Preparing food in advance can save us a lot of time and money. And who doesn’t want that, right?! But how can we prepare food without falling into the diet trap? We all know that restrictive diets do not work in the long term. So, the question is, how can we prepare food in advance without feeling restricted in our choices and without feeling like we are following another diet?
HOW TO AVOID THE DIET TRAP?
The main idea is to prepare food without feeling like we are missing out or feel restricted in our chocies. When planning and preparing meals ahead, sometimes we do not feel like eating it when the day comes. This is 100% fair enough! And it becomes more confusing…do we stick to the prescribed meal plans or eat intuitively? If I want to eat intuitively, does food planning come into it, or not? These are good questions and concerns that I will address in this blog. Furthermore, these tips will simultaneously help minimize food cravings, binge eating, and yoyo dieting.
COMBINE INTUITIVE EATING AND MEAL PLANNING
Firstly, intuitive eating needs to be unified with meal planning. We achieve this by following the Balanced Diet Framework, which involves shopping and preparing food we love (and enjoy) in terms of food groups. So, instead of thinking sugar = bad, or carbs = bad, I suggest thinking in terms of ingredients within categories in the Balanced Diet Framework (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vegetables). I have devised a free shopping list template and meal planner to help you with this. I encourage you to eat all the food groups and do not restrict any categories. Essentially, this stops us from going from one extreme to the other (for example, the binge/restrict cycle)
TIP 1: PLAN IN FOOD GROUPS
So, how do we plan in food groups? Initially, we need to plan by asking the following questions ‘What carbohydrates do I want this week if I had no rules around food?’ Really ask yourself what carbohydrate would you enjoy and feel satisfied by. It might be pasta. If so, go for it! What will be my fats? Maybe I want to have avocado because I love them, they are in season and the prices are great! Or perhaps for my fats and protein I want to add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds into my salads. What about buying some cashews and add them to my stir fries. Maybe I am an olive oil fan and decide to add that into salads. Ultimately, think ahead like this; What would you like to eat? Then make shopping choices from a place of what you enjoy (rather than rules and restrictions).
What Makes You Feel Good?
You can also ask yourself, what foods make me feel good emotionally and physically? What foods give me energy and fuel my organs? What foods make me feel good psychologically? In this way, we are still planning, but simultaneously tapping into intuitive eating.
TIP 2: PREPARE SWEETS IN ADVANCE
I recommend preparing sweet foods in advance and keeping them on hand. Maybe prepare bliss balls and store them in the freezer. Or nice-cream, which is a healthy ice cream alternative (which is simply bananas and strawberries blended). Last week, I made own sugar-free healthy chocolate (a blend of coconut oil, cacao, stevia, and coconut). It was so delicious. Maybe you love Tim Tams and enjoy them? If this is a treat for you, go for it. Keep a packet in the cupboard. Ultimately, it is when we restrict certain foods that we go crazy and become food-obsessed.
TIP 3: BE FLEXIBLE
Planning is wonderful but we also need to integrate flexibility. We are human beings with feelings and preferences that we are unable to predict. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like certain meals you have planned. Just don’t eat it, and make something else. Can you leave it in the fridge for tomorrow? Or can you put it in the freezer for another day? It is all good. Be flexible, and don’t eat what you don’t enjoy and enjoy what you eat!
Wiggle Room to Avoid the Diet Trap
There are no food rules to this method, apart from leaving wiggle room around your planning. Having malleable plans is the key to success in reducing food cravings and binge eating. If someone invites you for a meal, do you decline because you have already planned your dinner? No way, please go and socialize. This brings us joy! Essentially, ensure you leave wiggle room within the planning.
TIP 4: INTEGRATE INTUITIVE EATING
We want to eat intuitively, so ask yourself ‘What food do I feel like? What food would satisfy me? How much of that food would satisfy me? How much would feel good emotionally and psychologically?’ I love to ask myself these questions. It brings a robust consciousness to my relationship with food. If I crave food, I ask myself ‘Do I really want that? Or is it something else I am craving? Sometimes it is not even food-related. Read more about mindful eating here.
TIP 5: FREEZE LEFTOVERS
This is obvious but just a reminder. Remember to freeze your leftover food. This stops wastage and also helps us with allowing for wiggle room around the planning.
LET GO OF THE DIET TRAP
Ultimately, when we give up on the idea of a quick fix and break away from the diet traps – we experience food freedom. Incorporating intuitive eating with flexible planning we will improve our relationship with food and our body. Furtner, to support your planning, don’t forget to download the free shopping list and meal planner I created, based on the Balanced Diet Framework. I also have a free guide to End Binge Eating if you are interested. Finally, if you have any questions send me a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE WEEKLY MEAL PLANNER + SHOPPING LIST
- Free meal planner and shopping list following the Balanced Diet Framework – Saving you TIME + MONEY
- Plan your meals ahead to set yourself up for success for healthy eating!
- Learn a new concept of food preperation without eating the same meals over and over again