A hot topic in the world of healthy eating lately seems to be meal plans. There are so many meal plans out there. You can follow a meal plan provided in diet books; meal plans provided by diet companies; there are meal plans you can subscribe to online. Some are free; some cost money.
Just Google meal plans. Go ahead, I’ll wait….did you get over 5 million hits like I did? Yeah, a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? If you narrow your search down to plant-based meal plans, it gets a bit better with only a million and a half hits. What’s a person to do?
So then you post something out on social media. “Hey, can anyone recommend a good meal plan to follow?” and you end up getting several different responses. The truth is, I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all meal plan for everyone. I have no doubt that there are some great meal plans out there to follow. I’ve tried several, but usually what ends up happening is that I don’t feel full enough eating the meals on the plan, or the ingredients are too expensive or hard to find, or the amount of vegetables required causes me stomach issues.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve implemented my own meal plan. Every morning, I eat either granola or oatmeal with blueberries and sliced banana with unsweetened almond milk, for mid-morning snack I have a small bowl of vegetables (usually frozen that I just warm up in the microwave) and beans, and for lunch I have a meal bowl consisting of brown rice, more vegetables, and some sort of protein like beans or tofu. Mid-afternoon snack will be a piece of fruit, usually an apple, and some crackers or almonds. Dinner will vary, but will usually includes protein and veggies.
What I like about this plan is that I eat smaller meals throughout the day and so my stomach is able to digest the food easier. I feel satiated and the cravings and hunger that I used to get throughout the day has decreased significantly.
That being said, one of my favorite websites, No Meat Athlete, is coming out with its own meal plan starting Monday. The philosophy behind the plan is simple, healthy, plant-based meals to take the stress out of meal planning. I think this meal plan is going to be very similar to what I’m already doing; however, I subscribed to the plan in hopes that I would get more meal ideas. I also like the idea of a structured meal plan to follow that will take some of the stress off of me as far as trying to figure out what meals to put together for the week. I don’t count or track calories. I don’t measure the foods I eat. I don’t spend hours in the kitchen. I eat a lot of the same foods every day. Some people might find that boring. I don’t. I have a group of core foods that I enjoy eating and it never gets boring. I don’t mind eating the same soup or meal bowls every day for a week. I like the simplicity. It makes my life easier and less stressful. So I think this meal plan offered by NMA is going to be a good fit for me.
Please note, though, that I’m not a certified nutritionist or medical doctor, nor do I play one on TV. However, I’ve been doing this vegan eating thing for over six years now and I know what works for me and my body. It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but I’ve seemed to find a meal plan that works for me.
What meal plan works for you? Do you follow a specific meal plan or do you fly solo and do something on your own? I’d love to hear about it and I promise to update you on how the No Meat Athlete’s Health Made Simple Meal Plan goes for me!