How to Plan Your Diet Meals and Stick to Them

Planning is the easy part. It’s the sticking to it that’s hard.

A meal plan is the first step of success in sticking with a new diet. Following a diet for the long term is often a process that needs to move and flow to the rhythms of real life. These tips will help you create a meal plan you can live with that works with your life.

Like What You Eat

If you are what you eat, then it makes sense to eat what you like. Boring food that dampens your enthusiasm before you even take your first bite is not going to work for the long term. Eating low calorie fruits and vegetables can be a bit of a challenge if they are not already a part of your everyday cuisine. Taking the time to reacquaint and discover what your favorites are is well worth the time.

Eat Clean and Simple

If you are making a drastic change in your diet, such as switching over from a standard American diet to a vegetarian one, then it is a good idea to do it slow and simple. New meal plans are unfamiliar and less convenient than whipping up our everyday foods. Keeping ingredients simple will reduce the frustration and time that it takes to prepare meals while increasing your accuracy of staying within your calorie allowance. Perhaps make a full course meal on one to two days a week when first starting out. On the rest of the days, stick to really simple whole foods with only a few ingredients.

Have a Plan for When You Need to Wing It

There will probably be times when you are out socializing or not at home to eat. It helps to think of the day in advance to accommodate for each situation. If you know that you will be eating out, or running around for too many hours to make packing a lunch feasible, then it is best to consider what your backup plan is going to be. If possible, do some minor homework by looking up menus to the restaurants you typically visit. If you are served a large tempting meal that you know is twice the amount of what fits your meal plan, ask the server for a takeout box so that you can put half of it away before you begin eating.

diet meal planning

Make Homemade Calorie Snack Packs

Snacking is almost a necessity to buffer the nagging cravings and hunger pains when adjusting to a new diet. Simple foods, such as nuts and small servings of your favorite treats can keep your wild beast at bay. You can keep your favorite treats if you allow small bites here or there to wean you off your old indulgences, as long as you stay within the correct calorie range. For example, almonds are a healthy treat, but they are almost irresistible to keep nibbling on. Chances are, by the time you notice that you have been unconsciously nibbling on more than you intended, you have already amassed a significant calorie intake. Instead, try dividing them up into small sandwich bags. If you want to keep your snacking around 100 calories a pop, divide them up into bags of 15 nuts, since each whole almond contains around 7 calories.

Plan to Deviate

You will be less hard on yourself if you start out expecting to run into a few bumps along the way. Attitude is everything when it comes to staying on track. Beating yourself up after breaking a diet will only self-sabotage your end mission. Instead, look at it as an exercise routine. You don’t expect to grow muscles overnight, so why would you expect anything different with forming new habits and routines? Instead, see how many “reps,” or days, you can accomplish on your meal plan before breaking it, and then get back on it again. Eventually, it will become a familiar routine that will become an easy part of your lifestyle.