One of the most important things about achieving your goals is planning ahead particularly for meal planning. In our previous blogs we’ve discussed the importance of energy balance whereby in order to achieve your goals you must match the optimal energy in (food intake) vs. energy out (basal rate + exercise). Therefore, in order to lose weight you must have a greater energy out than energy in with the optimal range being a 20% deficit, and in order to gain muscle mass you should aim to consume an additional 500 to 1000 calories. So, why is meal planning so important you ask? Well…
1. By planning ahead with your meals you can calculate the optimal calorie and macronutrient intake to meet your goals. If you choose not to plan ahead you are much more likely to indulge on snacks and most detrimentally, unhealthy snacks. Do you ever get to that point where you’re just so hungry that you will eat everything and anything in sight? I know the feeling! Whereas if you have already prepped your meals in the morning you are much more likely to stay on track and make better choices throughout the day. Have you ever got home from work later than you expected so you thought you would just order a takeaway? This is exactly the type of thing which will inhibit you from achieving your goals. And so most importantly, meal planning helps you choose better quality foods.
2. By prepping your meals, this also helps to avoid over-cooking. Rice is a perfect example, do you ever just whack a load of rice grains in a pan and then once it’s cooked you end up with far more than you imagined but you can’t waste it so you just eat it anyway? Whereas if you know how much rice you should consume to meet your goals, you are much less likely to over-cook and indulge more than your body needs.
3. Another fantastic benefit of planning meals is variety! Do you have the same go to meal when you just don’t know what to cook? Me too! If you plan ahead you are much more likely to choose a variety of meals which is not only beneficial for your taste buds, but also your health! We should aim to consume between 5 and 10 fruit and vegetables each day which can be easily achieved by planning ahead with our food.
4. Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough hours in the day? Well planning meals can also help you save time. Rather than spending a good half an hour trying to decide what you can make with the ingredients you have in stock or having to nip to the shop each day to buy whatever ingredients you need to make a meal, planning your week of meals means that you can stock all of the ingredients that you need for the week with just one shop!
So one Sunday evening, why not plan your meals for the week and give it a try? As you can see there are many benefits to planning meals so try it today to get back on track with your food!