Meal planning is a strategy to help you and your family stay on track with healthy eating. Mapping out a weekly menu and writing a grocery list will set you up for a week of healthy, delicious meals. The benefits of menu planning include decreased stress, steady blood sugars, increased energy, fewer skipped meals, saving money, and reducing food waste. Here are some tips to get you started:
Plan your menu around fresh, whole food that supports and nourishes your body. Real food contains nutrients that our bodies need to function in a healthy way. Real food is grown, raised, and cared for by someone; it is NOT a substance developed in a food lab. Foods that are refined and processed lack the basic nutrients needed to thrive.
Plan meals one week at a time and remember there is no right or wrong when it comes to menu planning. Do what works best for your family. Choose dishes that are family favorites and mix it up with a few new recipes throughout the month.
Menu diversity helps prevent boredom, provides a broader scope of nutrients, and increases joy and interest in eating. If you have picky eaters, try a healthier version of a family favorite. For example, add some veggies to your chili, swap out regular fries for sweet potato fries, or try zucchini noodles or whole wheat pasta to replace or mix with regular white pasta.
Break down your list into categories. One helpful group is: “grab and go.” Here you can list healthy snacks, quick and easy lunch ideas, and “no cook” options for busy on the go weeknight meals.
One of the most significant benefits of menu planning is the ability to make extra for leftovers that you can eat for lunch or freeze for a busy night. Homemade soups and stews are great “freezer ready” dinners.
Plan your menu around real food, that is foods grown, raised, and cared for by someone, NOT a substance developed in a food lab.
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