How to Plan Your Healthy Meals for the Week
As far as eating well is concerned, meal planning is of essence. It is one of the most important things you will have to do to get ready for success. The most effective meal plans are for a week only, and as you get adjusted, the duration may prolong for as long as a month. To tell you how to plan your healthy meals for the week, OneHowTo.com has broken down some basics here. Make sure to complement your meal plan with exercise and physical activity.
Identify your nutrient requirements
Nutritional requirements vary, depending on your size, sex, age and physical activity levels. There are charts that show daily amounts of nutrients recommended for a balanced, healthy meal plan. Typically, women require need less nutrients as compared to men, with the exception of fiber and salt. So, first of all, identify your nutrient requirements and plan accordingly.
A good idea to plan your meals throughout the week and make sure you're getting all of the nutrients you need is to keep a food journal.
Planning for breakfast
In the morning, you need to kick start the metabolism by including protein in your breakfast. Choose from lean ham, salmon, low-fat dairy or eggs. More calories are burnt while digesting protein than carbohydrates. So, make your breakfast rich in protein. This will rev up your metabolism and also keep you feeling fuller for longer. By the end of the day, you will end up eating fewer calories than normal.
Some good ideas to plan a healthy breakfast for a week are to top a toast with scrambled egg, some lean ham or a smoked salmon slice. If you have more time, you may enjoy a frittata or omelet. No matter how busy you are, never skip breakfast, as this will skyrocket your blood sugar levels, and you will end up gulping a lot of wrong foods later during the day. Breakfast is very important for your weekly meal plan, and it plays a significant role in maintaining healthy weight as well.
Have a mid-morning snack
Instead of taking three large meals during the day, eat little portions throughout the day. This does not mean eating more, but eating smaller portions more frequently. Each snack you gulp down counts, so it is important to keep healthy things at home only. Swap those morning biscuits with oatcakes spread with almond butter or peanut butter. Take a veggie stick and dip it in a tasty sauce or arrange different seasonal fruit for the week so you don't get bored of having the same every day. Take a look at our article on snacks to bring to work for more ideas.
Plan the lunch
In a healthy weekly meal plan, lunch should be a mixture of starchy carbohydrates and lean protein. Foods rich in carbohydrates will supply you energy, without which you will feel slump by mid-afternoon.
The carbs that you choose should be able to raise your blood sugar steadily, which means that you should leave those white sugary foods and opt for high-fiber whole grains. An open rye-bread sandwich with chicken, salmon or low-fat dairy topping will be a good option for a healthy lunch. Take plenty of salads, and go for a whole-grain toast with baked beans topping. For a full list of ideas, take a look at our article what to eat for lunch to lose weight if that is your aim.
Grab a fruit to satisfy your sweet cravings and the need for energy. A handful of dry fruits with unsalted seeds or nuts will provide you healthy fats and protein. Such an evening snack will keep you full till dinner. Combine during the week with unsweetened yogurt so you don't get bored.
Planning for the dinner
Don’t cut out carbohydrates, as they are low in fat, rich in fiber, and keep you relaxed. Combine these with healthier essential fats commonly found in salmon, sardines and mackerel, in addition to seeds, nuts and their oils. Healthy fats will be used overnight for repair and regeneration, which will be very important for hair and skin health. Fill your plate with colorful vegetables or salad, and drizzle with rapeseed oil or flaxseed oil. Add fish, beans and meat with quinoa, wholemeal pasta or brown rice. Click here to know How to Prepare Healthy Dinners.
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