The Benefits of Meal Planning

By Awal

OK, so I haven’t met too many people who would choose to be on a diet. The word “diet” in and of itself has a terrible stigma. It drudges up images of a few sprigs of asparagus on a plain white plate, saying no-no-no-no-no to cheesy yummy slices of pizza, being the kill-joy at the party who passes up the big piece of moist chocolate cake.

Truth: Yes, you do need to load up on veggies, cut back on the greasy food, and make some social sacrifices for your health. But it doesn’t have to be torture. And you do not have to – should not – starve yourself. Promise.

 

  1. Think about meals differently. With meal planning, you get to eat all day and still see your middle widdle. Plan out five to six meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner do not fit into everyone’s schedule. Maybe you work 10-14 hour days with few breaks. But what is a meal, really? A smoothie is a meal. A snack consisting of fruits and nuts is a meal. A cup of yogurt is a meal. There are so many options. Trust me.spicygarlicbroc
  2. Meal planning is great for ending the cycle of skipping meals and indulging in late-night snacking. When should you have these five to six meals? As a general rule, the first meal should be eaten within the first hour of waking up. Get your metabolism revved up to burn fat. A couple of hours later, time for another meal. Keep this going until about two-three hours before bed. Why? When you’re resting, so is your metabolism. If you eat, then go to sleep, your body stores the fat. No bueno. 
  3. You get your water intake. Drink lots of water. Is it a meal? Not really. Do you need it all day? Oh yeah. Dehydration is tricky. It can mask itself as hunger, causing you to reach for all kinds of naughty things to fill the void. Before you grab a second helping of food, drink a few sips of water. Then drink just a few more. Don’t think of a big gallon you have to down in one sitting. Just sip all day. No pressure.
  4. You know what you’re going to eat every day, making it easier to be good. Use the day before the start of your work week as meal prep day. For many people, that day is Sunday. But some people have very nontraditional work schedules. Some people work every day. In that case, pick your least busy work day. Meal prep your heart out. What is meal prepping? Prepare something pretty big that will stay fresh for three to six days, then separate it into easy-to-store containers. I’m a big fan of mason jars. They are easy to clean, look really cute, and are great for posting those “look at my healthy lunch” selfies. What should you make? Soups and stews are excellent warm foods, plus they add to your water intake for the day. Salads are great cold foods. Nuts and dried fruits are wonderful snacks to pack in your book bag or purse. Check out the pics! Nutsandberries
  5. When you start doing all this fancy meal prepping, you can tote your meals around all day. Yay! Confession: I keep a cooler in the trunk of my car. Mmm-hmm. And I keep a reusable ice pack in my freezer. If I’m going to be out of the house and on the road all day, I know I can tote around my homemade salads. Then I’m less likely to stop at a fast food restaurant and pick up something greasy. My cooler was a gift, but a good one would be worth the investment. Think of all the money you could save by not eating out every day. Cha-ching!veggies
  6. You can give yourself a cheat day, but don’t go nuts. Set ground rules for yourself so you don’t end up with a food hangover the next day. If you are not big into counting calories, keep it simple. Tell yourself that you can have an insane lunch, but be good for dinner. If you want to be bad all day, portion control is your friend. Have a couple of hot cakes at breakfast instead of a full stack. Have one piece of pizza for lunch instead of three. Have half of a serving of pasta at your fave Italian restaurant instead of the full load. Eat a cup of ice cream instead of a tub. Trust me. You’ll thank me when you feel pride in place of regret.
  7. It can be as fun and exciting as you make it. Get creative and think long-term. I could totally see you eating mixed greens and baked chicken every day for a whole week, losing a pound or two and feeling awesome about it. But will you do it for four weeks? Four months? Probably not. Research quick meals. Epicurious.com is a great resource for recipes galore. Think about what your fave meals are. Even if those meals are “bad”, there can be elements of those meals that will translate into a healthier dish. For example, I love spicy Mexican food. But I know refried beans and flour tortillas are not good for keeping my weight down. So I make a salsa salad with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. I still use canned corn and beans, but the meal is a healthier alternative. And I eat it with corn tortilla chips. Be careful with those tortilla chips. Try to get low sodium ones. I learned the hard way how much they can cause bloating. And who wants bloating?

beansaladFor more info about how much water you should drink, check out: How to Calculate How Much Water You Should Drink A Day … Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to “like” and comment! It makes our whole day!!!

*This post is not meant to replace any medical treatment or advice prescribed by your doctor. Please consult your physician before drastically changing your diet.

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The Benefits of Meal Planning

3 thoughts on “The Benefits of Meal Planning

  1. Reblogged this on The Adventures of Real World Girl and commented:
    Check out my new collaborative blog with Awal. We share tips about achieving your fitness goals and taking care of natural black hair. This awesome post by Awal is about thinking about meals differently and planning ahead. You don’t need three courses at every meal. One important thing I had to learn/relearn is that I’m often full before the end of the meal. Eat slowly to reach satisfied and re-energized instead of nap time.

    Like

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