Meal plans fail to help people reach their nutrition goals. Have you ever heard the quote, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and he has fish for a lifetime?” Substitute “fish” for “meal plan,” and you have your answer as to why Registered Dietitians prefer to teach meal planning rather than provide their clients with a meal plan. 

 

Meal plans fail for many reasons, including:

 

  • People stop following them.
  • Meal plans don’t teach how to make healthy choices.
  • Meal plans do not teach how to listen to your body and cues.
  • Following a meal plan can reduce satisfaction in meals.
  • Following a meal plan often leads to cravings and overeating of restricted foods.
  • Meal plans are another form of external control like dieting.
  • Meals plans fail to take into account that every “body” is different.

 

What does a successful meal plan look like? 

 

When you are set up with a meal plan that works, you will be successful in reaching your health goals. My job is about far more than just creating recipes for meal plans. I match clients’ goals, lifestyles, schedules, and actual needs to a nutrition and meal plan that is based around each clients’ caloric and nutritional needs. Along that process, I coach my clients on how to make it fit into their schedule and lifestyle so that they can sustain the plan, feel good doing it, and continue to see great results.

Meal plans can assist you in reaching your health goals. You will know you are working with someone who is interested in your individual needs because they will not only develop a personalized meal plan but will also:

  • Provide a recipe book to go with your meal plans for added variety and appropriate substitutions. 
  • Learn and pay attention to your meal patterns so that your meal plan is flexible.
  • Look for a meal plan that allows you to assemble food on your own with portions and guidelines.
  • Make sure your meal plan is 100% tailored to your unique preferences, lifestyle, structure, formula, culture, cuisine, likes, dislikes, health, and family life. 

 

As an expert in nutrition, it is my job to eliminate the struggle of healthy meals for my clients. I do this by breaking down what’s not working first. If a lack of cooking skills is an issue, then I research and recommend cooking classes that can build my clients’ ability and confidence. If time is an issue with my clients, then I discuss their schedules, routines, motivations, and goals. I work collaboratively with my clients to come up with a meal plan that works for everyone.

 

Is the lack of customization the biggest reason that meal plans fail?

 

Lack of customization is often an issue for people following a meal plan – especially long term. I encourage all of my clients to share with me their recipes so we can discuss healthiness and make healthy substitutions and tweaks. I enjoy tweaking recipes, including adjusting the number of servings and portion sizes to teach my clients how to make appropriate substitutions for food allergens, sensitivities and dislikes. We also focus on enjoyment and the quality of their meals.

 

When considering your healthy eating goals, ask yourself if you need a nutrition “coach” or another nutrition app? Is meal planning what I need to eat healthily?

 

What about other dietary or weight loss plans? For example, for weight loss, intermittent fasting has become popular because it throws the meal plan out the window and focuses on the timing of meals. If intermittent fasting is better suited for a client’s lifestyle or goals, then we discuss how best to implement and manage that plan to ensure it is the safest and best way for them to reach their goals.

 

My meal planning and nutritional coaching services help clients become educated, organized, and keep them motivated and held accountable. I am your “best nutrition friend” who will help you navigate a healthier, happier, more organized, less stressful, less time-consuming, and more delicious future with food. 

 

If you’re interested in changing your relationship with food and creating new habits, schedule a call. This is a one-time, free consultation. On the call, we will have a conversation about whether or not we’re a good fit to work together, and whether nutritional coaching and meal planning are the right steps for you.