When you’re trying to lose weight, to build muscle or to improve your general wellbeing, good nutrition and consistency is KEY. A healthy meal plan can help you to nourish your body and provide it with the essentials it needs to perform at its best. Making a healthy meal plan part of your lifestyle can help to set you up for success with your goals!
Making a Meal Plan You Can Stick To
A meal plan can teach you how to balance meals and how to fuel your body properly. We know that consistency is important when it comes to health, so here are some tips to stick with your plan!
Have realistic expectations
Following a nutritious meal plan can have many health benefits, but it’s only going to work if you want to do it. You are more likely to want to follow a meal plan that is realistic for you and your lifestyle.
We all have different needs, different goals and different bodies, which means there is no such thing as a single ‘perfect diet’. Once you make that shift in mindset, there is less pressure from yourself to be ‘perfect’ when following the plan.
Aim to eat healthily and follow your meal plan without feeling as though you have to give up your favorites. Look for balance. Enjoy those favorites in moderation if you wish, but try not to give in to every single craving. Soon you’ll have built up those mental muscles that make it easier to resist cravings when they arise.
When you have meals already planned, you save time and money in the grocery store.
Have a shopping list ready and grocery shopping can become less hassle too. You’re less tempted to fill your cart with convenience foods or unhealthy snacks, and you have everything you need to prepare meals at home with no waste!
Meals don’t have to be boring aka the standard chicken, rice and broccoli. One of the best ways to stay on track with your meal plan is to spend some time each week on meal planning and preparation. Start by prepping your protein in bulk and freezing any left overs to be ready to go for the next week…time saver! Then prep your carbs (vegetables, fruits, grains) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts) to have a balanced meal. You can save time by buying precut or frozen vegetables, minute rice, chopped fruits, cooked proteins, etc.
Pre-plan before going out
Social situations can make it hard to stick to a meal plan, but it doesn’t have to derail your hard work. Planning ahead can help you to navigate social situations comfortably. Heading to a restaurant? Research what’s on the menu and choose something that resembles your meal plan or if you plan to order something you love, lessen your snacks prior and allow yourself to enjoy that meal. Heading to a friend’s place for dinner? Offer to bring a healthy side dish. If you’re following your meal plan the majority of the time, it’s absolutely okay to indulge or to deviate from that plan every now and then. Again, it is balance!
Eat delicious food!
Any meal plan that makes you miserable is going to be hard to follow. Instead, find a meal plan that feels enjoyable, fulfilling and offers plenty of variety. Think of a healthy meal plan as a way to give your body the best fuel possible. That doesn’t mean you need to spend extra on premium ingredients — choosing fresh produce or ‘real foods’ and skipping the packaged, over-processed varieties, can make a huge difference to your health. Find healthy swaps or ways to make your favorite meals into healthier versions.
Following a healthy meal plan can take time and practice, so remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself some grace! Don’t be upset with yourself if you slip-up, it is a learning process. Persistence can really pay off in the long-term, so even if it takes a few tries, keep at it as it is sustainability that we are after.