The soundness of your health largely depends on the food you eat and your eating habits. In fact, most diseases and disorders people battle with, to an appreciable extent, can be prevented or cured through healthy eating habits.
Therefore, in order to enjoy sound health, it is very important that you eat healthily. Drawing up healthy meal plans is a good way of ensuring this. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics you need to know about healthy meal plans.
What is a meal plan?
A meal plan is a defined way of eating, which follows certain guidelines, conditions, and schedules. Healthy meal plans serve as guides to healthy eating, and are drawn up or modified based on the taste and dietary goals of the follower.
A typical healthy meal plan includes suggested menus, cooking advice, recipes, nutritional information about various foods, limitations, and goals.
What is the purpose of healthy meal plans?
As stated by the Mayo Clinic, a meal plan helps set a routine for mealtimes and encourages followers to choose the healthiest foods in the right amounts at each meal.
A healthy meal plan can be a motivation for those aiming for certain dietary goals, such as overweight people. For such, it can be a very good weight loss tool, the same way it can be a very good sugar-reduction tool for diabetics and an anti-hypertensive tool for those battling high blood pressure.
Types of healthy meal plans
Depending on the dietary goals and limitations of the followers, healthy meal plans are of different types. For example, vegetarians follow meal plans that comprise only vegetables and fruits plus few additions, while hypertensive patients follow the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet, which is specially designed for blood pressure reduction.
As for diabetics, they follow meal plans that reduce the intake of glucose and carbohydrates to the barest minimum. Many other types of meal plans abound, each of which presents specific inclusions and exclusions.
Healthy meal plans and the “rigidity” myth
One of the most common myths about meal plans is that “they are too strict and do not allow for flexibility.” This is not true. Even though each healthy meal plan prohibits certain foods and encourages others, there is a high degree of flexibility.
For instance, where a meal plan suggests that you take a carbohydrate-based breakfast, it gives many food options, from which you can choose rather than restricting you to just one food item. However, all the given options obey that plan’s rules.
Therefore, if a meal plan suggests that you take a protein-based breakfast for instance, which does not exceed a certain caloric value, you are free to take virtually any protein meal. However, this is on the condition that you do not exceed the specified caloric value. Can you now understand that healthy meal plans are not rigid?
Healthy meal plans are very effective, provided they are followed strictly, and consistently too. Therefore, it is very important that you follow one. Even if you deem yourself healthy, follow a healthy meal plan that entails simple healthy eating habits. This is the easiest and cheapest way to live a healthy life, and to prevent many diseases and disorders.