Last week Rachel shared five red flags to look out for when considering diet advice. In the blog, she
mentioned learning new skills that can improve your health, like meal planning, instead of focusing
solely on weight. Meal planning is a popular practice; especially at the beginning of the year when
people are trying to eat better, save money and be more organized. It can help you check off all three!
Today I’m going to share with you five tips for meal planning with health in mind.
- Include foods from each of the food groups. This allows you to get a variety of nutrients provided by
each of the food groups needed for good health. Our 5-Day Meal Planning Worksheet has a checklist at
the bottom to help you determine if you included something from each food group.
- Balance the food groups throughout the day. Aim to have 1-2 food groups at snacks and 3-4 food
groups at meals. For example, at breakfast you might have a scrambled egg, slice of whole-wheat toast,
an orange, and glass of milk. Then at snack you have celery sticks with peanut butter.
- Include two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables. This is a general guide for each person
per day. An example would be a banana for breakfast, an apple and broccoli for lunch, and vegetable
soup for dinner. To determine the specific amount you need and for information on what counts as a
serving, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
- Include whole grains. Whole grains have more fiber, which is important for health. It is recommended
to make half your grains whole grains. Therefore, if your family prefers white pasta, balance that out by
including other whole grains in your menu plan like brown rice or whole wheat bread.
- Include both plant and animal proteins. Animal proteins are a good source of iron while plant
proteins are higher in fiber. If you have chicken at lunch, consider having lentil tacos for supper. Or mix
both beans and meat with pasta instead of just meat.
If you’re new to meal planning, use our sample meal planning calendar to help get started. We also have
a new sample vegetarian meal planning calendar.
Next week Justine will share a recipe for Cheesy Chicken Casserole that you just might want to include
on your meal plan!