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Fast Forward - Plan Tomorrow's Food

Planning what meals and snacks you’re going to have can be one of the biggest, most helpful things you can do to ensure you meet your weight loss goals.

Having an idea of what meals you want to cook, what treats and snacks you want to have available and then making any necessary preparations will mean you’re much more likely to stick within your daily calories.

Being prepared by planning ahead a little has many benefits:

  • Encourages 3 regular meals a day
  • Makes it easier to stick to calories
  • Makes diary keeping easier (and people who keep daily food diaries can lose twice as much weight as those who don’t)
  • Aids portion control
  • Enables you to build in some favourite foods and meals out
  • Saves you money on your weekly shopping! (You only buy what you need)

The task:

Try to plan as many meals and snacks as you can a day before hand.

We recommend you aim for at least 2 out of 3 of your main meals and one or two items you plan to have as snacks or treats. Put the items either into your food diary or into a food plan to be added later.

This means that you will be able to play around a bit with portion sizes, and make any decisions about including or excluding certain things, in the context of a whole days calories, before they have passed your lips.

Planning your food in this way enables you to have more control than adding items to your diary after the event. Getting into the habit of planning and tweaking for tomorrow can be a really powerful strategy when it comes to sticking to your calorie allowance and being successful with your weight loss.

If you’re eating with your hands (e.g. a sandwich), put it down between mouthfuls in the same way as above.

This will enable you to eat more slowly – being mindful about the food you’re eating and understanding more about when your body has had enough.

Planning your daily meals

When planning it is useful to bear the following in mind:

Be specific. Don’t just tell yourself to eat less junk food after 8 p.m, be specific - 'I'm going to substitute my crisps for popcorn'. That way, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Preparation, preparation, preparation… Think about the upcoming week and decide what you're going to eat. Prepare food over the weekend, or in other free time you have, and freeze it to use during the week.

Mix and match. Keep lists of healthy foods and meals you love, and plan accordingly. Think of five different breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Then you'll have some freedom plus you’ll know that you’ll enjoy what you are eating.

Shop wisely. A well-stocked fridge and pantry can make it easier to grab a healthy snack or prepare delicious meals that are also good for you. Keep basics on hand, such as:

  • low-fat milk and yogurt,
  • eggs,
  • a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • wholegrain pasta/bread
  • fish
  • chicken breast
  • high-fiber cereal

Plan healthy treats. Low-fat cheese or yogurt, hummus with veggies, and fresh fruit are great choices. Keep them at home; take them to the office. That will help you eat the right foods when you're hungry - especially in the late afternoon.

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