How To Plan A Week Of Healthy Meals

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When you are thinking of ensuring health and fitness for you and your family, you should have some idea on how to plan a week of healthy meals. Being a mother of two growing kids, I have got used to the concept of planning week of healthy meals. When you are responsible for the wellness of your kids and other family members, you cannot just sit quietly without taking any step.

The food pyramidWhat are healthy meals?
If you search through reliable resources, medical journals or any health magazines, you will get to know the exact definition of healthy meals. To me healthy meals means, eating all kinds of nutritious and seasonal stuff in a proper and healthy manner. You have to be particular to buy different types of healthy foods, properly preparing those food items to keep the beneficial nutrients as it is and additionally, you should know which food product to serve when. In a nutshell, this is all about planning healthy meals. Now, let us take these points to clarify the concept.

Buying healthy foods
Buying healthy foods is the starting point of your weekly project. So, you should be very careful in this part. Before you go for your weekly grocery or other raw food shopping, keep in mind what you need to buy. This is the time when you will actually do the planning for the coming week. So, check your refrigerator, whether there is any previous item left or not. Depending on this, you will make a list for buying food items for the next week. While making the list, you should also consider about what you are going to serve in the coming seven days. You don’t need to exactly spell out the food items at this moment, because whatever you are thinking that may not be available at the market. But overall make Choices for healthy fooda list containing 5-6 types of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, eggs, lean meats, fish, whole grain bread etc so that you have a concrete plan of meals for the week ahead. At the vegetable market or grocery shop, check the quality of food before buying. While buying packed food items, check the nutrition label of the packet. Select foods on the basis of vitamins, minerals, fibers, proteins and carbohydrates, they serve. Avoid foods having high-fat, high-sugar or high-salt content. When you have completed your shopping for the week, you will be in a much better position to plan healthy meals for the week.

Cooking healthy foods
Even if you buy healthy and nutritious food, you cannot guarantee that their nutrition counts are going to remain same when they will be served on dining table. Much of nutrition and health value depends on the part of cooking. Frying or boiling the food items reduces the nutrition to a large extent. So, you should stick to healthy cooking methods like steaming, baking, grilling or roasting to keep the food value intact. Use fresh herbs or spices to add special flavor to your meals, but never make the meals too spicy or too oily. Always try to serve freshly cooked warm food to your family. In case you need to cook ahead of time, then store the food in right way, so that it does not get stale and lose the nutrition. Restrict yourself from adding too much of salt, sugar or oil in the cooked food. You will easily get used to all these do’s and don’ts of cooking within few months. However, at the initial stage if you need some guidance, you can follow the instructions of any cook book on healthy recipe.

Serving healthy foods
This part is perhaps most tricky among all. You can either plan for the week in advance or you can plan for everyday, whichever you are comfortable with. From my experience, I can suggest you that some of the food items have to be served on a daily basis, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals or bread, dairy products etc. Along with this, you can prepare meat for 2 days, fish for 3 days, poultry for 1 day and vegan for 1 day. This is just an example, which you can definitely customize for yourself. Whatever you do, just keep in mind that you should maintain a balance of all kinds of foods for everyday. Starting from the breakfast to the dinner, you should select the meals in such a way that all kinds of nutrients including carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals, fibers etc are consumed for that day. If you want to be more specific in terms of calories, then you can contact a dietician to make a chart on weekly plan of healthy meals. Once you get habituated with following the chart, you can be more confident to make additions or subtractions to the list by keeping the food value untouched.

Planning of healthy meals for your family is not that difficult, simply you need to gather some experiences on handling the food department of your home.

Image Courtesy: nicegut.com,childrenshealthyfood.com

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