When you are on a diet to lose weight, and this applies to all types of weight loss diet, you need to plan your meals in advance if you are going to be as successful as possible in your quest to drop those unwanted pounds and inches.
While you could just “wing it” and try and find or cook healthy food as and when it’s time to eat, on all too many occasions, you won’t be able to find diet-friendly food and you’ll end up eating something you shouldn’t.
Breaking your diet occasionally is okay but by failing to plan, the chances of breaking your diet increase dramatically.
Take it from me; I’ve tried not planning my meals and all too many times I’ve found myself with nothing healthy to eat and feeling hungry. And yep, that meant I ended up having something for dinner that really slowed my weight loss progress.
So, don’t make the same mistakes I did; instead, plan your meals in advance so that you will always have healthy food available.
There are several benefits of planning your meals in advance – and here are my top FIVE!
Note: Are you following 21 Day Fix ? Check how I plan my 21 day fix approved meals here.
1) No more willpower
When faced with the choice making something healthy to eat OR eating something unhealthy that you crave, many of us will go the unhealthy route if the unhealthy thing is easy. This is human nature!
However, if you pre-plan and pre-prepare healthy food so it’s easy and convenient to eat, you have one less reason to eat unhealthy junk food that will stop you losing weight. If you always have healthy food available, you no longer need to rely on your willpower.
2) It makes grocery shopping easier
If you plan your meals for the week in advance, you can write an accurate and concise grocery shopping list so that you only end up buying exactly what you need to make your healthy meals. This saves you money and also means you won’t buy any unneeded unhealthy ingredients. So, good for your pocket and your waist!
3) Better nutrition
By planning your meals in advance, you can make sure you are getting enough protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy carbs and fats. If you notice that one day you are a little low on protein, you can fix this easily the following day.
Only by planning will you have an awareness of what and how much you are eating. Without a plan, it would be very easy to eat the wrong things simply out of habit.
4) Time saving
Pre-planning your meals saves time. Many of us spend too much time wondering and worrying about what to eat for lunch, what snacks we are going to have, and what’s for dinner.
Sit down and plan your menu for the week so you don’t have to do it on a day-by-day basis. That way you can relax knowing exactly what you are going to eat today.
You can save even MORE time by pre-preparing your meals. Personally, once I’ve planned my meals, I then spend Sunday afternoon making healthy lunches and dinners and storing them for later in the week. This is so that, when I get home, I can just grab a healthy meal and have something good to eat in minutes.
I LOVE getting home and then not having to think about or making food to eat – it’s there and ready for me in the fridge. Eating healthily has never been so easy!
5) Better portion control
Losing weight often means eating a little less, what we call portion control. Portion control is easy – on paper! In reality, portion control can be quite hard, especially when you are hungry and you aren’t exactly sure how much you are eating.
Planning and making your meals in advance, when you aren’t tired and hungry, means you are much better able to control portion sizes which is important for preventing overeating. Remember, if it’s not on the plan, you can’t eat it!
Conversely, it’s important to plan what and when you are going to eat snacks. That way, you always have extra food that will help stave off hunger and keep you feeling full between meals. However, unplanned snacks are often unhealthy.
I always plan to have a filling, low-calorie protein bar for my midmorning snack which stops me eating junk food with my morning coffee and also makes sure I only need a small, healthy lunch. Planning works!
Failing to plan means planning to fail. If you don’t plan, your chances of success are much lower than for someone who takes the time to plan their meals. Planning means you are less likely to eat the foods you shouldn’t.
Planning needn’t take a lot of time – just use a calendar and decide upon seven breakfasts, seven lunches, seven dinners and seven to fourteen snacks. That’s it – done! With a few changes, you can use the same plan week after week.
Plan your meals in advance and you will get much better results from your diet – and that’s a promise!