True North Wellness

08 AugWhy I don’t like Meal Plans – Part 2

Following on from the last blog post about my concerns around meal plans, the question is then if you don’t use a meal plan, how do you achieve your health or diet goals? Here’s a few different strategies that can be really successful.

1.      Knowledge – educate yourself on what foods are healthy and which aren’t. It’s often not black or white, but understanding the nutrition qualities of food can help guide your decision-making process.
2.      Mindful eating – getting back in tune with your hunger and satiety cues. Instead of letting a piece of paper tell you what to eat, learn to trust your body!
3.      Up skill yourself with meal prep and organisation. These skills are key to managing health and weight. They’re NOT the same as a meal plan; this is more planning ahead for the week and making sure you have your fridge packed with nutritious, easy options.
4.      Exercise your restraint and flexibility. Both are essential for maintaining balance with your eating. A meal plan doesn’t help you strengthen your willpower or restraint and it certainly doesn’t teach you when to employ flexibility.
5.      Focus on nutrition quality – I like to think about a food’s nutritional value rather than it’s calories. When you eat for health, and choose nutrient dense foods like fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy and wholegrains, often your energy intake naturally decreases without the need for restriction.
6.      Try focusing on 1 or 2 aspects of your current diet for change. It’s so much easier to change a few small things (I’m going to have sparkling water instead of soft drink and stop hitting up the office lolly jar in the afternoon) instead of your whole diet.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that whatever strategy you chose to employ (meal plan or not), it’s a strategy that works for you and your individual circumstances on an ongoing basis. If you’re not sure what strategy might work best for you, or think you need more accountability and support, have a chat to an Accredited Practising Dietitian for more advice.

Louise Cato – Accredited Practising Dietitian