When following a strict weight loss regimen, it is important to plan out your food for the day so you don’t spend all day thinking about food. Basically, if you have everything planned out, you don’t have to keep thinking about what you are going to eat or how hungry you are. When you plan your meals correctly, weight loss success is much more likely to happen.
Here are a few meal planning tips for weight loss success:
Plan for Breakfast
Breakfast is the meal that gets your metabolism running and, if done properly, can help you burn fat all day long. Once your body has been without food for 12 hours or more, it kicks into starvation mode and holds on to all of that fat you are trying to get rid of. Countless studies have shown the importance of eating a healthy breakfast when losing weight, so make it a priority, even if you’re not a morning person!
It is important to plan for breakfast because a rushed morning makes for poor food decisions. Planning for the morning is better done the night before. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to pour your cereal and let it sit overnight, but you should have an idea of what you want to eat when you wake up. Start with your utensils, cereal, and anything else that can be left out, and consolidate your cold ingredients in one space in the refrigerator. This will help you to be more efficient in the morning when your eyes are not quite open yet. If protein in the morning is a must-have on your diet, try hard-boiling eggs the night before, peeling them, and storing them in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator. They are the perfect morning protein that even the sleepiest dieter can manage.
Set Up the Snacks
When we get hungry during the work day, those lunch room or cafeteria vending machines start calling our name, whispering sweet nothings. If you start a love affair with these vending machine vixens, you’ll be sorry. While on a weight loss regimen, those giant boxes packed with unhealthy choices are your worst enemy. This is why it is so important to plan your snacks for the day. By bringing fruits and vegetables or other healthy options from home, you will be able to control your hunger and avoid the trips to the vending machines.
Great snacks for the workplace include an apple, plain popcorn, cut up veggies, cheese sticks, whole nuts, and yogurt. Not only will you feel better about the choices you make throughout the day, you will be able to stick to your weight loss goals for the long term. Small healthy snacks should be planned out for the day so you and your diet stay on track, and away from the vending machines. Check out this great list of DIY 100-calorie snack packs, from our friend Snack Girl, to ease your munchie madness!
Plan for Lunch and Dinner
When you don’t have a plan in place for your main meals, chances are you could end up foraging in the refrigerator and coming up with a bowl of leftover mashed potatoes as a main course. Or worse yet, calling for pizza or driving through the fast food place. This will turn into a dieting disaster, so it is important to think about your meals ahead of time. When your diet consists of lots of vegetables, fruits, protein, and whole grains, and all you have in the refrigerator is cold spaghetti noodles, you are putting your diet in jeopardy. Fill your refrigerator and pantry full of healthy choices and write out your meal plan for the week. If you fall off your diet routinely just because you didn’t plan your meals, you may be sabotaging your diet. Make the commitment, then make the plan. (Need some inspiration? Check out these awesome, free weekly meal plans from Yummy Healthy Easy.)
When you take the time to plan your meals and snacks, you have a better shot at keeping up with your weight loss goals. By planning your breakfast, being sure to pack appropriate snacks, and planning your lunch and dinner, you will be able to fend off the evil vending machines, fast food lines, and unsuccessful attempts at foraging for healthy foods.