Why Should You Make a Daily Food Plan?

Feb 19, 2024

     Why do I emphasize that you make a daily food plan?  When you plan ahead of time, you plan with the rational part of your brain.  That is the part that is able to make decisions based on your future goals.  When you wait until the last minute to decide what to eat, you’re more likely to make choices using your “primitive” brain - the part that chooses the easiest way.  That is the part of your brain that responds to urges or cravings.  When you make choices using your rational brain, you’re more likely to make better choices.

     Many of you live with people who have different eating habits than you.  Your home may contain lots of “junk food” and foods that you prefer to avoid.  However, when you’re hungry, and those foods are easily accessible, you might “find yourself eating the food" just because it is there.

     When you plan ahead of time and stick to your plan, it’s easier to make better choices. Here’s how to make a plan that will work for you:


  • Only plan foods that you enjoy eating.  Do not plan foods because you think you should be eating them or because they are “low points” or “diet” foods.
  • Plan to eat some foods that you enjoy but that you consider “bad” foods - as in not healthy.  These should be foods you think of as treats.  Eat those foods frequently enough that you do not feel deprived.  Then, if you are somewhere and those foods are present, you will not overeat them because you know you can eat them whenever you put them on your plan. (See last week’s post for suggestions about how to handle foods at parties, etc.)
  • Plan enough food and snacks so that you won’t be hungry.  Just because a food is on your plan does not mean you need to eat it.  Practice eating only if you are hungry (unless there is a good reason why you need to eat at a particular time).  Make a food plan that works with your life and that you look forward to following.
  • If you are eating outside your home, and you don’t know what foods will be available, you can make a general plan such as “a protein, vegetable or salad, rice or potato, and appetizer or dessert or bread.” 
  • If you drink alcohol, decide ahead of time how much you plan to drink.
  • If you’re going to a restaurant, if the menu is available online, decide what you’re going to eat ahead of time.
  • If you’re going to a party, decide ahead of time how much you will eat, how much alcohol you will drink, and how many different foods you will taste.  
  • Daily assessments are important so that you can figure out what is working for you and what you want to modify or change.
  • You do not need to weigh or measure food, but be aware of your hunger signals and try to mostly eat when hungry and stop eating when satisfied, but not stuffed or uncomfortable. 



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