Food Variety Might be the Reason We Fail at Diet Meal Plans

by Annie on January 19, 2009 · 6 comments

in Eating Healthy


Though variety is the spice of life, when it comes to dieting, variety increase our chances of failure.  The January issue of most magazines always have some kind of meal and exercise plan to whip us back into shape after a couple months of holiday eating.  If you count the ingredient list of these meal plans, they usually average at least 6 to 10 ingredients.  Most of which are used in only 1 or 2 meals for a week long meal plan.  How practical is that?!  Variety in food is what kills most diet plans.

The execution of a diet meal plan is the key to success for weight loss.

For a diet meal plan where we have to purchase at least 4 new ingredients that we do not have at home, that is 4 ingredients x 7 days x 2 meals (assume breakfast does not call for anything new) equals 56 new ingredients just to get through the first week.  And a good diet meal plan would at least give us a month’s worth of meals.  Yikes!  When are we ever going to have time to do the exercise portion of the diet if we spend so much time shopping and preparing the food.

Diet meal plans are require to use a wide variety of foods and make each meal and snack delicious and appealing, but also unique.  They are not always practical for the average family where both adults are working.

I have to admit that the meal plan in diets makes interesting reading for me sometimes.  But I am a cook that do not follow recipes very well.  I see them as guidelines where I substitute ingredients that I do not have.  And I only use recipes that I already have most of the ingredients at home, so the food variety aspects of meal plans are of no use to me.

But when we are not dieting, we do not vary our food that much!

We really do not need to vary our diet as widely as these diet meal plans often lead us to believe.  I do not eat a different breakfast every day of the week and I am sure most people do not either.  But these diet meal plans make us think that we need to spend time making a different breakfast each day.  Who have time for that?  Some people even repeat their favorite meals a few times a week.  My husband and I often make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day.  So we only make about 6 meals a week and breakfast usually consist of PB&J or oatmeal.

A better strategy – how about making our current favorite meals healthier and cutting down the portion size?

A better strategy, if you are serious about a healthy lifestyle, is to look at a variety of healthy meal plans and recipes to get ideas. Figure out which recipe requires foods that your family current eat.  And learn how to substitute ingredients to make your family’s favorite meals healthier. Then start to cut down your current portion sizes – eat a few bites less each week until your start to understand the difference between stuffed and satisfied.  That is it.

No need to fiddle with all the measuring, shopping, and preparations of meals that are difficult to incorporate into your current life.  But the problem with this strategy is that it is a slow and steady process.  Too slow for most people.  People on diets want quick results which might work, but are difficult to maintain once you are off the diet.  Which leads a another diet meal plan, more frustration and stress, and eventually you just give up.  Think turtle.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

Photo by:  Rene Ehrhardt.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips January 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I agree with you Asithi. Making your current meals healthier is a great way to improve your diet. For example, I still eat a lot of my favourites but make sure to add lots of nutritious vegetables to them.

Tom Parker – Free Fitness Tipss last blog post……Are Multi Vitamin Supplements Necessary?


asithi January 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

@Tom Parker – Free Fitness Tips – Thanks for the comment.


Kelly Turner January 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm

yeah i have a certain few foods i eat all the time- im not very adverturous with food. if someone told me i had to eat something different, i wouldnt be able to stick to it- but small changes to what i already eat would be easy


asithi February 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm

@ Kelly Turner – I would not be able to stick to it if I have to prepare the food myself, but if someone is willing to prepare the food for me, I am definitely willing to eat it. I do not discriminate when it comes to food. Thanks for the comment.


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