Mastering Meal Planning: A Guide to Using Metabolic Meals for Every Lifestyle and Health Scenario

by Lauren Papanos, MS, RD, CSSD

by Lauren Papanos, MS, RD, CSSD

Updated Jul 2, 2024

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Meal planning is one of the best ways to ensure you have nutritious and prepared meals available for every life and health scenario. According to a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, meal planners have been shown to have high overall food variety and be less likely to be overweight or obese. Let’s discuss how to make meal planning work for different life and health scenarios. 

Meal Planning for Various Lifestyle Scenarios: 


Traveling can be a great time to utilize meal planning. Start by identifying when and how long you will be traveling. It’s best to do this at least one week before traveling so that you have adequate time to prepare.

One strategy is to purchase a few days worth of meals before leaving town. These meals can then be placed in the freezer until your return. Then when you return home, you can defrost the meals and use them for your first few days. This will help prevent grocery store trips and additional eating out upon your return.

You can choose to use your meals for every meal upon your return or you can supplement them with a small grocery store delivery order of quick items like eggs, leafy greens and berries.  

Busy Life Season 

If you’re going through a busy life season like a move, a job transition or a stressful season at work, meal planning can be a helpful solution to stay on track with healthy eating.

You can set up an auto subscription so that each week you have fresh meals delivered to your door. Then, all you have to do is simply store and heat your meals before eating.

Think of all the time this will save between planning out meals for the week, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up the kitchen! 

Work from Home 

Despite the close proximity to your kitchen when working from home, many people find cooking to be the last thing they want to do after a long day of work.

Having ready made meals on hand can decrease snacking throughout the work day, expedite your lunch break and provide a quick dinner solution for late work days. You can then reheat the meal on the stove and place it on a bed of greens or with a side if you wish.  

Meal Planning for Different Health Scenarios: 

Pre Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes 

Meal planning is an excellent way to control blood sugars and reverse insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the leading driver of both pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes and starts many years before fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin a1C elevate.

When selecting your meals, look for ones that are under 30 grams of carbohydrate and contain at least 25 grams of protein and 20 grams of fat. This will ensure a healthy meal blood sugar response.

If you are checking your blood sugars you can further individualize these macronutrient guidelines based on your blood sugar readings.  

Here’s an idea of a sample daily meal plan: 

Breakfast: Organic Breakfast Sausage and Cheddar Scrambler with organic blackberries on the side 

Lunch: Low Carb Queso Chicken Bowl paired with a side arugula salad 

Snack: Protein shake (mix protein powder with canned coconut milk) 

Dinner: Japanese Steak and Hibachi Vegetables and a dark chocolate almond butter cup for dessert 

Surgery or Hospitalization 

Surgery or hospitalization is another great time to use meal planning. Hospital meals are rarely conducive to the demands of the healing process. They are often lacking in vitamins and protein and loaded in refined carbohydrates. Instead, you can order a box of meals prior to your surgery or hospitalization and have them stored in a cooler in your hospital room or have a visitor bring them to you each day.

You can also order meals in advance of a scheduled surgery or hospitalization to have upon your return home. You can set your order to be on auto-ship for the duration of your recovery process to ensure you have ready made nutritious meals that don’t require shopping, chopping or cooking and cleaning.

Look for meals with at least 30 grams of protein and with a diversity of colorful vegetables.

Here’s an idea of a sample daily meal plan: 

Breakfast: Western Scramble 

Lunch: Parmesan Cornmeal Crusted Chicken with Roasted Vegetables 

Dinner: Grass-Fed Beef Burger with Pepper Jack and Dill Pickle Coleslaw 

Fourth Meal (if needed): Chicken Fajitas 

In Summary

Achieving better health is all about finding practical solutions for every life scenario. Meal planning with Metabolic Meals can be a simple solution to help ensure you have delicious and nutritious ready made meals for busy life seasons and different health scenarios.

Get started with your first over at

About the Author

Lauren Papanos is a licensed registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition researcher, published in the Journal of Women’s Sports Medicine. She holds her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition sciences, board certification in sports nutrition as well as advanced certifications in functional medicine and functional endocrinology. She is the owner of the private practice, Functional Fueling Nutrition where they specialize in working with active women and athletes with thyroid diseases and endocrine and metabolic conditions. Lauren has been featured on national television and in Forbes, Shape and Insider. She is the host of the Strength in Hormones Podcast. You can find Lauren on Instagram at functional.fueling and learn more about her practice at

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