Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Rotation System of Meal planning


Numerous studies support the benefits of eating regular, frequent, healthy meals. Most of us know that six meals a day is more beneficial than a traditional 3 meal a day plan. It is not only about what you eat but how you eat that plays a role in metabolism and energy levels. 

How to do it, however, is another issue. This rotational system makes it easy, cheap, and possible. (If you want to skip the history of the plan you can scroll down and see a simple table below of how it works)

I was converted to meal planning early on in my marriage (ironically enough) while living in the jungles of Africa. My husband and I were on a humanitarian aid project for several months in Kenya. We lived with another newly married couple and we had to make one trip to the store together every few weeks. I figured we needed to make a plan if we were going to survive. 

The other couple (who I love dearly) lacked some planning skills. We would both go and buy our groceries then make them last as long as possible. They would be out of food by the end of the week if not after just a few days. I saw how a plan made our food go further, last longer and saved us a difference of what would be equivalent to $100 US dollars a trip.

When I first started trying to eat 6 meals a day I did everything wrong. Since I already was a planner I would sit down and write a plan for well, 6 meals a day. They were 6 different meals each day, throughout the week. If you do the math that adds up to be 42 different meals. 

I found that we were wasting a lot of food. I got frustrated and overloaded. Those plans were too complicated. In the end I would have around 42 meals to buy, make and eat. I got frustrated with the 6 meals a day and stopped doing it but soon I found that I was still snacking and again wasting money.



I then read some research about how it is beneficial to repeat 6 meals daily for a week. I tried a meal plan that incorporated that principle. While my husband thrived on this plan (he can eat the same meals every day) I found that I often became nauseous when I thought about eating the same food again. I felt great physically, but I couldn't mentally bring myself to eat the same items over and over again. I needed variety.

That is where the rotation system comes in. It is a meal plan made for a week, and the week can even be repeated (making it a two week plan). You have six meals a day but three of these meals can be rotated with other meal options. Meal options within the same rotation should have approximately the same amount of calories. 

I originally had 3 meals a day that were repeated daily and did not vary, then incorporated 3 other meals in between that had a rotation. This worked well! Extremely well. I found that I could stick with this and feel great too. I didn't have to figure out calories for 42 different meals I could just do it on a handful of meals.

Here is the basic system:
meal 1 same
meal 2 rotate 3 meals options with approximately same calories
meal 3 same
meal 4 rotate 3 meals options with approximately same calories
meal 5 same
meal 6 change up each night

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The benefits

It is easy -Although it looks a little complicated at first glance it is a simple way to do things.
Saves money- compared to a plan that has several different meals a week. You buy items more in bulk and you are able to use them longer. And since the week plan can expand to two weeks you can do a two week shopping trip and stay out of the store which as anyone one knows that saves money!

It helps to boost metabolism- This system stays with the idea that if you eat the same amount of calories at the same time each day your body knows what to anticipate and actually plans for the calories making your metabolism more efficient.

Variety- It also has enough variety to make things interesting but a pattern to keep things less complicated.

I am not selling this system. It really is a work in progress and will continue to be. I have also stopped taking new clients for some time now with my pregnancy. My hope is that someone reads through this, tries their own version of my ideas and that their family eats a little better because of it. Good luck everyone!


- Susan

For my free clean eating meal plans go here and enter your name and email. The printable pdfs come with shopping lists, bulk prep, the meal plan and recipes. Remember you CAN do this!

2 comments:

applenooker said...

so then, do you rotate the 6 dinner meals over the 14 day 2 weeks too?

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