Meal planning and a Diet Plan are NOT the Same

There is always an overwhelming request for meal plans or diet plans. It’s easy to assume that a meal plan is what we need to be successful. People want to be told exactly what to eat and when to eat, so there’s no room to fail. The problem with this is that following a diet plan is usually unrealistic and unsustainable long-term. Chances are, you’ve tried strict diet plans in the past and it didn’t work then, so why would it work now? We encourage you to let go of the diet mentality and consider the idea of living a healthy lifestyle, which includes having confidence in making your own nutritious food choices that nourish your body.

As opposed to a meal plan, planning ahead for meals is a dynamic process that sets yourself up for success. Rather than being told exactly what to eat, it’s best to learn how to plan ahead for your meals. Once you learn the basics of meal planning, you’re empowered to make informed decisions about what your body needs to function at its best.


Downsides of following a strict meal plan:

  • A strict meal plan doesn’t consider your food preferences, cooking skills, work schedule, food availability, your unique hunger level, your meal satisfaction, your culture, or your budget
  • The “all-or-nothing” mindset is triggered when the plan is not followed 100%
  • Inevitably, the stress, the busy schedules and the unrealistic food choices create obstacles to following the meal plan long-term. The motivation and willpower that was present at the beginning of the meal plan begins to dwindle. This can result in frustration, which can easily lead to food binges and “The Last Supper” mentality.


Benefits of planning ahead: 

  • Takes the guesswork out of meal time
  • Takes into consideration all the factors that affect your food choices
  • Ensures healthful foods are planned
  • Prevents choosing quick, processed convenient foods
  • Cost savings by eating out less
  • It’s a relatively simple process to make a plan in advance


Instead of overwhelming yourself with planning the entire months’ worth of meals at one time, start to think about what you will eat just 24 hours in advance. Take an inventory of what’s available in your fridge and pantry. Write down your decision on simple meal planning template. Remember, our brains make decisions differently when we are calmly planning ahead vs. making impulse judgments. When you make an eating plan ahead of time you’re deciding what to eat based on your best interest. Planning ahead for your meals is one of the most advantageous, yet simple habits you can implement as part of a healthy lifestyle.