Getting asked for a meal plan is very common as a dietitian, but the answer isn't cut and dry.
I can say that absolutely, we can help you develop a healthy eating plan that suits your life, that's exactly what we're here for!
There's a number of reasons I'm not a fan of these meal plans. To be completely honest, when I first started as a dietitian, I was handing out these plans left and right. After all, I wanted to give people what they wanted! But I quickly realised that people didn't use these, even after they insisted it was exactly what they needed. One such lady told me she didn't even open it!
What I've learnt over the course of my career as a dietitian, is that we really need much more information to be able create a sustainable meal plan in partnership with YOU, the person who will actually be eating this food.
So, why doesn't it work if we just download an eating plan from the internet, or buy one from a dietitian without personal input?
Human's are creatures of habit, and a meal plan with unfamiliar foods is often just too far out of our comfort zone. We may think we need one big overhaul, but when it comes down to it, often this is too overwhelming.
We'd like to think a meal plan takes the pressure off thinking about our meals and what we are eating, but actually it can put more strain on us.
All these meals might be new to us, so thinking about how to fit learning multiple new recipes into our week (which is usually pretty busy already), plus the supermarket stress of thinking about new ingredients, where they are and maybe how much they cost, and then the additional time put into cooking the meals can actually set us back to our old routines.
Overall, it's just too complicated on top of everything else we have to get done in a day.
Secondly, there's an interesting phenomena I've noticed particularly since these meal boxes and meal delivery services have boomed. People love them to begin with, we love the convenience and the fact that we know they're healthy. Healthy meals delivered to your door - what more could anyone ask for!
We'll it turns out, a little bit more!
I've noticed a common trend to get "bored" of these foods, despite the fact that people tell me there is a heck of a lot of variety in the options. The same goes for meal plans without the food delivery. The food is fun and new for a while, but after a while, it just doesn't satisfy.
I'm starting to realise that it's not that the meals are boring because we are continuing to look for something new and exciting, but they are unsatisfying because it's not familiar to us. Again, creatures of habit.
If instead, we work by adjusting your familiar meals, we'll be reducing the mental strain of the new meal plan, plus allowing you to enjoy the meals you already love, know how to cook, and haven't gotten bored of the last 30 years, so probably won't for the next 30 either!
This is how we work, let's take the foods you're familiar with and adjust them so your meal plan isn't made up of foreign, novel meals that quickly loose their appeal. By adjusting your current meals, we can create something much more sustainable, with significantly less stress for you too.
Lastly, think about how strict you are with yourself. This isn't going to be a 4 week diet. This is your new lifestyle. Reasonably, how much can you cut down on the alcohol/chocolate/carbs/other food weakness this week? Let's start there. We can always make further adjustments as we get used to this weeks changes, but sometimes going from 10 to 0 in one go is just the thing that sets us back to 10. Sure, a more gradual pace may take longer, but it will last much longer too.
We can help you develop a truly personalised meal plan by taking your food preferences and current habits into account, helping you make healthy adjustments, and introducing new recipes here and there.
Together, we can make this happen, so reach out to us today to start your health journey!