This Will Make You Healthier: Meal Planning

January 18, 2023

Studies are showing that meal planning is associated with lower odds of being overweight, higher food variety and greater weight loss.

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Meal planning is one of those things that seem harder than it is. It seems like a lot of work, but in reality, planning ahead creates less work moving forward.

Hard work aside, planning ahead of time is proving to be an instrumental habit in healthy individuals. Meal planning basically means that you plan meals ahead of time in order to do the grocery shopping and cooking in preparation for those planned meals. The opposite of ‘winging it’ basically.

Studies are now showing that planning your meals is associated with lower odds of being overweight (2), higher food variety (2) and promotes greater weight loss.

Let me say that again for those in the back.

The benefits of planning your meals are:

  • Associated with better adherence to nutritional guidelines and higher food variety (2)
  • Associated with lower odds of being overweight (2)
  • One study demonstrated those who engaged in meal planning reported greater weight loss than those who meal-planned less (4)
  • Meal planning behaviours were associated with greater fruit and vegetable intake and lower BMI in college students (3)
  • Efficient planning may also help reduce household waste (1)


(1) Brunstrom, J. M. (2014). Mind over platter: Pre-meal planning and the control of meal size in humans. International Journal of Obesity (2005), 38(Suppl 1), S9–S12.

(2) Ducrot, P., Méjean, C., Aroumougame, V., Ibanez, G., Allès, B., Kesse-Guyot, E., Hercberg, S., & Péneau, S. (2017). Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14, 12.

(3) Hanson, A. J., Kattelmann, K. K., McCormack, L. A., Zhou, W., Brown, O. N., Horacek, T. M., Shelnutt, K. P., Kidd, T., Opoku-Acheampong, A., Franzen-Castle, L. D., Olfert, M. D., & Colby, S. E. (2019). Cooking and Meal Planning as Predictors of Fruit and Vegetable Intake and BMI in First-Year College Students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(14), 2462.

(4) Hayes, J. F., Balantekin, K. N., Fitzsimmons-Craft, E. E., Jackson, J. J., Ridolfi, D. R., Boeger, H. S., Welch, R. R., & Wilfley, D. E. (2020). Greater Average Meal Planning Frequency Predicts Greater Weight Loss Outcomes in a Worksite-Based Behavioral Weight Loss Program. Annals of Behavioral Medicine: A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 55(1), 14–23.

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Are Your Snacks Making
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