So often I talk to people who say I fell off the wagon with my eating. Or I’m having a hard time sticking to my diet. I’ve been eating modified Paleo for a few years and I used to share the same struggles. Not eating is not an option for me and neither is falling off the wagon. I have found the key to keeping my autoimmune symptoms to a minimum is eating really well. But how do I stick to such hard rules? I meal plan!
When I first started my elimination diet, before meal planning, I found myself regularly getting very hangry (hungry + angry) and unable to make good food choices for my body. I’d be in a parking lot crying because I didn’t know what to do and I suddenly didn’t feel safe to drive home. I had really bad blood sugar issues and needed to eat frequently but wasn’t good at keeping snacks with me. Originally, I thought I could wing my elimination diet. I would think, “Today I’ll wake up and have veggie hash with homemade sausage, then I’ll eat leftovers in the fridge for lunch and dinner and snacks will be whatever sounds good.” If you don’t resonate with this, let me assure you, it doesn’t work. Especially when you are limited to home cooked meals because most restaurants can’t easily cater to dairy free, gluten free, soy free, corn free, rice free, grain free, nut free, etc. due to my elimination diet. Also, just because I’m eating differently doesn’t mean my life stopped. I still had errands, meetings, appointments, family events, parties, etc.
One thing I love about elimination diets is they help us to learn what foods set off inflammation in our bodies. Each of us is different so our bodies will react in different ways which also means what we are able to eat will all be different. Inflammation is not good for our health and any food that causes an inflammatory response should be avoided.
In order to eat safe and clean food I create a strategy for my upcoming week or two. (I personally don’t plan out more that two weeks because sometimes I get sick of certain foods and have to remake it any way). I have my calendar planned out with every class, late night meeting, birthday party, family event, etc. so I can plan food around my schedule. Then I open up the program I am going to use and fill in the info needed. Within a short time I’m ready to head to the store and pick up all of the food necessary for me to have a successful week and stay on track.
I tried out a few meal-planning services and have two of my favorites for you today:
Plan to Eat is very simple and works really well from a computer for importing recipes and makes grocery shopping a breeze. To do my weekly meal planning I usually use this program from my computer along with Pinterest so when I find a recipe that looks good I add it to my recipe book in Plan to Eat in only 1-2 additional clicks. You can pull up the website from your phone, while you are grocery shopping, and easily check items off your list as you go through each section of the store. They have drag and drop features that are great for scheduling which meal will be on each day and for the cost of a Starbucks drink each month you have a meal-planning tool that will simplify your life, reduce food waste, save you money on your groceries and make sure you have a strategy for the week of what you will eat. I am a huge fan of Plan to Eat and recommend it as a basic software if you don’t mind doing a little more of the leg work yourself.
Plan to Eat is having their annual Black Friday sale from November 24-27th where they are offering their subscription plan for 50% off (that’s only $19.50 for a year of meal planning)! If you already have a subscription you can extend it by 12 months if you purchase the plan during this sale. The sale only comes around once each year so this is the time to give it a chance.
The other amazing meal planning service I have for you is called Real Plans. Real Plans makes things even easier for you and has the ability to find recipes tailored to your specific preferences. This service can remove all recipes that include certain ingredients (no more searching around for tomato-free recipes) and auto plan your weeks for you based on your preferences. They easily accommodate Whole30, AIP, Keto, GAPS, Paleo, Vegetarian or traditional healthy eating. After you set up your initial settings your food plan will be populated for you. It’s amazing! They even offer a live chat available 24/7 if you have any questions or concerns.
Real Plans doesn’t have a Black Friday sale but they do offer a 10-day money back guarantee on Whole30 and a 30-day money back guarantee on all other diet types. Their pricing structure is $14 monthly, $22 quarterly or $72 annually. If you add specific contributors (like Nom Nom Paleo, Wellness Mama, paleOMG, Health Home & Happiness or Fed & Fit) the price increases slightly. Real Plans does a lot of the legwork for you based on your preferences and really makes meal planning a breeze.
Meal planning is a staple to my life. There’s no better time than now to start reaping the benefits of meal planning!
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