It’s National Nutrition Month, so it’s a great time to think about ways you can add more nutrition into your everyday routine.. We would all love to add healthier meals to our lives using a more proactive approach to our nutritional intake.
Before we start thinking about how we are going to plan meals, we need to know exactly what we want to achieve according to our preferences and limitations. Some questions you might ask yourself in the goal-setting step include:
- Am I thinking of trying a weekly plan or something a bit more long-term?
- Do I enjoy preparing my meals way ahead of time, or do I like to be spontaneous while prepping?
- Do I enjoy cooking every day, or do I rather prepare everything once a week on an off day?
-Do I or any of my family members have any allergies or special dietary requirements?
This review will help you pinpoint what you might need and what you are able to do given your time and limitations. Once you set your goals, you will have the planning strategy to come up with a healthy game plan for the time span of your choosing.
Step 2: Build a Healthy Menu
For an easy start, you can sit down for around 20 minutes each weekend and set a weekly healthy meal plan for the following week. You can use a calendar to organize and visualize your meals. To prepare your healthy menu, keep these points in mind:
1. Consider making recipes that include healthy meal components. An excellent place to start is with the Five Food Groups: vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grains, and proteins.
2. Dig into fun recipes you’ve always wanted to try. You can find recipes that match your cooking skills and preferences online. Even if you are starting as a beginner, there are many easy healthy recipes you can start working with.
3. Keep dietary restrictions in mind. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or suffer from specific allergies, you can always create a perfect meal plan that matches the family’s nutritional needs while keeping in mind your limitations.
4. Think about the weather and themes. Maybe it’s rainy next week, or perhaps it’s your sibling’s birthday. You can plan according to how the week looks, whether it is a special soup that makes you feel cozy or innovative snacks for a special occasion.
5. Open the fridge and check out what ingredients you already have on hand. This will give you an idea of what you really need. Plus, it’ll save you a bit of money and grocery shopping energy for later.
6. Try to build a colorful menu, but don’t feel pressured to have something different every single day. Some days, work gets you down, and you are just too tired to cook or prepare anything, and that’s okay. While planning your menu, make space for the simple snacks and recipes that will energize you, like some oatmeal and yogurt and easy but hearty sandwiches for lunch and dinner.
Step 3: Prepare your Grocery List
Take some time to stock up on the essentials to help you get started on the menu you have set in the step prior. Keep a notebook and pen in a convenient location and add them to the list as you go through the prep. You won't have to stress about forgetting anything at the supermarket this way.
So, after setting your menu and checking your stock, add all the groceries you might need to the list. Then, check the cabinets, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer so you can check off anything that you might already have. This will help you reduce any food waste or extra costs for the week.
You can either use a cute notebook to get you going or use an application to track your grocery shopping. Some apps like “Our Groceries” and “AnyList” help you put together a great grocery list and allow multiple people to edit at the same time. Other apps like “Target’s Cartwheel” can even show you the best deals around for certain vegetables, fruits, and other items you might need for this week's meals!
Sometimes, grocery shopping can be a great hassle. So another good tip is to think about your availability for grocery shopping during the week and planning accordingly.
Step 4: Meal Prep for Busy Days
As a fellow busy person, you certainly understand the importance of prepping ahead of time to save time.. Here are some easy tips to help you on those hectic days.
So now that you have the essential tips and tricks, you can finally plan healthy meals. This routine will turn your health planning into a beneficial habit, significantly boosting your energy and health without increasing your expenses.