by Gillian Stephen
Would you like to eat healthier, but find it a struggle to fit into your busy lifestyle? Do you never seem to have the right food items on hand in your cupboards, having to make do with whatever odds and ends are available? Or how about opting to eat out or get take out to satisfy your immediate hunger?
This is where meal planning comes in as it prevents those times of not knowing what to eat, as you would have had the time to plan your meals for the week.
Day 4 –> Simple Meal Planning Techniques for Great Success
It starts with making a shopping list of the food items that you will need. Keep in mind that your goal is a balanced and healthy meal plan, so include more fruits and vegetables of differing colors for maximum uptake of vitamins and minerals. Other items include whole grains, fish, lean meat, beans, and low fat dairy. Limit items with high amounts of saturated fat, sugar and salt.
Once you have purchased your food, find some quiet time during the week to sit down and plan your meals and snacks for the week. This will help you keep an eye on whether you are getting the required amount of nutrients from your food and allow you to make adjustments as necessary. This doesn’t need to be a rigid process; in fact, modifying the planning process to best fit your schedule and your individual goals will only benefit you more in the long run.
It is also a good idea to have some of the following staples in your pantry at all times so that you can easily put together a nutritious and tasty meal or snack anytime.
- Herbs and spices such as thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and curry powder
- Cooking oil such as olive oil
- Dried foods and starchy vegetables such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, potatoes and yam
- Onion, garlic and peppers
- Tinned food such as tomatoes, tuna, beans and sweet corn
- Ingredients for baking such as flour, baking powder, nuts and dried fruit
Day 4 homework –> Create a list of your “must have” pantry items and then create a list of a few quick meal and snack ideas that incorporates these items. This way, when you forget to plan a meal or snack, you’ll have a healthy back up plan.