133. Do I have to meal plan?

nutrition Apr 29, 2021

By: Michael Beiter

I get asked whether or not meal planning is necessary often.

The simple answer is no. Here's my take on this myth of nutrition. 

Meal planning the way it's communicated to the lay person is not good. Photos on social media of dozens of Tupperware containers filled with tightly managed portions of carbs, vegetables, and protein make for a good picture, but they are a far cry from reality. Especially if that reality includes kids or spouses. 

Preparation like this is sound in logic but falls flat in application. The logic goes like this. Planning is what you do when you know pretty well what is coming down the pipe. I'll be here for breakfast, there for lunch, there for afternoon and home for dinner. The problem with planning is that it is not much better than guessing. For two reasons. One, life is not as predictable as we'd like it to be. Two, planning what your emotional and hunger state will be days or weeks in advance is no more than wishful thinking. Both are too variable. 

I find it better to use a nutrition system that allows for variation. Rather than planning everything I'm going to eat a week in advance I eat what I feel like when I feel like it and compare it to the macros I'm allotted for the day or week.

My rhythm might not be best for you but it's great for me and goes like this: rotation of three things for breakfast every day, lunch out with clients and friends OR leftovers from last night's dinner, dinner is prepared fresh daily with enough leftovers to provide for the next day's lunch.

My wonderful girlfriend enjoys cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and we love coming together to eat every day. At one time this was a family value that most people cherished. Screens, busyness, and bullshit have torn too many away from this tradition. 

Meals cooked on Sunday for Thursday taste like shift after being microwaved or refrigerated for several days. So prepping for a whole week in advance falls short there. 

What about the meal prep services? 

They are nice in a pinch. But you need to develop a certain set of skills with your food. Shopping, storing, measuring, preparing, consuming, and cleaning up are all part of this process. Delegating that to someone else might seem attractive until you consider what happens when you stop paying them. Then these responsibilities are back on you and without practicing these skills because you had someone else doing it you are no better off than when you started. You didn't learn anything. So I'm not huge on meal prep services either. They're awesome for a grab and go option but at some point you need to face the reality that to get your nutrition under control you will need to develop the skills just mentioned. 

We send out new recipes with done for you shopping lists and meal plans every month. For the busiest or least prepared of you this is the go-to spot if you just want to follow along with something. I'm a bigger fan of you learning the macros of what you already eat and modulating that way but whatever floats your boat.

Meal planning is a sticky subject. It can work but is also a huge time and energy commitment. Try it and see if it's for you. 

Don't be upset if it's not. Our system allows for much more flexibility than the narrow minded approach all the IG fitness flops suggest. 

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