incredible infant

headline 2011

The Best Meal Planning Guide for Losing
Extra Pregnancy Pounds

meal planning guide 1
The simplest way for a new mom to work off those extra pregnancy pounds is by using a meal planning guide to help monitor nutrition and track exercise.

Using a planner makes it virtually brain-free. (Which is good, because lack of sleep tends to destroy brain cells in this phase of life.)

For those first few months, it can be incredibly difficult to manage the chaos a new baby brings into the home. Not only does using a meal planning guide lower stress levels, it will guide healthy meal planning decisions.

Instead of grabbing that bag of chips, you see your calories for the day and choose an apple instead.

It may seem silly, but when you're utterly exhausted, there's something comforting about a sheet of paper that says "EAT THE APPLE". Taking away even that small effort of thought is a tremendous help towards ultimately meeting your weight goal.

The most popular meal planning guide for healthy weight loss, is Meal Plans 101. But how much does "popular" really tell us?

Since The Essential Infant Resource is geared towards moms and healthy meal planning is something all moms struggle with, I decided that a closer inspection of this software would be helpful to my friends and visitors.

With all inspections, there are always areas that pass and areas that fail. I encourage you to weigh both smiley before deciding whether Meal Plans 101 is for you.


The Good News:
Areas That Are "Outstanding"

Here are the areas where Meal Plans 101 really shines out as a useful meal planning guide towards losing weight.

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You're In Good Hands

The first place you should start with any program is with the qualifications of the author(s). In this area, Meal Plans 101 scores incredibly high. The creators really know their stuff.

Dr. Chris Mohr is the Sports Nutrition Advisor for Men's Fitness magazine. He is also a regular consultant for Discovery Health, and a featured author for Men's Health, Weight Watchers, and Fitness (to name a few).

A simple Google search brought up countless interviews and articles written or quoting Dr. Mohr on a variety of health topics. He is obviously well-educated and well-qualified to discuss the subjects of health and weight loss.

The second author, Jayson Hunter, is also a nutrition specialist and author. Although perhaps not as prominent as Dr. Mohr, he still managed to pop up with several high-profile interviews and articles in a variety of magazines and blogs.

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No Size Fits All: A Meal Planning Guide That Customizes

Unlike most diet books, which give you a generic food plan to follow, Meal Plans 101 customizes your plan to the foods you like and the exact calories you specifically can eat. Here's how this software provides healthy meal planning for your body.
  • First, you create a user based on your current weight, and entering information so it can identify your BMR (basal metabolic rate).
  • Second, the software identifies how many calories your daily meals should have based on whether you want to lose/gain/maintain.
  • Third, the software divides those calories into healthy ratios of carbs, protein and fat. You choose which ratios are best for you. Are you looking for low carb meal planning? Low fat? High Protein? Meal Plans 101 complements any kind of diet - the Zone diet, Abs, Atkins, they can all be included.
  • Finally, you get to the screen to develop your meal plans. Based on the information you entered, it tells you how many fruits to choose for breakfast, carbs for lunch, etc. Using a database of over 13,000 food items (and letting you add your own), you chose what you want to eat for each meal. Hit print and you're done!
There is also a customizable exercise portion where you can add weights or other specific exercises to your program. As you lose weight, you will create new users to adjust your calorie guidelines. This also gives you a graph of your progress.

The Bad News:
Areas that "Need Improvement"

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{Photo by lepiaf.geo}
Since nothing in this beautiful green earth is perfect, it's expected that there should be a "needs improvement" mark on this meal planning guide report card.

(I disregard so-called "reviews" that heap on nothing but praises. It makes me suspicious... Give me all the facts please, and then I'll make my own decision.)

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Wanted: a Better Demo Video

Perhaps it was just my computer, but the demonstration video seemed to have some audio problems. Towards the end, I found that my audio finished before the video!

I suspect that's why they stuck the video demonstration link at the very bottom of their sales page. (Below the order button.) Still, it was helpful to actually see what the software looks like (and how to use it) before purchasing.

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So Sue Me...I Like Pretty Things

This software was definitely designed by a man, no slam intended. I'm just meaning to say that although it does what it says it will do, it's not very pretty to look at. You really have to overlook style and concentrate on substance.

This isn't really a failing grade, it's more of an observation. If you decide to purchase, understand you'll buying something practical, not necessarily something pretty.

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Pay No Attention to That (Sales)Man Behind the Curtain

Like most sales pages, their home page is full of fluffy rhetoric ("Discover how to eat your way to a dream body...") Personally, I find that shmultzy. In the weight-loss product world, salesmen are a dime a dozen. Everyone says that about their product.

So, I would ignore the "sales talk" and concentrate on the product itself. You're not purchasing a miracle pill. You're purchasing a meal planning guide to help you track what carbs, fats, proteins, calories, etc., are entering your body. Better monitoring empowers you to make better, more informed, decisions about the foods you eat.


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Who Will Benefit the Most from Meal Plans 101?

Obviously the people who will benefit most from using Meal Plans 101 will be those who actually use it.

Since it's relatively easy to use, there shouldn't be any obstacles preventing you from implementing it into your healthy meal planning.

If you are super-technical and a whiz at programming, you'll probably find it amaturish. However, if you're a regular 'ole Jane, you may prefer its simplicity.

As with any program, you'll have to get over a learning curve in the beginning. You'll benefit from taking your time to really grasp how to put in the information and customize the meal planning guide to your daily and weekly needs.

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My recommendation?

You're the best judge of whether this is the perfect weight-loss meal planning software for you.

Over all, this meal planning guide does what it says. If you like what it says it will do, than it's for you.

Click here to visit Meal Plans 101.

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Photos used on this page were found at www.flickr.com and were used with permission and according to guidelines.

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