A healthy diet is absolutely crucial from a fitness perspective. You can do all the workouts in the world but if your nutrition isn’t supporting your fitness goals, you’ll still find it hard to get the results you’re after.
Knowing that you should eat healthily is one thing. Making it a key part of your day-to-day life can be a whole other story. This is where a healthy meal plan can make your life much easier.
The benefits of a healthy meal plan
Creating a meal plan is one of the best ways to consistently hit your macros and reach your fitness goals, even when life gets busy. If you grab meals or snacks on the go or cobble them together last minute, you’re far less likely to balance your meals appropriately. Having a meal plan avoids the potential for this and makes it much easier to hit your goals.
When you’re grabbing food on the go, it’s easy to lose track of what your body is trying to tell you. Your body’s natural hunger cues can be distorted and you lose the sense of feeling full (and overeat as a result). Meal planning can help to get back into balance and listen to your body.
But meal planning isn’t just great from a nutritional perspective. It also reduces food waste and can decrease the cost of your grocery shop.
Another advantage of meal planning is that you can cook less. If you batch cook as well as do a meal plan, you can cook once and eat twice. Perfect if you’re not the biggest fan of cooking and might otherwise be tempted to reach for the more convenient option. When you meal plan and batch cook, you’ll always have something healthy on hand to help you reach your goals.
How can you make sure you’re putting together a balanced meal?
How to meal plan and create a healthy diet
A balanced plate is a must when you’re putting together a healthy meal plan. Think protein, healthy fats, starchy carbs, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
The exact balance of macros can be very personal to you and your goals, and if you’re not sure how to hit the right ones for you, a nutritionist can help with this.
A few other considerations to think about when you’re meal planning:
- The more colours you can pack into your meal plans, the better. Aim to eat the rainbow as much as possible to increase the nutrients you’re consuming and keep your gut happy and healthy.
- Meal planning doesn’t mean that you can never eat your favourite foods again. If the bulk of your day-to-day nutrition is unprocessed whole foods, you still have some freedom and flexibility to treat yourself and feel no guilt at all. When foods aren’t labelled as “good” or “bad”, you won’t feel deprived and fall back into unhealthy eating habits.
- If you’re looking to build muscle or increase your strength, you need to be in a calorie surplus to create new muscle tissue. This means your meal plan should factor in this calorie surplus. If you’re looking to lose weight, aim for a calorie deficit instead.
- Reward yourself for sticking to your goals. Motivation is crucial when you’re trying to develop a healthy diet and reach your fitness goals, and rewards can be a powerful way to keep motivation high and stay on track. Just make sure it’s a reward that won’t derail your fitness goals.
Healthy breakfast foods
A healthy meal plan definitely needs to include healthy breakfast foods. If you’re tempted to skip breakfast, think again. It’s not called the most important meal of the day for nothing! A filling and nutritious breakfast can transform your energy and mood and set you up for a good day.
Eating a balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats will keep you feeling fuller for longer and avoid blood sugar crashes and cravings.
To stop yourself from getting bored of the same healthy breakfast foods, try having 2-3 different options on rotation, plus some backup options to keep things feeling fresh.
Healthy snack foods
A good diet plan can still include healthy snacks and if you meal plan, you can make sure that your choice of snacks is supporting your health and fitness goals.
It’s easier than you might think to arrange a whole host of healthy snacks, including healthy weight loss snacks.