If you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of poor health and want to start living better life, congratulations, half the battle is over. What comes next is a period of goal setting where you will need to start figuring out how you’re going to get to your goal weight as well as the tools that will ensure you get there successfully.
One of the most important tools that you can have in your arsenal is a solid meal plan that will help you get from blubber to muscle in the fastest and healthiest way possible. It’s pretty much already an established fact that if you want to lose weight, the best meal plan to have is one that gives you a calorie deficit.
This isn’t as simple as just cutting out a bunch food from your regular diet though. You need to be smart with the food that you keep in your diet so that your meal plan can be as enjoyable as possible and help you build healthy food habits that will set you up for long term success.
What Makes a Good Meal Plan?
While there’s no concrete set of rules that constitutes the perfect meal plan, there’s certainly some criteria that you ought to keep in mind. For example, a good meal plan ensures that you get a well-rounded balance of both micro and macro nutrients. You shouldn’t be demonizing or hating on a particular food group (hello, carbs).
A good meal plan is easy to follow. You really don’t want to have to be worrying about how many grams of carbs you can eat in a particular day or wondering if Wednesday is carbo loading day.
Essentially, a healthy meal plan should have a great balance of carbs, fat and protein to ensure that your body is getting all of the nutrients and whole food goodness that it needs to burn fat efficiently while keeping you energized throughout the day.
What Should You Have in a Good Meal Plan?
At the end of a day, a meal plan that will work the best for you is one that includes and focuses on food that you actually like to eat and a schedule that fits your lifestyle. For example, if you’re the kind of person that really likes to snack a lot throughout the day, then a meal plan that includes 5 or more small meals a day is probably ideal.
If you know that you don’t have time to eat breakfast every day, then look into crafting a meal plan that has less meals throughout the day. Finding little ways to make your meal plan as adaptable to your current situation as possible is a really great way to keep your eye on the prize.
It can be as simple as going for a high protein meal plan if you can’t get enough of meat or choosing a vegan meal plan if you prefer a plant based diet. You’re also more likely to follow through with your meal plan when you don’t have to force yourself to eat things that you don’t like.
Steps for Success
The first thing you should do when setting up your meal plan is determining how many calories you should be consuming in a day. Obviously, those who work out more or have less weight to lose will be able to eat more calories in a day, while those who have a great deal of weight to lose won’t be able to consume as much.
You can figure out how many calories you should be eating in a day through various online tools or with the help of a certified nutritionist. The next step is to determine how many meals you’re going to have in a day. Some people stick to three meals a day, others trim it down to two while some people can eat as many as eight meals a day. Again, it all depends on what will work best for you and your lifestyle.
It’s really important that you figure out what is best for your routine and not just copy someone else’s meal plan entirely. After you get these first two steps out of the way, the next thing you need to do is really sit down and plan your meals out ahead of time. You can do this on a daily basis or a weekly basis, but what matters is that you get it done. Last, but certainly not the least, stick to it. A meal plan is worthless if the only thing you do with it is deviate from it.
Set Up a Bank of Your Healthy Meal Go-To’s
Sometimes, setting up a successful meal plan can be as simple as gathering the healthy food recipes you like and rotating them through your week. Whether you do this via meal prepping or on the fly, is up to you, but it’s nice to have some semblance of scheduling by identifying the ingredients you’ll need for the week ahead of time.
Once you figure out how many calories you should be consuming daily to maintain a calorie deficit in your diet, you can start picking and choosing your recipes for the week and prepping your meals for the week ahead of time.
You can rotate your favorite recipes out monthly to get a good variety of flavors in your diet. You can even try studying the meal plans of other people and take the things that you think can work for you and leave what won’t work out.
Stay Away from Supplements of Any Kind
Your diet plan should be well-rounded enough that you won’t need to rely on any kind of supplement. Not only are supplements expensive, they’re also quite unnecessary as you can get all the nutrients you need from whole food ingredients. In the same way, if you’re planning on starting up a meal plan that will require you to down supplements like water, it’s probably not going to be an effective one. The same goes for weight loss and fat burning supplements.