When advising people about which meal plans to follow, “Just tell me what to eat!”, is a common response.
When you think about it, though, this is an outside-in approach. You have to take into account your personality, metabolism, tastebuds, etc. Never forget how unique you are. If there was a magic formula, a special plan we could all follow we would be a stampede because we would all be on it.
Wouldn’t a better approach be to create a framework, a set of guidelines for deciding on what to eat, test out your meals to see if they satisfy you and your lifestyle,, and then save the meals that work and keep them in your plan?.
Try the following 3 steps, see if they give you some ideas. Have fun with working your meals out, you’ll understand why certain meals work best for you and how to create a meal plan you can truly call your own.
- Create meals based on how they will affect your satiation (how long you stay full), satisfaction (how much you enjoy what you eat), and nutrition (your energy and how you feel). The longer a meal satiates you while also providing high levels of satisfaction and nutrition, the easier it will be for you to be consistent with your eating without obsessing over it. When you find meals that meet those 3 needs, make them staples in your diet.
- Practice moderation and eat fun foods. Your meals don’t have to look perfect to be healthy. They don’t have to be 100% whole foods for you to feel your best. You can eat dessert and achieve your goals. Put food on your plate that will make you enjoy your eating experience. Then approach your eating as usual – eating slow, mindful, and to 80% full.
- Start with building your meals around protein, fibre, and hydration. Once those things are in place you can manipulate fat and carb content to see what satiates/satisfies you best. This is very individual. Carbs satiate/satisfy me more, but for others fat will. You will have to experiment, be mindful, and notice the cause and effects of your choices and how they impact you.
Over the next week or so, experiment with a dozen or so different meals while being mindful of the above. If at the end of that process you come out with a handful of go-to meals you will have experienced a little breakthrough.
The important stuff stays…