Meal Plan versus Eating Plan

Meal plan

Meal plan or an eating plan? Which is better? What’s the difference?

I’ll briefly define what I mean by each and then share why I think one is helpful  and the other can hinder your health goals.

Meal plan: This type of plan includes pre-determined meals you are to eat each day. You’ll get a grocery list and recipes to make each meal. There is a beginning and end date. If you want to continue using the meal plan you repeat it.

Eating plan: This plan is less specific since it involves a framework that you work with in order to set up a meal. You choose the types of food within the guidelines. There is no start or end date and it can be applied at home, eating out, at social gatherings, on vacation, etc.

Based on these descriptions, which do you think is best?

My answer: An EATING PLAN.


Meal plans have great intentions but what I often see is that people follow it to a T and then go back to old habits because they’d get bored repeating the meal plan and they never learned how to set up a balanced meal or create a grocery list on their own. People might be initially drawn to this option because it sounds easier & takes away the need to plan or think about your choices. In my opinion, I’d rather teach you how to fish rather than handing you fish on a plate every day.

It may not be good for business but as a dietitian & health coach I am all for working myself out of a job. I want the women I work with to be able to come up with a menu for the week in ten minutes based on the simple eating concept I teach. Pairing a protein with a fat and carb at every meal and snack really helps to simplify meal planning since you just plug a food item into each category. For example:

Taco bowls
Protein: Ground beef (seasoned with homemade taco seasoning)
Carbs: Peppers, salsa, beans, greens
Fat: Avocado

Would you like guidance on how to implement an eating plan? 
I’m putting together a Meal Planning  workshop that will walk you through the simple process of creating a menu, making a grocery list, and plenty of tips and tricks that will help you simplify and streamline the process. If this is something you would find helpful then sign up below to be notified when this free ecourse is available. I’ll send you my balanced eating cheat sheet so you can hang it on your fridge and use it as a quick reference as you put meals together.

What’s the most challenging part about planning your meals for the week? Is it not knowing what to make? How to make a meal healthy? Feeling like you spend the entire day in the kitchen? Staying within your grocery budget? Wasting food you don’t use?

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Author: budgetforhealth

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget for Health!

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