What Are The Benefits Of Meal Planning?

A big issue that you may face, especially after COVID-19 and the UK lockdown, is that you are eating less healthy, or you’re bored of eating the same meals for the last 18 months and you don’t know how to change them. Did you know a lack of variety can do the same damage as eating too much sugar or bad fats? Unhealthy food choices have been linked with chronic diseases such as strokes, coronary heart disease, cancers and type 2 diabetes (1).

Do you Struggle To Find Enough Time To Plan Your Meals?

Many busy workers and parents don’t have the time to create well-balanced, varied, and healthy meal plans (especially when there is always a Deliveroo or UberEats around the corner). Meal planning can be a valuable technique for overcoming time constraints and encouraging a better diet. From writing a shopping list ahead of time to batch cooking, meal planning is a very useful method. Meal planning helps people who have a busy schedule save time and have nutritional meals. This can take away the pressure and stress of thinking of meals on the spot, eating a takeaway or food that doesn’t help you achieve your health and fitness goals. By using a planner to organise your food list you will manage your time better while out shopping. If you’re cooking for the rest of your family you can always ask for their preferences or, if you cook for yourself, you can always ask your friends, how about you each take a turn cooking for one another? This way you and your friends can catch up and share something you love.

Smart Tips For Meal Planning For Beginners:

We asked our Nutrition Coach Jade to share her top tips she gives clients on how to maximise meal prep:

  1. When planning the week in advance, think about your social commitments and write them in on your planner first. Are you eating out or planning a takeaway?

  2. Plan your proteins next - get a variety of protein sources across the week

  3. Pick a new recipe or food to cook with each week to prevent boredom and add variety to your diet!

You can write out a plan for the week ahead by creating a planner on Excel, write it down on a piece of paper or on your phone. Even better, we designed a fancy one with our team at Performance For All that has all of our Nutritionist top tips for meal planning for you to help you through the next year. There is even space for a shopping list! I am super proud of it - meal planner

Why Is Meal Planning Important?

Portion sizes are the key: A study conducted in 2009 by the Sorbonne University has found that meal planning and food portions can lead to healthier habits including; eating more fruit and vegetables, avoiding processed food, like pizza or sausage rolls (5). Using containers for meal portioning is a great way to prevent overeating, this can be very beneficial to those wanting to achieve weight maintenance or weight loss. You can always prepare a substantial supper with at least 4–6 portions to benefit from this strategy (2,3). You can try this method by preparing suitable portions of food into containers and keeping it in the fridge or freezer, following reheating food guidelines and serving it when ready.