The 5 benefits of following a meal plan
Following a meal plan can be super beneficial for beginners. It helps you learn how much you can eat to achieve your goals, and what to eat to hit those targets. Make sure that the meal plan you follow is a personal and custom made meal plan. Cookie-cutter plans are not going to do the work that you are looking for.
Meal plans can help you achieve any goal you have. If that is to lose weight, gain muscle mass or to get healthier.
Later in this post, I explain why following a meal plan isn’t a solution for the rest of your life, but a great starting point for those who are new to nutrition or want to have a good example.
Here are 6 reasons why a meal plan might be the solution for you!
1 Learn about nutrition
A great way to learn about nutrition is to see a meal plan that is personally made for you. Especially when you get this from a coach that is willing to teach you why they made certain choices in your meal plan.
The first thing you’ll learn is how much you should eat to achieve your goal. If it is correct you will not only see a list of foods that you should eat but also how many calories you eat in total and the total of macros you are consuming when sticking to the plan.
I always tell my clients that the meal plan is an example, meaning that you don’t have to follow it 100% if you want, you can get a bit creative and start swapping foods with (almost) the same macros.
This will get you actively working with your nutrition and macros, this way you’ll start following an IIFYM diet while slowly getting used to it. The IIFYM diet is one of the most sustainable diets/lifestyles, so definitely worth checking out.
2 Prepare your meals in advance
If you know what you are going to eat in advance it is super simple to prepare it. Often as a coach, I hear people say that they just don’t have enough time to cook and prepare a healthy meal.
To avoid this you can make your meals before and store them in your fridge or freezer, this way you’ll always a healthy and quick meal to eat. So no more excuses to be made!
3 Don’t fall for common mistakes
Having a good example is key to starting out. It will ensure that you don’t make the beginner mistakes most people fall for. These mistakes are not only costing you a lot of time that you could spend on following a solid plan. It also costs a lot of money, often combined with buying unnecessary supplements and products.
One of these common mistakes is following a fad diet, these are diets that, for example, exclude certain macros (keto diet or low-fat diet). And claim that this is the way to lose weight.
This is not the case and in the long run not sustainable. Your focus should be on creating a calorie deficit that you can stick with.
4 Takes out the guessing
One of the biggest benefits for you is that it will take out the guesswork. The plan should be set up in a way that there are no doubts and you can easily follow it.
There is so much information out there that it is hard to combine it all in a solid meal plan, especially if you’re just starting out. The chance that you make a plan that is not in line with your goal or misses something important is big.
A great way to avoid this is to have a meal plan that is specially made for you.
5 Grocery list
Another great benefit of a meal plan is that it can also function as your grocery list. How often do you walk through the grocery store and pick up all kinds of food that are not helping you with your goal or you just don’t need?
Everyone will know this feeling. using your meal plan as a grocery list makes sure you won’t spend money on foods you won’t eat.
Why isn’t it a long term solution?
As I said in the beginning, it isn’t a long term solution. Why? You don’t want to spend the rest of your life following a certain plan. The goal is to take the plan, to learn from it and start experimenting with the foods you like and want to eat often. The best way to get on your own feet is with a coach. They can help you check if you’re doing the right thing.