Meal planning is another good way to help you lose weight. You can combine it with calorie counting and plan for special events like holidays or birthdays. If you do it well, you will be able to combine meal planning with keeping a food diary. I recommend that you start with a food diary to learn how you eat as well as what you eat. Then start planning your meals in advance. That will make it easier for you to lose weight. Planning your calorie intake is the way to take control of it.
First of all, what is a meal plan? That is how do I perceive it? I see it as a guide, rather like an outline. A meal plan is to a diet what an outline is to a piece of writing. It’s a framework to hold it together. A meal plan is just that, a plan. It’s not a recipe. It’s a plan. I will have a cheese sandwich for lunch on Monday. I will have a ham sandwich for lunch on Tuesday, and so on. You would do that for each meal of the day. On Monday, I will eat oatmeal for breakfast, a cheese sandwich for lunch, and roast chicken with mashed potatoes for dinner. Then you do the same for Tuesday, Wednesday and so on through the week. You may perceive it differently.
Some people do one in their heads and choose food at the store for the week, but don’t plan it day-by-day. They just say I’ll have that on one day and that on another day and so on. That’s meal planning in the broadest sense but it’s a vague plan. It’s also very flexible. Vague, but flexible is OK, but sometimes you need more details. I’m not talking dinner parties or Thanksgiving; I’m talking about daily meals.
Daily meals take a bit of planning. When you are dieting, it can help if you don’t spend time looking at food. Standing, staring into your refrigerator can lead to temptation and failure. If you plan what you are going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you will spend less time staring at food. You can choose food that you know will be filling and keep you from raiding the fridge later on. Knowing what you are going to eat is helpful. It can help you save some calories for food you love but you know is high in calories, like cheese popcorn, or birthday cake. You can plan to include these items in your meal plan. Of course, planning your meals doesn’t automatically curb your portion size or the number of portions that you eat. That’s still up to you. That’s what will control your diet.
Meal planning is a tool that can help you with your grocery shopping and your diet. How much planning you do is up to you. Some people plan each meal each day. Others are a bit more flexible. They choose food that they know they will eat sometime soon. However you do it, meal plans are a good idea. They can help you with your diet. They can help you stick to your diet, which is by far the best reason to do meal planning. You can plan by the week, the day, or the meal. The details are up to you. Plan the meal. Eat the meal. It’s all good in the end.