What if you could take control of your food life? It is possible, and it starts with meal planning.
If you want to remove guesswork out of your food choices, get the right amount of nutrients that will help you achieve your dietary goals, and reduce the risk of inflammation and digestive problems, be in the driver’s seat regarding your meals. For that, you must become a meal planner.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, cut down food expenses, or improve the quality of your nutrition, planning your meals is the best way to meet your targets.
What Is Meal Planning?
Meal planning is taking deliberate action to control what you eat. It may be a daily plan, a weekly plan, or monthly meal plan that allows you to choose what you eat, how much you eat and when. If you are trying to lose weight, a meal plan is an essential part of your weight loss program.
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Many people think meal plans restrict them to bland diets, but this is not true. As long as you don’t have an underlying health condition that requires a strict diet, you can be liberal with your meal plan. The goal is to get as much nutrients as possible from your diet at the lowest cost.
Benefits of Meal Planning
Meal planning offers several benefits for people looking to lose weight and those who want to reinvigorate their diet. The following are benefits of meal planning.
Meal planning allows you to rejig your diet. Since you are consciously deciding on the foods you eat, you will notice a marked improvement in the quality of your diet. Not only will you increase the quality of your diet, but you can easily add specific nutrients to boost your weight loss and muscle building results.
Achieve Fitness Goals
Are you trying to lose weight? Then you need to plan your meals. You need to cut your calorie intake if weight loss is important to you, but people who want to bulk up require more protein for muscle growth and complex carbs to power them through workouts.
It’s easier to stick to a healthy diet that moves you closer to your fitness goals if you don’t have to come up with a meal idea every time. With a meal plan, no more guesswork and eating that bagel becomes less attractive.
It’s more cost effective to cook your food than eating out every day. Meal planning allows you to shop for groceries in bulk, which is cheaper. By preparing your meals in advance, you have enough food to last a week, eliminating the need to eat in restaurants. The best part is your food is not only more affordable, but of higher quality.
Meal planning and meal prep removes drudgery from the cooking process. Now you don’t have to waste time figuring out what to eat for lunch or dinner. Thankfully, there are several quick and tasty recipes you can weave into your meal plans.
It is possible to reduce food waste with meal planning. Since you track what you need to buy and cook most of your food in advance, it is easier to use leftovers rather than throw them into the bin.
What Constitutes a Good Meal Plan to Lose Weight?
If you are trying to lose weight, your meal plan will emphasize filling foods. Fruits and vegetables will form a large part of your diet as they allow you to bulk up without over consuming excess calories. You also need to include fat and protein into your diet. A small amount of fat is more filling compared to a comparable portion of carbs.
Protein controls the levels of the hormones that regulate appetite and hunger. Eating protein-rich food increases the levels of leptin, the satiety hormone and inhibits the secretion of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
To lose weight, you need to make your calorie intake less than your calorie expenditure. For this, your meal plan should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and small amounts of fat and carbohydrates.
How to Track Your Meals
Investing in a quality food diary/journal is an excellent way to track your food choices. While this may be an old-school way of doing things, keeping a food journal increases accountability and allows you to see your eating pattern. This way, you can adjust your diet to conform to your health and fitness goals.
If a journal is not your thing, there are several apps that do an excellent job at tracking your meals. Apps like Lose It! and MyFitnessPal offer thousands of meal plans, a thriving community and many features that simplify the process and make it easier to eat healthy.
Whether you want to lose weight or improve your family’s health through a fortified diet, a meal plan is a wise decision. Whatever you do, choose a plan that aligns with your overall health and fitness goals and stay consistent.