When it comes to going on a diet or following a meal plan, you should always seek expert advice. That is, unless you’re a dietitian or nutritionist and even, then you should seek another professional’s advice as it’s always easy to think you know best.
That being said, you’re probably not a nutritionist or dietitian, so here’s a little guide to getting you on the right track (and keeping things simple!).
Step 1 – Write It Down
First, write a list of all the foods you like to eat. Yes, all of them.
Next, make a list of all the foods you don’t like to eat.
As daft as it sounds, these first too steps are critical.
Why? Because there is no point in getting you to try to follow something that you hate because you’re going to fight it every day.
Review Your List
Next, look at the list of foods you like and split them in to two lists. The ones that are good for you (this is where some professional advice helps) and the foods you know are unhealthy.
For example, strawberries and chocolate. These are two foods that I enjoy eating. One of them is healthy and the other is less so. It’s not that chocolate is bad, but it’s all of the other crap they put into it.
Could I create a diet that will allow me to have strawberries every day at some point? Yes, I could do that easily.
Could I also factor in to have a little chocolate once a week? Yes, I can do that as well.
What Is Ideal?
Ideally, you should do this for your main macro nutrient types, such as:
If you aren’t sure of what fits into what category then keep an eye open for that blog.
Remember: the less processed foods you eat the better.
How To Identity Processed Foods
For example, a chicken breast that you cook from raw is not a processed food – as opposed to one from KFC that is covered in breadcrumbs, deep fried and will most likely not help you to lose weight.
That’s only step 1!
This is why it might be easier to seek professional help.
Step 2 – Log Your Food
The starting point for any journey is at the beginning: you have to know where you’re coming from in order to figure out where you’re going.
That is why it’s important to know just what you’re eating and how much of it.
And, how that’s currently effecting your weight.
For example, if you’re consuming 5000 kcals a day and you aren’t actually gaining weight, then you must be able to burn through it.
On the other hand, if you’re only eating 1000 kcals a day and you aren’t losing weight, then you’re either telling a few porkies or your body is in need of help.
So, it’s important to figure out your starting point.
Once you’ve got your start point and you know how much you’re roughly consuming a day, you can start to make simple but effective changes.
And the best thing is: they don’t have to be earth shattering in order to have a positive effect. They just have to be consistent.
Step 3 – Put It All Together
This is just a guide as to how to put together a basic meal plan. I can’t make recommendations of how much or little you should or shouldn’t be eating, as I don’t know who you are.
What I can suggest is that you try to eat a balanced menu. This means every meal should contain:
- Some fats
- Some proteins
- Some carbs
If your meals don’t contain some of each of these foods then you’ll need to make up for it somewhere else on the plan. That means if you skip veggies for breakfast (yes, you should be doing that), then you’ll need to consume more at lunch or in the evening.
The hardest part of any diet is actually sticking to what you are eating. So, if you’re choosing to be gluten free then stick to gluten free. If you’re aiming to hit 10 pieces of fruit and veg a day, then stick to that goal.
Whatever you choose, be consistent.
Step 4 – All About Choices
When you’re choosing foods for your meal plan, your aim should be to put in more of the ones you like but are healthy. Try to keep the ones you like but are unhealthy to a minimum.
Also, the ones you like least don’t have to factor in: i.e., if you hate spinach but like kale, then leave the spinach and load up on the kale.
Think about it: if your diet is built on foods you enjoy then you’re far more likely to stick to it.
This is just a rough guide and there are many other points and tips and steps that will help you.
Other things you could choose:
- Counting calories
- Counting Macros
- Ensuring you are getting enough vitamins minerals and fibre