Planning our lives around food is essential. Eating together healthy, well planned meals is essential because it can help prevent disease, can maintain our weight by avoiding quick fix indulgences, can alleviate stress, and it encourages our children’s development.
Studies have shown that children who eat healthy meals together with their families at the table perform better at school. These children are also learning the value of love and the importance of good nourishment. Everything that is worth doing takes effort, time and discipline. Practice good eating habits 80% of the time and relax 20% of the time. ALWAYS STOP AND THINK BEFORE YOU EAT.
Also, our bodies need routine that is not too rigid but must be consistent. Consistency in eating habits, exercise and sleep patterns maintains your health by allowing it to regulate itself.
Here are some tips to help you succeed in planning your meals:
- Spouse/ partner: Discuss the importance of good nutrition with your spouse/partner and work out a plan of mutual understanding. If only one person plans and cooks meals find a way to share some of the responsibility. For example: The chef makes out the grocery list and the non-chef agrees to shop for the ingredients once a week. Or, the chef cooks, the non-chef cleans up. If you are trying to break bad habits or cut down on portion size or meat agree to support each other and to recognize the value these steps have towards your longevity and health.
- Children: If you have children get them involved as well. Talk to them about how important it is to eat well and together. Teach by example and they will learn a lifetime of good eating habits. Ask them to go online and to choose healthy recipes that they like.
- Plan Day :Take one day per week to look through recipes and plan your list accordingly. This could only take you one hour or less. Tip: search fliers for deals and makes meals according to the weekly special.
- Left -Overs: Choose recipes that can be used for dinner the next day or set aside a portion before serving that can be used for lunch for at least one person the next day. Also, left-overs can become another meal another day. Eg: roast chicken with veggies can be thrown in a soup pot with some water, barley and broth for soup.
- Minimize trips to the store: Plan for enough to last the week. Think of how many people are in your house and how much you will need for each person. For example plan your week as follows:Breakfast:
Monday to Friday: Porridge, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, fruit (eg: 5 apples for 5 days X # of people in your household) milk, yogurt.
Saturday & Sunday: pancakes/eggs/fruit
Thursday/Friday: Lentil/bean salad
Mon & Tues: Chilli
Wed: Multigrain pasta & salad
Thurs: Roasted chicken & veggies with rice
Friday: hamburgers & home baked sweet potatoes and potatoes
|Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.|
|Choose vegetables and fruit with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.|
|Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.|
|Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.|
|Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.|
|Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day. Drink fortified soy beverage if you do not drink milk.|
|Select lower fat milk alternatives.|
|Have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often.|
|Choose at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.|
|Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.|
|Include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day.|
|Satisfy your thirst with water.|
|Limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt.|
Try websites at canadianliving.ca or mealplan4me.com. These sites will give you meal plans every day. Or google “menu planner free” and download a free menu planner. Good Luck!