Meal Plans & Meal Planning
This Dietitians Perspective.
Whitney Mabee, P.Dt.
Unpopular opinion over here.
I have clients say to me a lot “I need you to make me a meal plan to follow for (insert variety of reasons: weight loss, diabetes, etc.)”.
I say, sure we can make a meal plan together and I can show you how to build meal plans to help you (insert reason: lose weight, gain weight, manage blood sugars, etc.).
Here is the catch, I don’t build the meal plans for my clients. I don’t have pre-made meal plans for my clients that I just send to them ready to follow.
Here is why I love a meal plan but don’t like to give my clients meal plans.
You see, a meal plan that I set each week gives me an exceptional amount of ease when it comes to my healthy eating plan. It lets me know what I need to buy for groceries, it lets me plan for evening events & leftovers, & it lets me ensure I am feeding my family healthy meals, relying less on convenience foods.
I am a huge advocate for creating a meal plan. Why?
- it saves you $$
- It makes healthier meals easier, which in turn makes eating healthier easier.
- Can make sure you are getting lots of veggies
- It’s organized – I like organization
- It provides flexibility within framework – Things are not set in stone, you can switch up days, meals and such based on what your life looks like and what you want.
- You rely less on convenience foods.
- It takes away the guessing of what I’m going to eat.
I encourage a lot of my clients to meal plan. But here is the catch, I don’t give meal plans to my clients.
I know, this probably sounds freaking ridiculous and totally contradictory but here is why I don’t do the meal plans for you.
- I am not you. Simple right? How do I know what your week looks like, what your family prefers, & what your food budget looks like? I don’t & simply put I can’t make a meal plan when I am not you.
- If I did it for you, you would not learn.
- Often my clients say “ I don’t know how to eat” or “I don’t know how to meal plan” – that’s okay. I will help you. I will teach you to meal plan and I will help you structure healthier meals.
- If meal planning is the goal, I work with you on it – you will not be on your own! The reason I won’t do it all for you is because if I do you won’t learn to create your own meal plan for your family when taste changes & when you tire of my scripted meal plan that likely doesn’t work for your life.
- All a pre-made meal plan does is teach you to follow a set of rules! We learned that in kindergarten, we should have that covered by now.
- So no, I won’t do it all for you – but I most certainly will work closely with you to help you learn to meal plan right and learn “what to eat” based on your health needs. I promise you will not be left in the dark on this.
- Our taste, preferences and life commitments are always changing.
- Some people don’t mind eating the same thing day in & day out. Most people do though. If I give you a month of meal plans, that’s simply just a month. Sure you can use them the next month no problem, but what if you decide you are tired of lentil macaroni skillet & you want something different?
- What if you have a new baby or start a new job, how will that change things up? We need to be able to accommodate for these things!
- You can build several weeks of your own meal plans and recycle them – I actually encourage you to do so since it saves time – but you need to know how to make accommodations based on changes that occur in life.
So there you have it. This is my take on Meal Planning & Meal Plans. I love to help my clients build their meal plans, learn to meal plan & plan the prep to save them time, money & energy while eating healthier.
Meal planning can be a life saver for many people, but remember it isn’t the only way to eat healthier – not everyone needs a meal plan. I recognize that some people really want a pre-made meal plan that they can just follow, but I try to focus on building my clients relationship with their food and their expertise and knowledge around fuelling their body with the energy they need – so teaching them how to build their own meal plan is part of that.
If you are not currently meal planning, I strongly suggest you start! There are so many benefits to meal planning and it doesn’t take any time at all. A bit of time one day a week will save you lots of time during your busy week. To help you start meal planning, I have attached two downloadable meal plan templates for you!
Let me know in the comments if you are a meal planner or not!
Set up a free 15 minute meet & greet with me to discuss your health goals and nutrition needs, and discuss how meal planning could help you!