Many of our readers may be aware that the concept of menu planning, such as is outlined in the Pure Prairie Eating Plan, has been around for a long time. There are many reasons for planning menus – some people like to have a structure to their meals, others use it to make sure they have the ingredients and foods they are going to prepare on hand as they pair their menu to a grocery shopping list, and others may find it helps limit food costs by limiting impulse purchases. A new study by Brader et al (2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806354/) suggests that menu planning may help people put dietary plans into action and thereby improve their health.
This particular study was aimed at people with Type 2 diabetes. Participants were given access to an internet-based menu planning program for 24 weeks and the researchers recorded people’s weight, blood pressure and how well the participants were able to control their blood sugars. Participants were studied before and after they had access to the menu planning program. Overall, working with this menu planning tool helped to promote modest weight loss (about 3.6 kg over about 6 months time) and improvements in blood pressure. Those who “adhered” to the menu plan, defined as logging into the program at least once/week for 18 weeks, did the best.
Although this is a small study (only 33 people participated), it supports the principle that menu planning may help maintain or improve health. From a PPEP perspective, we’re really pleased to see others looking at how a “planned” approach to food and meals can support good health. As we noted in an earlier post, the data from our studies supports this same idea. Plus we’ve made sure that the meals recommended use ingredients that are easy to find and are part of “normal” eating on the Prairies – we think all of these things help!
The print copy of our book is just about ready to make available. We look forward to hearing about your experience with our Plan in the coming weeks and months.