The Power of Planning Meals: A 7-Day Plan Can Be a Game Changer in Your Healthy Eating Goals

Have you noticed how easy it is to pick up bad eating habits when we get busy?  

We sure have. It’s easy to do. 

You’ve had a busy day, you’re on your way home from work, your brain is tired of making decisions, and you have nothing planned for dinner. 

It’s easy to succumb to the convenience of fast food or to settle for other unhealthy options due to lack of time, energy, or simply decision fatigue. 

I found a simple solution that works for us and my nutrition counseling clients – we create 7-day meal plans. 

It’s so simple, yet so effective. 

In Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing, he teaches readers to ask themselves, “What’s one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier and unnecessary?”  When it comes to making healthy diet changes stick, that one thing is meal planning. 

Think about this:  We eat around 21 meals a week. Some of us eat less, but on average it’s 21. That’s 21 choices. 21 extra decisions. 21 opportunities to eat food that supports our health or harms it.  

I found that if I make out a meal plan for seven days, everything about eating those 21 healthy meals becomes easier. Some things even become unnecessary.  

How is it easier when you meal plan?

1. Eliminates Decision Fatigue 

Planning weekly dinner menus makes it easier because it eliminates decision fatigue. At the end of the day when our brains are tired, we don’t have to struggle with making one more decision of what to make for dinner if we have a meal plan in place. 

By removing the need to make end of the day decisions about what to eat, you improve your odds of making healthier choices for dinner.  

2. Promotes Portion Control 

Portion control is a key component of maintaining a healthy weight, yet it can be challenging to practice consistently. When meals are prepared in advance, portion sizes can be carefully measured and controlled, helping to prevent overeating.

3. Encourages variety and balance

Meal planning allows you to incorporate variety and balance into your diet while still sticking to your health goals.

When planning your meals for the week, aim to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, whole grains, and some healthy fats. 

By incorporating a diverse range of foods into your meal prep, you ensure that your body receives the essential nutrients it needs to thrive.

What has become unnecessary when you meal plan?

1. Extra trips to the grocery

Planning menus can also help by making some things unnecessary, such as last-minute trips to the grocery store. 

This saves both time and money. 

By dedicating time to planning and preparing meals in advance, you can streamline your cooking process and avoid the need for last-minute trips to the grocery store.  Additionally, buying ingredients in bulk is more cost-effective than dining out or purchasing pre-packaged convenience foods. 

2. No will power needed

Another thing that is removed when you plan your meals, is the discipline and will power needed around making healthy dinner choices.   

Your meals have been planned out. Shopping has been done. The decision has been made.  You don’t need discipline to choose good things to eat after a long day. You just follow the plan.  

This one is important, because let’s be honest, even the most disciplined of us, if not working from a plan, can get tripped up on eating healthy when we are tired and hungry. 

In Conclusion

Studies show us that 90 – 95% of chronic health issues are related to food and lifestyle habits.  So, what you eat and plan for your meals matters a great deal.

If you are the person who does the meal planning for your family, embrace it – it’s a superpower. You have the power to change your health and the health of everyone in your house simply by planning meals.  

Try it. It will make a difference.  

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Improve Your Health With Personalized Nutrition Counseling - I'll Show You How!
Picture of Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta Blair, CFNC, CHCC

Yetta is a certified functional nutrition practitioner, holistic cancer coach and speaker. She studied whole-food, plant-based nutrition with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. She is a food driven analyst and works with clients to help them use nutrition principles to solve the root causes of their health symptoms. She knows that functional nutrition is the answer to our current healthcare crisis, both for individuals and for society at large, and wants to inform as many people as she can of the power of food to heal. Her promise to clients - if you eat better, you will feel better.