Importance of planning

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 19 Feb, 2021

If you're one for a good motivational quote, I'll bet you've come across countless ones on the benefits of forward planning. Here's a few of my favourites:

  1. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail
  2. It will be much better to be proactive than reactive
  3. Plan your work and work your plan
  4. For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today
  5. A goal without a plan is just a wish
  6. Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now

The masses of quotes are available for good reason. There's no denying that planning offers the best chance of success. When it comes to following a healthy diet and weight management, planning will save you money, calories and stress and could well be the difference between failing and succeeding.


Top reasons to be planful

It leads to healthier choices

Research shows meal planning leads to healthier diets and reduced obesity rates. It makes sense that planning and prepping your meals in advance will lead to healthier choices and make it easier to stick to your calorie allowance. Imagine this, you're getting peckish at your desk at 11am, but you've not brought any healthy snacks with you. You notice the festive biscuit leftovers so take one to keep hunger at bay – but then, who can ever really stop at one? Alternatively, let's say you packed up some nuts, an apple and a yogurt – so you opt for the apple and yogurt to keep you going until lunch. Fewer calories, yet far more nutrients.

It's a trait of successful people

People who succeed with various goals have almost always done so with a plan. In fact, I'd argue they have always succeeded because of a plan. Without a plan, where do you even begin? If you approach any professional for advice on how to reach a goal – whether it be to eat more healthily, to lose weight or to improve your health – they will tell you to make a plan of how you want to get there. What does your end goal look like and what interim goals will you need to get you there?

It helps to manage the unexpected

Life is unpredictable, so without a plan unexpected events can really throw a spanner in the works. But if you have planned for such events, you'll be ready. Always have healthy meals ready in the freezer for days when you get home later than expected or perhaps just feel totally shattered. Plan to hold back some calories each day in case an unexepcted event calls for extra calories – and if it doesnt, then you can enjoy a treat of your choice at the weekend instead!

What to plan

Now we know how important planning is, here's the type of things you should plan to help you achieve your health, diet, fitness and weight goals:

  1. The meals you're going to make each day.
  2. The foods you'll need to buy to make those meals – and try to avoid buying foods you don't need.
  3. The days you plan to do some exercise – what time will you exercise? Where? For how long? What type of activity?
  4. What social occasions you have coming up in the week and if you'll need to save some extra calories for these.
  5. If you are heading out for dinner check the menu of the place you're going to and pick your meal in advance. You can then try and estimate the calories you'll need in advance.
  6. How you'll split your calories across the week.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.