Are Meal Plans Really Worth It?
This Nutrition Bite explores the benefits of meal planning. Is it worth the time and energy? If so why and how to go about it.
We line up our skincare according to our needs, we meticulously curate our instagram feed to maintain its aesthetic…
You plan out your day with a trusty tried and true tool for organization, but when it comes to your meals….
Many of us don’t give it as much premeditated effort that we do other aspects of our life. Get busy and all bets are off.
Have too much on your proverbial plate and who has time to do more than get something on the table??
We say, that’s totally okay! Whatever works for you.
BUT, if you find yourself haphazardly rummaging around your fridge trying to create a healthy nourishing meal…
Or reaching for the processed items that are sooo much easier but soooo much less healthy than whole foods…
We can totally relate, too.
In this Nutrition Bite, we make a case for a not-so-surprising, yet underutilized health practice: Meal Planning.
The Benefits Of Meal Planning
1. It’s Efficient
When planned and executed correctly, meal planning can be extremely efficient where your time and money is concerned.
Having a premeditated use for every ingredient in your kitchen means you offset the time figuring out what you’re going to cook and save money by buying and using ingredients you know you’ll be using.
PLUS, it saves time shopping because you know exactly what you’re looking for.
2. It Supports Your Diet
Did you know that only 8.5% of obese individuals plan their meals? 
While this doesn’t mean that if you don’t meal plan you’re obese, but it does indicate a correlation between meal planning being a factor in healthy weight management.
Meal planning cuts down the likelihood of you ordering take out or heating up packaged food (home cooked whole foods is healthier!).
Additionally, meal planning gives you a birds eye view of what exactly you’ll be eating or have eaten, allowing you to tweak and adjust unhealthy eating habits that you might not have been aware of.
Lastly, research has associated meal planning with a more varied diet, better food quality, and body weight status. 
3. It’s Less Stressful
As of 2022, only 29% of Americans said they plan their meals and over half, 53%, plan their dinner within an hour of eating it .
Creating impromptu meals for yourself, your partner, picky eaters and everything in between is a likely source of daily anxiety.
Instead of spending time figuring out what to do in the kitchen on a daily basis, take the stress out of this daily chore by planning things ahead.
4. Reduces Food Waste
A shocking 30-40% of food is wasted in America. That’s about 20 pounds worth of food thrown out per person in a given month! 
While this food waste doesn’t exclusively boil down to an individual, food waste is not a luxury we should be indulging in. We can all do our part in lowering this statistic by being more mindful with the ingredients we buy.
Meal planning supports this by helping us be more mindful and intentional with ingredients.
5. Ensures Optimal Nutrition
When you’re on the go, trying to feed yourself or a family… Who has time to plot out whether you’re getting enough Vitamin B12 or Iron?
And yet not getting enough of those nutrients are just two common deficiencies that almost everyone faces, but especially vegans and vegetarians. [If you’re tired, have trouble sleeping, feel weak, are losing hair, have muscle cramps or are suddenly having shifts in mood… consider your nutrition for sure.]
And even if you’ve jumped on the chance to up your understanding of plant-based nutrition through our Nutrition Mastery Program…
Again, time and energy can sometimes be rare commodities. That’s when a properly formulated meal plan can be your saving grace – a no-brainer, literally.
If it’s a meal plan created by a nutritionist, and even better to your own tastes and needs, you just follow the meal plan and you KNOW you’re getting all the vital nutrients you need to thrive on plants.
How To Meal Plan
Look at meal planning as a habit. That means making it a lifestyle that will require changes to support it.
Here’s how you can set yourself up for successful meal planning.
1. Start With Realistic Goals
Meal planning has to work for you. Set your goals accordingly and a clearer picture of what you want out of a meal plan should unfold.
Setting goals like choosing how often you want to plan your meals, what you want to achieve meal planning (macro balance, less sugar, getting in more fiber etc.), how much time and money to save are all sample factors to consider when setting a meal planning goal.
Keep the goals realistic and start small and work your way up to ensure your meal planning goals are a success.
2. Create Your Systems
As James Clear, author of ‘Atomic Habits’ explained, goals show us where we want to be, but systems are what’s going to get us there. So let’s assume your goal is to create and follow a meal plan that will promote a healthy lifestyle.
You need to set yourself up for success and create systems that will help keep your meal planning habit going, even on days when it gets hard.
Determine what will deter you from meal planning and set up systems that will eliminate those roadblocks.
Don’t have the right storage for storing pre-cut produce and batch cooked meals? Invest in glass tupperware and freezable containers.
Hate cutting up veggies because it takes so long? Sharpen your knives to make chopping a breeze.
Do you struggle with minimal culinary skills? Get a variety of spices and spice mixes to do the flavoring for you.
Don’t like your kitchen? Overhaul the entire workflow of your kitchen to make it a space you want to be in.
The idea is to set up your environment so it supports your goal of meal planning by making it easy, obvious, and satisfying.
3. Consider This Checklist
When you meal plan, make sure the following things are set in motion to ensure that you’re putting effort into a practice that will support your health.
✅ Your meals are nutritionally complete and cover all your macros and special dietary needs.
✅ Stock your pantry with what we like to call ‘kitchen MVP’s’. These are ingredients that are frequently used, and when missing are enough to deter you from wanting to cook at all.
Often ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, fresh mixed greens, tinned tomatoes, beans, lentils, liquid aminos, whole grain pasta, almond butter, oats etc are all staples in the kitchen that allow you to mix and match them across a variety of meals.
✅ Perfect your go-to recipes. Everyone has them. Simply pick 3-4 of your favorite meals (we all have them!) and learn to make them so that you’re motivated to meal prep something you want to eat.
4. Be Flexible
When life gets in the way, and we know it will, be kind to yourself if you don’t follow your meal plan. Know that it’s not a rigid habit set in stone, and there is always room for an impromptu pizza on days where you just don’t want to set foot in the kitchen.
Meal planning is a fantastic tool to support your health and busy lifestyle. It can be tailor fit to match an individual, an entire family and among people with different dietary needs.
AND… We’re proud to announce that VegHealth is now offering a Meal Plan Membership!
ALL THE BENEFITS OF MEAL PLANNING DONE FOR YOU!
For just $79/month you get a customized, nutritionist designed meal plan WITH recipes and shopping lists!
Talk about no brainer >>Sign Up Here
Here’s everything you’ll get when you take advantage of this introductory pricing…
✅ Your own monthly meal plan (vegan or vegetarian)
✅ Together with the full recipes
✅ As well as an easy to use shopping list
✅ A weekly 1-hour LIVE Q&A coaching with our in-house nutritionist to ask your specific nutrition-related questions
✅ 150 vegan cooking videos (and recipes)
✅ Our digital cookbook with 200+ recipes
✅ Our fabulous Plant-Based with Ease program
AND.. A weekly raffle for a 1-hour one-to-one Zoom consultation with our in-house nutritionist!!
That’s a lot of bang for your buck, but this special pricing won’t last. This is more than a digital product and we only have the ability to do this for a limited amount of people…