiliar with eating regular meals, establishing this routine can be difficult initially. The good news is, the longer you stick with it, the easier and more normal it becomes.
Still thinking if you need a meal plan. Trust me on this way. Coming from someone who was an unplanned eater her entire life, not only I kept on adding those unwanted calories but have no clue about what I was eating all the time. So save yourself time and enjoy good food with just a little planning. Eat healthy Be Healthy!