Healthy Menu Planning

Healthy Menu Planning

is thinking about meals and organising them in advance. This will also fit well into your shopping routine since you can buy all you need in one shopping trip. Being organized also cuts down the chances of having to resort to takeaways or quick fixes which aren’t always a healthy option.

With the information we have provided on other pages such as Healthy Eating you will be able to work out the types of food you need in your diet.

The tips include important facts about your health and why you should think about lowering your cholesterol, reducing salt intake and limiting the amount of fat in your diet.

Healthy menu planning doesn’t mean that you have to eat the same food every week. There should always be room for spontaneity and surprise within the basic framework of menu planning.

Time Constraints.

When planning your weekly menus don’t forget to take your leisure activities into consideration. For instance if you have an evening at home you can think about more preparation time for a meal. If you are rushing off somewhere after work it might pay to have a meal prepared in advance. Use Healthy Menu Planning to tailor your meals to suit your lifestyle. This way you will benefit time wise as well as health wise.

These Healthy Menu Planning tips should help.

Healthy Menu Planning for Breakfast

Strategy #1Choose fruit more often. Just a few great choices in the fruit family are: cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, oranges, bananas, pears, and apples.

Strategy #2  Choose whole-grain cereals and products more often. Examples are whole wheat or bran breads, bagels, and cereal.

Strategy #3  Fruit juice and milk are familiar breakfast drinks. For an extra boost in the morning, why not try a fruit smoothie made from juice, fruit and plain yoghurt blended together.

healthy menu planning prunes and yoghurt

Prunes and Yoghurt

These breakfast choices are sound nutrition choices because they are not only low in fat and cholesterol but also provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Healthy Menu Planning for Lunch

Strategy #1 Try a fibre-rich bean, split pea, vegetable, or minestrone soup. Use commercially canned and frozen soups and cream soups less often as they can be high in sodium and fat. If you make your own soup, use broth or skim milk to keep the fat content low.

Strategy #2 Have a bean salad or mixed greens with plenty of vegetables.   For fibre include some vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and kidney or garbanzo beans.   For a low-fat dressing, try lemon juice or a reduced-calorie dressing. If you use regular dressing, use only a very small amount.

Strategy #3  Try sandwiches made with water-packed tuna, sliced chicken, turkey, lean meat, or low-fat cheese, and use whole-grain bread or pita bread.   To decrease fat, use reduced-calorie mayonnaise, or just a small amount of regular mayonnaise, or use mustard. Mustard contains no fat.

Strategy #4   For dessert, have fresh fruit, low-fat yoghurt, or a frozen fruit bar.

Strategy #5  Fruit juice and skim milk are good beverage choices. Soda with a twist of lemon, lime, hot or iced tea with lemon, or coffee without cream, these are refreshing drinks.

At lunch, try to eat these foods less often:

  • Processed luncheon meats.
  • Fried meat.
  • Fried Chicken.
  • Fried Fish.
  • Creamy salads.
  • French fries.
  • Richer creamy desserts.
  • High-fat baked goods.
  • High-fat cheeses such as Swiss, cheddar, and Brie.

healthy menu planning

Healthy Menu Planning for Dinner

Strategy #1  Eat a variety of vegetables. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, kale, and yellow-orange vegetables winter squash and sweet potatoes. For old favourites, like peas and green beans, skip the butter and sprinkle with lemon juice or herbs. Or, how about a baked potato with the skin, and topped with low-fat yoghurt and chives,

Strategy #2  Try whole-wheat pasta and casseroles made with brown rice, bulgur, and other grains. If you are careful with preparation, these dishes can be excellent sources of fibre and low in fat.

  • Here are some ideas for grain-based dishes:
  • Whole-wheat spaghetti ,with fresh tomato sauce.
  • Whole-wheat macaroni and chickpea stew in tomato sauce.
  • Tuna noodle casserole, using water-packed tuna (or rinsed, oil-packed tuna), skim milk, and fresh mushrooms or sliced water chestnuts.
  • Turkey, broccoli and brown rice casserole using skim milk and egg whites.
  • Eggplant lasagne, made with stir fried eggplant and part-skim mozzarella or ricotta cheese.

Strategy #3  Substitute whole-grain breads and rolls for white bread.

Strategy #4  Choose main dishes that call for fish, chicken, turkey or lean meat.   Don’t forget to remove the skin and visible fat from poultry and trim the fat from meat. Some good low-fat choices are:

  • Flounder or sole Florentine, (make the cream sauce with skim milk).
  • Baked white fish, with lemon and fennel.
  • Chicken cacciatore Italian-style, (decrease the oil in the recipe).
  • Chicken curry served over steamed wild rice (choose a recipe that requires little or no fat.
  • Light beef stroganoff with well-trimmed beef round steak and buttermilk served with brown rice.
  • Oriental pork made with lean pork loin, green peppers and pineapple chunks served with noodles.

Strategy #5 Choose desserts that give you fibre but little fat such as:

  • Baked apples or bananas, sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Fresh fruit cup.
  • Brown bread or rice pudding made with skim milk.

For many, the end of the workday represents a time to relax, and dinner can be a light meal and an opportunity to decrease fat and cholesterol.

Healthy Menu Planning for Snacks

Strategy #1  Try a raw vegetable platter made with a variety of vegetables. Include some good fibre choices carrots, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans.

Strategy #2   Make sauces and dips with non-fat plain yoghurt as the base.

Strategy #3 Eat more fruit.  Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, apples, pears, bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe are all good fibre sources. Make a big fruit salad and keep it on hand for snacks.

Strategy #4   Plain, air-popped popcorn is a great low-fat snack with fibre. Watch out! Some pre-packaged microwave popcorn has fat added. Remember to go easy on the salt or use other seasonings.

Strategy #5   Instead of chips, try one of these low-fat alternatives that provide fibre; toasted shredded wheat Squares sprinkled with a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese, whole-grain English muffins, or toasted plain corn tortillas.

Strategy #6   When you are thirsty, try water, skim milk, juice, or soda with a twist of lime or lemon.

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Healthy menu planning is the same as any other part of your life.  If you don’t plan, it will happen anyway, and that is when we fall into the fast food trap. Healthy menu planning is essential, but not only will it give you a healthy diet, it will also save you time and money.

By using these healthy menu planning ideas, trying recipes that have been modified to decrease fat and sodium and increase fibre, and planning meals that are high in fibre and low in fat, especially saturated fat, you will be providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

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Most people are locked into eating patterns that haven’t changed much since they were formulated in childhood. The truth is most of us only ever try a tiny fraction of all food that is available to us. Sometimes it’s laziness- stick to what we know- it is easy: it simply doesn’t occur to us to do something different.

Within your healthy menu planning, try experimenting, get into the habit of trying something new on a regular basis.  No need to go overboard, one item at a time would suffice. Try just one piece of fruit or a vegetable that you have never tried before.   Go ahead and surprise yourself, an eating rut is just like any other rut, boring!

Healthy menu planning will allow you to Eat Well… And Eat For a Healthy Life

Need more help with diets, try:

Triple Complex Slimmer’s Assist

For more information on
Healthy Eating
, try one of these pages.

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Learn about critical food safety and how to avoid food poisoning.

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Healthy Eating   Back to the home page of healthy eating.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips