For those of you looking to lose weight, a healthy diet is the way to go. But a healthy diet every day of the week means planning your meals in advance.
Making use of a meal planner is the best way to incorporate nutritious food and have a tasty meal, too.
Preparing a meal planner can be intimidating for someone who cooks for their family; it is especially not easy if one or two family members are on a weight loss diet. A rule of thumb is to prepare a meal planner according to the Food Pyramid and MyPlate icon as specified by the FDA.
According to the Food Pyramid, a healthy diet consists of foods from four food groups, namely, Meats, Vegetables, Grains and Dairy (for more details, see how to read MyPlate guidelines). So your meal planner must use this as a guideline to plan nutritious meals for the family. Here are a few tips that can help in the preparation of a meal planner.
Plan meals to meet the family’s nutrition needs.
A healthy diet includes foods from all food groups. Although meat must form a part of the diet, adding a larger quantity of whole grains, vegetables and fruits is essential. Whole grain breads, pastas and cereals are a source of good carbohydrates and fiber that is essential for the body.
Be mindful of the color, temperature and texture of the food.
When planning a meal, ensure that the meals will be colorful using a combination of food items. A colorful plate of food means a varied and nutritious diet. The foods can be served at various temperatures, for example, some of the items on the plate can be served at room temperature, some served hot while others could be cold. The meal planner must take into account various textures of food as well. So, as much as possible, the foods must range from smooth, tender, crisp to chunky.
Pay attention to percentage daily values of nutrients.
When you plan for your daily meals, consider the percentage daily values of nutrients in the food. Daily percentage values have been set by the USDA for proteins, minerals, sodium, vitamins, fats and fiber to meet the nutrition requirements for the average American.
Check out the grocery ads to stock up on food items.
Look out for good buys at your local grocery store and stock up on these items. Your meal planner can then include these groceries for planning future meals.
Organize your family’s favorite recipes.
Search through your cookbooks and other favorite sources for about 20 to 25 recipes that you know your family enjoys. Also, find new recipes to incorporate different types of foods in their diet.
Expand your family’s taste.
Usually, your meal planner includes recipes your family likes. If they prefer meat, try to get more vegetables and whole grains into their diet. Serve a small portion of meat, add a large green salad and some toasted rolls to make up the difference. Instead of dessert, serve fresh fruit.
Use seasonal produce as much as possible.
Fruits and vegetables are much tastier when in season. So, if you have the opportunity, purchase them at the local farmers market. Since the fruits and vegetables have not travelled long distances, they retain the nutrients and freshness. Use these fruits and vegetables when doing your daily healthy meal plan to increase the variety in your food plate.
If you find these meal planner tips useful and practical, share the post with your friends and read the next one – with more tips 😉