Q&A: What food should I put on my meal plan?

The Question

Logically, I know creating a meal plan is important but I don't know what to put on it. What food should I put on my meal plan? 

The Answer 

Thank you for the question. I love that you understand the importance of creating a meal plan and I love that you're taking the time to create yours. As you probably already know, it's an upfront investment of your time and energy but it will become your best friend in the long run.

I want you to think about weight loss as a process that consists of 6 stages. 

Stage 1 is when you learn the causes of overeating. 

Stage 2 is when you create your weight loss plan. 

Stage 3 is when you start to apply your plan to your life.

Stage 4 is when you practice your plan. 

Stage 5 is when you master your plan.

And stage 6 is when you look to the future. 

If you want to learn more about each stage, click here to read The 6 Stages Of Losing Weight.

The creation of your meal plan is in the second stage. Although this is a really important part of the process, make sure to remember it's just one of six stages. 

With that said, in this stage, you'd start by creating your protocol which is basically a super specific list of everything you'll allow yourself to eat.

To be clear, your protocol is not a diet. It's a commitment you make for the rest of your life for how you want to fuel your body. So, make sure you include foods that you'll eat in the long term.

Here's some food suggestions for you to consider including on your protocol:

Vegetables

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip
  • Yams
  • Zucchini

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Blackberry 
  • Blueberry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Clementine
  • Mango
  • Organge
  • Pear
  • Strawberry

Protein

  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Meat - beef, chicken, pork, etc.
  • Milk
  • Non-dairy milk - almond, soy, etc.
  • Nuts
  • Seafood - fish, shellfish, etc. 
  • Tofu
  • Veggie burger
  • Yogurt 

Grains

  • Grits 
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa 
  • Rice 

After you create your protocol, you can use it to create your weekly meal plan, which will now be much simpler to put together. 

I've got 3 tips for you as you create your meal plan. 

Tip #1: Keep It Simple

If you like to cook and you've got the time, then skip this tip. Feel free to complicate away. 

But if you don't like to cook or you're strapped for time, I recommend you keep it simple. Don't overcomplicate it. Stick to meals that are quick and easy to create. 

I rarely use a cookbook or create meals that require recipes. For me, one meal could be yogurt and granola. Another meal could be eggs and spinach. And another meal could be fish and broccoli. 

I keep it simple and never overcomplicate it. 

Tip #2: Listen To Your Body

Before I got pregnant with my son, I always felt sick when I ate yogurt.

When I was pregnant with my son, I couldn't get enough yogurt. 

After I had my son, I sometimes did and sometimes didn't feel sick when I ate yogurt. It was hit or miss. So, I switched to almond yogurt which makes me feel amazing. 

My husband, on the other hand, could eat regular yogurt everyday and feel great. 

The point is that all of our bodies are different. So, as you create a protocol and meal plan for yourself, think about which foods make you feel the best. 

I would never suggest using a plan that someone else creates for you. Only you know which foods feel best inside your body. And only you can create a plan that will work for you in the long term. 

And just like my body changed before, during, and after my pregnancy, your body may change over time too. When you're conscious of how your body feels when you eat foods, you'll be able to quickly recognize when something changes and adjust your plan over time. 

Tip #3: Create An Imperfect Plan

The best advice I can give you as you create your plan is to approach it like a scientist conducting an experiment. 

Start by creating your first protocol and meal plan and accept that they won't be perfect. Forget perfection. 

When you start to apply your plan to your life, your focus will be on testing the plan.

Let's say it's Monday at lunchtime and your meal plan tells you to eat a green salad with chicken. You'll eat that green salad with chicken and you'll pay attention to how it makes your body feel. 

Do you physically feel good or bad?

If you feel good, then you'll make a note of that and include that particular meal in your meal plan for next week. 

Be a scientist. Create an imperfect plan. And test, test, test.

The Wrap-Up

Weight loss is a process that consists of 6 stages. Follow each stage, one step at a time.

One of those stages (stage 2) is when you'll create your protocol and meal plan. Remember to keep it simple, listen to your body, and test your plan.

If you follow these tips, you'll eventually have a plan that's perfectly customized to you and your body. 

Thanks again for your question. I hope my answer helps you.

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