5 Tips for Healthy Meal Planning

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    Healthy Meal by Shana Foods

    Sticking to healthy meal eating can be tough when life gets busy. But planning your meals ahead of time can help you eat better and save money.

    Meal planning isn’t just about saving time and money; it’s also about eating fewer calories and having a good relationship with food.

    To kickstart your journey towards healthier eating habits, consider integrating advice from experts like Bariatric Dietitian Audra Wilson, RD, LDN, from Northwestern Medicine Delnor Metabolic Health and Surgical Weight Loss Center. 

    1. Take it Step by Step

    Getting on a meal plan journey may initially seem daunting, but remember, progress is achieved one step at a time. 

    Begin by setting manageable goals, such as planning just two or three meals per week. 

    Lunches, in particular, present a good starting point, especially for individuals balancing work commitments or catering to the dietary needs of children.

    Allocate a dedicated day for meal prep. By setting aside a couple of hours, you’ll be able to focus on assembling nutritious meals that align with your dietary goals and preferences. 

    2. Balance your Plate

    So, what is the best way to balance your plate?

    • Allocate 25% of your plate to lean protein sources.
    • Dedicate another 25% to carbohydrates like naans & chapatis.
    • Fill the remaining 50% with non-starchy vegetables like okra, amla, tuvar, or arvi.

    Overtime, consider  tweaking the formula by increasing vegetable portions and reducing reliance on carbohydrates.

    3. Cook Extra for Later

    Even if you’re cooking for just a few people, making extra food can be really helpful.

    Choose recipes that you can freeze and reheat easily. This way, you’ll have leftovers ready to go when things get busy.

    Dividing meals into single servings helps you avoid wasting food and makes mealtimes easier to manage. It’s a simple way to have a quick meal on hand for those times when cooking from scratch seems overwhelming.

    4. Snack Wisely

    When it comes to snacking, it’s essential to choose options that not only satisfy your cravings but also provide a boost of energy and nutrition. Instead of reaching for sugary treats or processed snacks, opt for wholesome alternatives that fuel your body. 

    Consider stocking up on nutrient-rich options like fruits, vegetables, or nuts and seeds. These snacks are not only convenient but also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

    If you’re craving something like chips, try air-popped popcorn seasoned with herbs and spices or whole-grain crackers paired with hummus or guacamole. 

    5. Get the Family Involved

    Transform meal planning into a shared family activity by involving your loved ones in the process. Not only does this foster a sense of accountability, but it also cultivates positive attitudes toward food and instills lifelong habits of healthy eating. 

    Encourage participation from even the pickiest of eaters – cooking together presents an opportunity for fun, experimentation, and, above all, quality time spent as a family.

    Incorporating these strategies into your meal planning routine promises not only improved health and well-being but also a newfound appreciation for the joys of wholesome, home-cooked meals. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and LET’S GO!

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