In a nutshell, meal planning answers the question “What’s for dinner?” for an entire week. Most fans of the weekly meal plan shop for ingredients and cook them all in a single day, making enough healthy lunches and dinners to last until the next weekend. Meal planning encourages eating full, nutritious meals at home instead of going out or settling for quick foods that aren’t as good for you. It’s a habit that can help you save time and money and make healthy choices consistently.
The Benefits of Meal Planning for Weight Loss
When it comes to making progress toward your weight loss goals, the importance of planning and preparing your meals ahead of time can’t be overstated. Here are some of the reasons why you should start meal planning:
- Make healthier food choices: Hunger causes your blood sugar to drop, prompting you to eat whatever you can in the least amount of time. This explains why some people frequent fast food joints or keep their freezer stocked with microwaved dinners, neither of which are good for you. Meal planning makes sure you have nutrient-dense food ready to eat every day.
- Control everything you eat: Most restaurant fare isn’t as healthy as food you can make for yourself at home, and it’s hard to tell exactly what goes into each dish. Restaurants usually load up their food with calories and sodium, and the extra amounts really add up if you go out too often. Meal prepping allows you to weigh and measure your portions so you always have a good idea of what you’re eating and can track calories and other nutrients.
- Prevent morning hunger: Prepping breakfast in advance means you can start every morning with a healthy, filling meal—a much better alternative to grabbing a sugar-laden muffin on your way to work.
- Cut back on buying lunch: Everyone needs to eat during a long workday, but going to nearby restaurants too often will take a toll on your body and your budget. Meal planning makes taking a healthy lunch to school or work much more convenient. You can store your premade meals in individual containers that are easy to take to the office.
- Take the stress out of cooking: Unhealthy eating habits are more about convenience than taste. Meal planning is a healthier way to avoid cooking after a long day—just grab one of your nutritious premade meals from the fridge, heat it up, and relax.
Getting into the habit of meal planning makes life simpler, and it can save you from a lot of physical and financial setbacks. Consult with one of our doctors for suggestions how to combine effective meal planning with Diet Doc’s individualized diet plans.