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The Case Against Meal Planning

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meal planning just makes good sense.

I am not a meal planner. Sometimes my DH will ask me "what do you want for dinner?" and I think, "Seriously, we have not had breakfast - how am I supposed to think about that?"

I used to develop a lot of anxiety around a grocery list and having to have the PERFECT plan about what meals would look like and what would be made (and how it would be done.)

Not any more. I have given up the idea that I need to be a meal planner (as in 3 square a day) in order to be successful. I don't. That is just not my style. I used to have a trainer who would plan a month in advance. All of his meals laid out. One month. In advance. Seriously. I don't have a rigid life like that.

I just don't. It does not make me better or worse. It just is - and it is fine.

What does work for me is having a lot of healthy options. Having meals pre-made on hand or easy, quick to throw together meal options so I can decide what I feel like a lot closer to mealtime.

Case in point: there is ground turkey, peppers and tomato sauce sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to combine it into my own version of stuffed peppers that I am going to make and stick in the freezer and pop out for when I want a stuffed pepper. (Truth alert - I had a stouffer's one last week and thought, pfft, I can make that on my own!)

This "planning" works for me. It takes the tendency towards "perfection" off my plate (no pun intended) and gives me options that work for me. That is the difference that I am seeing in my latest round of success. I am modifying meal planning so that it works for me.

What kinds of things do you change up to work with your style, sparkies? Inquiring minds want to know!
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  • DO4FIT
    My mother and I do not meal plan either... well except maybe Sunday dinner but other then that we just make sure there is lots of healthy options in the house to choose from and I try to cook something on Monday's so that there is something in the freezer in case we just do not want to cook or are running behind!

    Meal planning is just one of many TOOLS that could be in your weightloss/maintaining/etc belt. If it is not there are other tools to use!! Just gotta figure out which ones work for you
    2401 days ago
    I like planning what food I want to use, then enjoy making new recipes with them. It always seems like a new adventure. My only problem with that is when I am bound and determind not to cook. And my husband will NOT cook.... Then I am stuck eating out which normally ends bad. lol
    2401 days ago
    Yeah, I'm like that too. I prefer to choose depending on my mood at the time! Just gotta make sure things are healthy!
    2403 days ago
    I too can't live by a planned out menu as what is listed on that day i may not even be in the mood to eat or in my case my tummy might not want it if I am having a bad GERD day so it does not work for me either.
    2403 days ago
    Congratulations on figuring out what works for you! You recognize that a specific plan doesn't work for you, so you put some thought and effort into making sure you have a variety of healthy options available. To me, that qualifies as planning, too.
    2403 days ago
    Your food non-planning sounds really smart. It's something I struggle with personally.

    I certainly change workouts to fit me better - since I have no aspirations to be a "big winner" nor well-muscled, I re-gear things towards functional strength and endurance. I want to be fit for as long as possible!
    2404 days ago
    I am so with you on not Planning. I have so much obligatory planning in my work life that I just rebel when it comes to home. So the idea of having multiple components ready in the fridge or cabinet works for me. I have to think it out pretty carefully though and be careful to eat what is fresh soon enough that i don't waste it. I think out dinner around the middle of the afternoon...
    Lately I've begun to use SmartOnes and Lean Cuisine more when really busy - but it's so much better to cook your own. And I do manage that a lot.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2404 days ago
  • _KATHY
    All the comments are great and motivational for me since I am so tired of trying to make dinner interesting when all I usually cook is chicken. Mostly because of DH's gout requirements. I've started storing frozen veggie and pre cooked staples. Makes "unplanned" meals easier.
    2404 days ago
  • TRISH579
    Same, here, too! I just make sure that all the right things are available. We just don't store those things that we all shouldn't eat.
    However, if anybody wants to splurge, they are free to do so. But they have to go to the store and get it.
    2404 days ago
    I am with you on the meal planning thing. Sometimes I have a plan other times it is take something out of the freezer and go with it. I cook ground meat and freeze it in containers for quick meals. I have lots of frozen vegetables and meats in seal-a-meal packets so I don't have to shop when I am hungry. Truth be known our worst unplanned meal is when everyone shows up and we order pizzas & pasta because there are more people than I had planned on feeding.

    2404 days ago
    2404 days ago
    I am the same way! I just make sure the ingredients on hand are healthy and not junky! I'm glad I'm not the only one! emoticon emoticon
    2404 days ago
    Great article. I "mix and match" meal planning. Meaning there are weeks whereby I plan and shop according to my meal plan. Then there are weeks that I don't necessarily have a meals planned ahead. The key for me is keeping healthy options available so that I can have a healthy meal - and on schedule - everyday. However, if we were voting on to plan or not to plan, I would vote "to plan". When you plan and grocery shop according to your plan, you save money, time and a bit of anxiety at the grocery store.

    2404 days ago
    Great Blog MickeyMax!

    There are an infinite number of roads to success. We just have to find the one that works for us. You are there Girlfriend! Keep it up. Your attitude rocks! That's right, what other people do may be good for them, but if its not for you, throw it out. Keep driving that bus! You are awesome!
    2404 days ago
    Good for you that you have adapted meal planning to suite YOU! THAT is what it's all about! Boy, I get "taking perfection off the plate" pun indeed! I tend towards perfectionism as well.

    Exercise if my thing. I do not do all all my exercises @ once, but spread it out so it fits in my day. Works for me and I get my fitness minutes in!

    Have a great Thursday and thanks for your blog! Strive for that "imperfect perfection!" LOL
    2404 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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