Meal plans can be really useful for some people – if they follow them. However, they can also have some limitations. What are some pros and cons of meal plans?
A well-designed meal plan can provide the following benefits:
Eliminate decision fatigue
Some people find it difficult or tedious to plan what to cook. Following a meal plan will save the time and mental power you would normally spend making those decisions.
Meet your nutritional requirements without doing calculations
A meal plan that is customised to your individual requirements will help you meet your targets of total energy, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc.
Increase food variety
Meal plans can introduce more variety to your diet, especially if you are not an adventurous cook. Variety is not only the spice of life but also a great way to increase your exposure to more nutrients and phytochemicals.
Reduce costs and food waste
Many people buy ingredients that end up in the bin because of poor planning. A good meal plan will make sure you use up most or all the ingredients you purchase. In addition, good meal plans also use ingredients in different price points to balance costs out.
These are things a meal plan may not be able to do for you:
Teach you skills
Following a meal plan means you don’t have to figure out how to put meal components together on your own. This can make you depend on meal plans for a long term, which is not ideal.
Adapt to your circumstances
Following a meal plan doesn’t teach you how to deal with changing circumstances or situations, such as:
- You get injured and can’t exercise
- You get pregnant
- You decide to compete in an ultra-marathon
- You get a jaw surgery that requires you to eat liquid food
- You can’t find the ingredients to make the meals
Cater to your preferences
This is especially true for generic (or semi-generic) meal plans. Even if you get a meal plan customised to your general dietary requirements (e.g. vegan, vegetarian), many people have very specific preferences based on ethos, taste or other reasons, and it’s hard to capture all of them in a meal plan.
Cater to your cravings
Even if you have a meal plan that caters to all your dietary requirements and preferences, what if you don’t feel like eating what’s on the meal plan?
Have you used meal plans before? Have they worked for you? Let me know in the comments!
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