Do Meal Plans Really Work?

Continuing with our focus on nutrition, this week we are going to talk about meal plans.  What are they? When are they needed? The benefits, and the drawbacks.  Sometimes planning is the biggest factor to success.  Not nutrition, planning.  We are all “busy” there are only twenty-four in the day.  Nutrition is the easiest thing to cut loose. There are fast food restaurants with “healthy” options that make it easy to just pick up and go.  Well the fact of the matter is that we all aren’t that busy.  We just suck at planning! Again, This makes sense.  Why learn how to plan when everything is easy for you and it’s right there to grab with the reach of a wallet or the swipe of a card.  Personally, I do follow a meal plan and what I am going to give you today is the method we use in this house to plan our meals and to leverage the things that are easy for us to grab so that we stay healthy without having to 1. Break the bank and 2. Stress about what and how much we need to eat.  Now if you already have a plan that works for you then good on ya! Keep it up! We are of the opinion that it doesn’t matter to us what you use as long as it’s working for you.  Also, we want you to actually have a plan if you actually have a goal.  “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.” Benjamin Franklin.

So how do we use meal plans?  Well first of all, what is it that you like to eat?  We are fairly clean eaters and sometimes we love a pizza or tacos.  Mostly, we eat what I  would consider fairly well.  We don’t mess with sugar, except the occasional dessert.  Then we look at what our meal plan is.  We take out the items we do not like, we do not replace them with unhealthy options.  We consider what is something that we like and has similar nutrient profile.  We replace it on our shopping list and then we shop.  Now, shopping is a whole other thing that my wife handles, because she is smarter than me at getting that done.  Reply to this post if you want to read about how she get’s our shopping done!  Trying to talk her into it now.  From my perspective, we pick out the food for the week ( we shop weekly, it works for us and our budget).  Then we bring it home and prep everything to make the meals.  We don’t make everything but I did watch a recent video on nutrition and meal planning that helped me with meal prep greatly.  Oh, and I bought a crock pot!  From there to make things sort of mindless for us and on autopilot we get the snacks off the prescribed meal plan along with some usual snacks I like for work (2 hard boiled eggs/1 oz almonds). The Macros are changed for each of us and I time my nutrients depending on my activity level.  So the majority of my carbs are just before or after the gym or when I am most active during the day.  Other than that I keep them fairly light.  I have found that I don’t need as many as I think I need.

Other than that, we get snacks for our kid, mostly healthy snacks but we still want him to be a kid, so he gets some of the awesome stuff just to keep him smiling.  If you decide to follow a meal plan make sure you get with your primary care physician if it’s been a while just like anytime you are going to have a significant change in lifestyle.  It’s good to get the oil checked ya know.  Then get with someone who knows what they are talking about.  I am by no means a dietitian or nutritionist.  We do work with registered dietitians who help us create a meal plan for our clients if necessary.   I do have some experience because I am in charge of my health.  I own this part of my life and when things are far out of reach, I seek the people who have a deeper understanding that I do.  You are encouraged to do the same and no matter what.  Do your due diligence, when starting any plan.  Understand what you are getting into and make sure it is something you are committed to.

Remember, meal plans for some are very specific and should be followed depending on it’s purposes. For others it can be a way to help them become organized in their nutrition and start to understand what eating “clean” looks like and how much they should be eating.

As always thanks for reading and we’ll see you next week!

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