One of the most common questions I get asked is can you provide me with a meal plan. In this article I’m going to explain the reasons why I don’t provide meal plans and what I provide instead.
There are many reasons I don’t provide meal plans. Let me explain why…
Meal plans are hard to stick with
There are many reasons why meal plans don’t work. Here are a number of scenarios where you might not stick to a meal plan
- You might be too busy to prepare the food in the plan
- You might be out of the foods you need
- You might not like the food in the plan
- You have to work late so you eat out and wreck your plan
- You don’t normally eat breakfast
- You are going to dinner at your inlaws
- Your family won’t eat the meals in your plan, so you have to cook twice
- Sticking with the plan can be seen as an all or nothing thing. If you go off the plan once, you can feel like a failure and give up on it.
Meal plans don’t really help you to develop good eating habits
Even if you are able to follow a meal plan perfectly when you stop you are likely to go back to the way you were eating before. You have likely been blindly following the plan and not really understanding how you can incorporate this type of eating into your everyday life.
It might be too big of a change
You might be thinking, that’s exactly what I need – a big change. But what happens if I give you a plan that has the recommended amount of fibre, but you’ve been eating white bread, meat and cheese and getting almost no fibre. You start this healthy fibre rich plan and find that your digestive system revolts on you because it’s not used to the higher amount of fibre.
If the meal plan introduces you to new foods, you may find that you are intolerant of something. It could just be your body adjusting to the new diet, but it could be an actual food intolerance or even an allergy. But if there are several new foods, how will you know which one to eliminate.
Even if the food agrees with you, the number of changes might not. You may have to add several new foods, learn new cooking techniques, start weighing your food, and stop eating all your comfort foods.
Meal plans usually promote waste
Often meal plans contain a lot of variety so they don’t get boring, but this can mean wasted food. Meal plans won’t tell you to use leftovers, or that you should have a salad for lunch to use up the extra lettuce. They don’t take into account that you bought the giant size bag of broccoli at Costco, the great deal you got on fish or the leftover oatmeal you have in the fridge because you made too much yesterday.
Your meals can take into account what it is in season, what is on sale and what really needs to get used up in your fridge. Meal plans usually don’t take these things into account.
Meal plans don’t teach you to listen to your body
When you eat from a meal plan, you eat exactly what the plan says and exactly how much the plan says. But what if you are full before you finish, or you find that after a few days you have no energy. You are probably not providing your body with what it needs. You are probably not paying attention to the whole process of eating.
In many cases it doesn’t fall within my scope of practice
I’m not a registered dietitian. If you have any medical condition, then a registered dietitian is likely the only person who is qualified to give you a meal plan. In many states, coaches who are not dietitians can’t provide meal plans at all because it is considered prescribing.
If someone says they can provide you with a full meal plan, ask them what their credentials are.
What can you do instead?
Meal planning does help with weight loss, but it is better if you make your own plan. That is why I created the Meal Planning Plus course. In this mini course you will learn how to choose the healthiest foods for you, understand how much of each type of food you should be eating and how to plan your meals. I provide lots of meal planning advice and resources.