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Meal planning made easy

Making a weekly meal plan will make your life a lot easier

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Lists can be your best friend if you let them. Seriously. They want to help. Plan what groceries you want to buy before going to the store. This way you are less likely to overspend.

When putting your list together, remember balance. You recall the saying, too much of one thing is never a good thing? Think of that as your meal planning mantra. Healthy meal planning requires variety and sizing. Taking five minutes at the start of your week to do a list and proper shop means you won’t have to do a mini, mid-week shop and it’ll help reduce impulse buying. But don’t go shopping hungry whatever you do.

What you need: veggies, protein, grains, fruits, and water. How you get these is entirely up to you!

READ: Craving some more healthy breakfast recipes? Look no further

Health facts to consider:

  • Fish, poultry, and beans are a healthier source of protein than red meats
  • Whole grains are better for you than refined grains (white grains)
  • Dairy is best limited to 1-2 servings a day (low-fat, skimmed, and 1% are healthier than whole dairy)
  • When comparing the nutrition facts on food products, remember to look for lower levels of saturated and trans fats -zero grams of trans fat is a good thing
  • 2 litres of water a day is recommended to replenish your body of its fluids (water should be the #1 liquid in your 8 glass-a- day routine because it’s the healthiest for you! Really though, it helps your body do everything and keeps your skin fresh and healthy)
  • Soft drinks are loaded with sugars and preservatives, and are best to be had sparingly       
  • Frozen veggies and fruits are not a bad thing, but check the labels - fruits frozen in their natural juices are better for you, and remember to check for added sugars
  • This is a useful card to bring with you for your weekly shop:
    Food shopping card for checking the fat, sugar and salt content of food.

Let’s face it. Some days you are going to be much too busy to whip up a good and healthy meal. That’s okay! Running off to McDonald’s isn’t your only option. You can save cash and rack up the healthy calories by pre-cooking your meals. That’s the beauty of your meal-planning list: you already know what you have and what you need. 

So if you know you hardly have time to breathe on Mondays, just thank the good people of the 20th century for freezers and microwaves.
Go ahead and pre-prep your meal the day before and toss it in the freezer. You can even prepare for the week, just remember to cool any hot dishes before freezing them.

READ: Check out these quick, easy and healthy dinner options

Need some ideas?

  • Stews
  • Lasagne
  • Salads (keep in mind salads will be refrigerated and will not last as long!)
  • Marinated chicken or fish
  • Casserole
  • Homemade soups
  • Chili
  • Fish pie
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Enchiladas
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Published September 11th, 2014
Last updated January 4th, 2017
Tags food meal planning healthhack
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