The Benefits of Planning Meals

We are all naturally good at planning. Whether it’s planning our work week, scheduling to pick up the kids from school, or getting together with friends for mid-week dinner parties, we all have to plan.  

Although It could feel great to keep up our productivity level and rush to get onto the next task, sometimes we forget to think about what and where our next meal will be. By not planning our meals, we can easily slip into a pattern of indulging in unhealthy foods. Fortunately, with these easy tips, you can turn a hectic week into something stress-free while improving your own personal health and the health of your family.

Saving time: There are numerous advantages to planning your meals. By taking one day out of the week to prepare meals for the week with appropriate portions, you can better manage your time. The rushes you were previously in to fit in time to eat will reduce and will help you have a stress-free day.

Eliminating last minute stress: Believe it or not, you waste a lot of time each day contemplating what to make for dinner, and it’s stressful. You go back and forth between recipies trying to figure out if you have the right ingredients or if it would take too long to cook. If you have a meal plan, you can take care of things in advance and all that is left at the end of a long day is just getting it on the table.

Helping you avoid unhealthy choices: Instead of picking up last minute unhealthy foods for dinner, you can plan to include healthy choices such as complex carbohydrates: whole grains, fresh or frozen veggies, fresh fruit or frozen berries, whole wheat bread, low fat or fat free dairy, lean meats, olive oil, salads with balsamic vinegar, etc.

Short grocery trips: Meal planning helps you stay organized when shopping for groceries. Write a list and pick up all the ingredients you need for the week or month during a single trip to your local market.

 

3 Easy Ways to Balance Your Diet

When we think of healthy foods to eat, we immediately think about fruits and vegetables as the foundation of a healthy diet. We can’t rely on only produce to give us all our essential nutrients and protein. There are many other factors towards our diet that we need to keep in mind such as lean protein and whole grains.

Learn how you can balance out your diet in 3 easy steps:

Step 1. Foods are categorized in 5 main food groups based on their nutrient content. It’s necessary to your balanced health to eat from these five groups every day.

  1. vegetables and legumes/beans
  2. fruit
  3. grain
  4. dairy and alternatives
  5. meats and alternatives

Step 2. Eat in moderation. This could be difficult and a huge test on your self control but it is extremely beneficial. You can easily decrease overeating habits by limiting the amount of food on your plate and opting for more veggies and grains instead of loading on extra unhealthy calories. (Tip: If you need additional motivation and/or guidance, writing a meal plan at the beginning of each week could be your savior. Planning your portions and which types of foods you will eat can significantly reduce the need to overeat and mindless munch.)

Step 3. Limit your liquid calories. Drinking alcohol and other liquids that have sugar and calories such as: beer, mixed drinks, wine, sodas, sweetened tea or juice could throw off your balanced diet.  

  1. Juices that say they’re 100 % fruit juice still contain a high amount of sugar in them. If you’re going to drink juice, think about only consuming it occasionally and in moderation (for to six ounces).
  2. Eliminate sodas. If you’re drinking them for the caffeine try to stick with coffee and tea with slim milk and little to no sweetener.
  3. Limit the amount of alcoholic bevarages you have each week. The relatively high calorie count in alcohol can easily lead to weight gain and can produce nutritional deficiencies if consumed excessively. women should drink no more than 14 drinks per week, no more than three drinks in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
  4. A glass of wine or the occasional glass of sweetened tea is OK. Again, it’s important to enjoy these items when consumed in moderation.