When it comes to weight loss, most people know the benefits of meal planning: it can help you to control what you eat and manage your portions – some of the best ways to shed pounds. Done well, meal planning can help you shop smarter, save time and reach your weight-loss goals. It’s a win-win for healthy eaters.
However, people with the best healthy-eating intentions are frequently tripped up when they try to put those decision-making principles into action without a plan. From tempting treats to unexpected work drinks, it can be easy to stray away from your best intentions.
Read on to discover how meal planning can help you to achieve your health goals and more.
It can tone down temptations
When you’ve had a long day, it’s easy to reach for convenience food or order an unhealthy take-out. Having a pre-prepared, healthier snack to hand and knowing that you have a nutrient-packed dinner waiting for you in your fridge makes it far easier to avoid temptation. When we are hungry, we often reach for the first thing that crosses our plate, and this isn’t always the healthiest option. Choosing a meal ahead of time removes the element of impulse purchasing and cuts back on food anxiety, ensuring better food decisions. Research supports this concept that people have overall healthier meals when they preselect their food in advance.
You can stay in control
It’s no secret that restaurant food, even healthier options, are consistently higher in sodium and calories. Oversized portions are also frequently the norm at many restaurants. If you eat out day after day, the extras can really add up.
When you plan and pre-prepare your meals you can keep tabs on exactly what you’re eating, and that makes portion control and tracking calories or other nutrients easier. Plus, you can ensure you use quality ingredients and ensure that your calories are coming from mostly nutrient-dense whole foods.
In terms of portion control, the Rule of Palm is a straightforward method for making sure you don’t overeat. A balanced meal should consist of three key components: protein, complex carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables. When planning meals, aim to fill your plate using the following guideline for an easy-to-remember approach to eating and portion control:
1 palm-size portion of protein
1 palm-size portion of complex carbohydrates
2 palm-sized portions of fruit or vegetables
You can stave off morning hunger pangs
Meal-prepping isn’t just for lunch or dinner. It can make a huge difference for people who have busy mornings, too. At Balance Box we include breakfasts designed to keep you fuller for longer, such as our signature Apricot Bircher Muesli which is high in soluble fibre. Overnight oats are a great breakfast option, or try preparing rye bread with nut butter and fruit for an easy, nutrient rich breakfast on the go. Having a breakfast ready to go as you head out of the door will not only keep you fuller for longer, but it might prevent you grabbing your daily croissant and coffee too.
You can cut out the lunchtime queues
Bought lunches can be expensive and pack some serious calories. Meal preparation makes taking lunch to work or when you are out and about easy and appealing. Premade meals can be stored in individual grab-and-go containers and are ready to go when you are. What’s more, instead of spending lunchtime standing in line in a take-out or supermarket queue, you could go for walk and increase your daily step count!
Meal planning improves variety
Here at Balance Box, we go by the mantra, ‘eat the rainbow’. Research shows that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day is hugely beneficial for us, reducing risk of chronic disease and helping us to better manage our weight. Having pre-planned food in advance means you can be more intentional about what you put on your plate.
We know that planning perfectly balanced meals each day which include a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats can be a headache. That’s where Balance Box can be a saving grace for many. We deliver perfectly portioned meals (that’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), available in 3, 4 or 7 day boxes direct to your door. Our boxes include the freshest, highest quality ingredients direct from New Covent Garden Market, cooked by chefs and designed by nutritionists. Because each meal is perfectly portioned for you, using Balance Box could also help you to cut down on your food waste, saving you money and helping the planet!
You can customise meals to your needs
Whether you’re trying to lose weight so you feel better, or you need to ensure you a getting your correct nutritional requirements because of a recent health diagnosis, meal-planning for the week can help you match your diet goals as it means you won’t have to calculate calories/ nutrients intake on a daily basis.
Meal planning can help to remove the stress of cooking
Some people find it useful to bulk cook meals ahead of time one day per week to avoid the nightly stress of the day ahead. This can help to eliminate the post-work worry and guarantee you won’t be tempted by the grab-and-go options at the corner deli. For many of us, bulk cooking from scratch and meal planning to ensure that we meet our nutritional needs can feel like an impossible task.
That’s why Balance Box was created. We’re passionate about healthy eating and wellbeing. Our mission is to provide our customers with nutritionally balanced meals, delivered straight to your door. And with a number of different plans, there’s something for everyone no matter what your health goals are. Head over to our meal plan page and see what’s cooking in the Balance Box kitchen.