The Lebanese Recipes Kitchen (The home of delicious Lebanese Recipes and Middle Eastern food recipes) invites you to read about Healthy Meal Plans. Enjoy tasty Middle Eastern food and learn How To Design Healthy Meal Plans.
Deciding what to eat for each and every meal can be quite a challenge. You want to make sure that the meals will be delicious, but also packed with nutrients your family needs. The solution? Design a healthy meal plan at the start of the week, so you don’t have to worry or think about what to cook and eat. With proper planning, you can create a healthy meal plan for your family.
- Make a chart of the entire week. On the top, write down the days of the week. On the left side column, write down, the three meals. Draw a line across the paper or board to make a chart. Now you have boxes wherein you can write what meals to have per day. For your convenience, you can print this out on Excel or even purchase a white board that has the days of the week written down on it.
- Consider the nutritional needs to of the family. When choosing meals for a family, the primary concern should be that each meal be healthy and nutritious. It’s easy to put pizza delivery on your list every night of the week, but it certainly won’t meet the nutritional needs of your family. To have the best nutrients for your family, include a wide variety of fruit and vegetable choices for the entire week. Each meal should have an adequate source of protein and carbohydrates.
- Determine if there are any dietary restrictions or concerns. Is someone in the family allergic to dairy? Does someone have celiac disease? Is dad on a low sodium diet? Is mom on a low fat regimen? Knowing the individual concerns of every family member will help you choose meals more thoughtfully. Incorporate individual fitness goals into the meal plan. For example, does everyone in the family need to lose weight? Does your growing toddler need to pack in more pounds?
- Make each meal a proper balance of nutritional needs. Each meal should have a protein source, a carbohydrate source, and a fiber source. Make at least one item per meal raw, fresh or eaten in its most natural state. For example, a breakfast fare ban be steel cut oats with some yogurt and a piece of banana. For lunch, it can be a whole wheat bread sandwich with lettuce, turkey and tomato. Dinner can be a serving of grilled salmon, a fresh salad and wild rice. If you don’t want to have too many things at one time, consider one pot meals such as a stew or a tray of pasta.
- Don’t forget snack options. If you don’t write in the snacks as part of your meal plan, make sure to tell everyone what the choices are and where it can be found. Baby carrots and other cut up vegetables, a fruit bowl or some whole grain crackers are excellent snacking choices.
- Put variety into it. Change up your protein sources. Don’t have chicken every night! Try turkey, pork and even tofu or veggie meat. Try other types of food, such as Asian, Italian, Indian and Thai cooking to change the flavors. Most people get off on their healthy meal plans because of the boredom that sets in from eating the same thing day in and day out. Introduce new flavors once a week to accustom your children to new tastes and various methods of cooking.
- Include cheat days and fun items. Block off a meal or two a week that allows you to eat out, call for take out or delivery, and simply indulge. If you eat well the rest of the week, you’ll be able to savor flavors of your favorite food without any guilt. Go ahead and have chocolate cake for dessert, as long as you had enough fruits during the day. Make your meal plan fun and practical by including treats. Also, you may not always be able to cook dinner so allow for some flexibility on the plan.
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