On a busy day, one can automatically turn into a picky eater. Sad to say, our impulsive eating habits make us eat foods that may not be healthy for our bodies. Meal planning is essential in reducing some unhealthy eating habits and preventing food problems or disorders such as obesity. Planning your meals will nourish you and your family’s body and blood.
Defining a Healthy Family
A healthy family is one that meets all the food and nutritional needs of each member. Experts will tell you a family that eats a well-balanced diet is a healthy family. With that in mind, you can now begin by determining the eating behavior or pattern in your home.
Determine Your Family Eating Behavior and Meal Patterns
Our eating habits, food choices, and motives usually depend on energy needs and lifestyle goals. Almost all food and nutrition experts would recommend a meal intake of at least three times a day. Others will suggest that five to six small meals per day plan can help prevent metabolism from slowing down. If you are in the fitness world, then you might have done two meals a day to lose weight and feel less hungry.
All in all, the meals you take should be in line with your body’s dietary and energy needs. Each member of your family, including yourself, has an energy requirement to stay active, focused, alert, and confident throughout the day. The energy you need depends on age, size, activity level, and lifestyle goals.
Therefore, your family should be involved in every stage of the Meal planning process.
The Three-Meals Day Plan
Besides a healthy balanced diet, you should also factor in energy levels and choice. The two will help you keep your family nourished and energized. A three-meals day plan has breakfast, lunch, and dinner in which the food items vary significantly all over the world.
As the name suggests, it is a meal that one should take in the morning to break the usual night fast. The food item for breakfast will highly depend on the geographical location, traditions, culture, income, and what each member prefers.
A healthy breakfast can be a traditional dish of food or the typical cold cereal. You have an unlimited selection of food items for your morning meal, but what is most important is coming up with a well-balanced diet that provides the required energy levels.
A substantial meal of the day that is usually light and eaten at midday. This food item should compensate for the used-up energy. Some people will take a heavy breakfast and often forgo this meal and wait for dinner.
3. Dinner / Supper
An evening meal that is usually eaten 3-4 hours before going to bed. Just like breakfast, it should contain all the required nutrients and energy levels.
For each of the meals, you will need the following to make your planning more successful:
- Food digestion times chart
- Food recipes with precise preparation and cooking times
- Food energy and nutrition calculator
- A list of well-balanced food items
List of Food Items and Timeframes
The first thing in the planning process should be to list down the food items each member of your family prefers for each meal. After compiling the list, you can now add other recommendable food options. You should also consider the cooking or preparing and digestion time of the food items so that your family members can have their meals on time and feel energized.
Essential Elements of Food
Going through some of the popular morning meals around the world, it is evident that an ideal meal should contain:
- Sugar or Carbohydrates
You can find these groups of food in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and animal products. The best way to meet the energy levels of each member of your family is by rationing the food. This way, each member will have enough.
How would you get your family to eat new food items?
Our eyes often deceive us into eating what we can reach out. Between a plate of cookies and a basket of fruits, which one do you think will go fast? Of course, the plate of cookies! Therefore, we pick what we like but not what is best for us.
What if there is only a basket full of fruits on the table, do you think that your family will see the value in them? Yes, because, at this moment, hungry people see food, they don’t see right or wrong.
If you wish to introduce the habit of taking more fruits, make sure that there is no other competing food item next to them. If this does not work, you can try to add value by making juice or smoothies to replace other drinks.
Generally, the meals should be at least 5 hours apart, and no one should eat anything between breakfast and lunch or lunch and supper. A glass of water is allowed 3 hours after or 30 minutes before a meal.