To stay healthy you need to eat healthy. Contrary to what many people believe, planning a healthy meal is not difficult. The following are some easy tips to help you create your healthy meal plan.
You might find it difficult to take time out from your busy schedule to make a healthy meal plan but if you do so, you will save lots of time in the future. When you get some free time in the morning, or later in the evening, take out your calendar and make a shopping list. Write down your complete meal ideas, including breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, everything. To begin with, you can plan for one week, and then as you get comfortable, you can plan for two weeks, and then a month, until it becomes a habit.
Think About Your Schedule
While creating your meal plan, look at your calendar and see what plans you have for each day. Will you be home next Saturday? Do you have appointments for the entire week? Carefully decide how much time you will have before each meal. Some days you will have less time and some days will allow you more time to cook. Considering the time available, allows you to know what kind of meals you will be able to prepare and therefore you will not have to depend on any last minute food plans and the temptation to rely on takeaways.
Use Fresh Ingredients
Healthy eating requires you to use fresh ingredients and if you plan ahead of time, you will be able to use such ingredients, instead of depending on processed alternatives. Raw vegetables and fruits are healthier than canned options, frozen or fresh chicken is better than processed lunch meat and freshly baked whole grain bread is better than processed carbohydrates.
While planning your meals, find out what fresh harvest is available, which vegetable and fruit are fresh and ripe now. Not only will these vegetables and fruits be fresh but also less expensive, as the supply is good. Look for healthy recipes that use these ingredients and then plan meals for the week.
Opt For Nutrient Rich Ingredients
A healthy meal plan should comprise ingredients that are nutrient rich. The ingredients you choose should be full of minerals and vitamins. You also need to consider how many calories your family needs. If you do not have much idea about this, you can get help from your doctor or a nutritionist. Some members of your family might be underweight and some might need to shed a few pounds, so their calorie intake will be different and you need to be aware of this when planning meals.
Also, don’t forget about the dessert. If you or your family members sometimes like finishing off their meal with some treat, then you can still do this. There are lots of healthy dessert options, you just need to pick the right recipe and stay away from processed and unhealthy ones.
Cook Ahead For Busy Days
Healthy meal planning does not mean you have to spend the entire day in the kitchen. In fact, if you plan ahead, it will save you time as you know exactly what you need to do. You will not have to look in your fridge for ingredients, wondering what you have and what to cook. Moreover you can make your meals ahead and be prepared for those days when you will be extra busy and not have any spare time. You can double meals when you cook and keep the extra in your freezer for busy days of the week.
While making your healthy meal plan, make sure you involve your entire family, take suggestions and then decide what to cook for the week. This will make the planning process easier and everyone will be happy and satisfied.