Tuesday, December 7, 2021

4 Factors to Consider Before Making a Meal Plan for Your Family


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Meal planning is the art of planning your family meals for optimum nutrition. Meal planning offers several benefits, making it essential to practice. Not only does it aid you in saving time when preparing meals, but it also helps manage portion sizes of effective weight loss management. What's more, it reduces food waste, helping you become eco-friendlier. Are you looking to save money while cooking tasty meals? Then you’d want to practice meal planning. Before creating the perfect meal plan, there are specific factors to consider, including the following. 

  1. Time and availability 

Creating a meal plan that you won't likely follow isn't practical. Indeed, a study by the Chicago Department of Public Health revealed that 38% of households find it challenging to make time to prepare healthy meals for their family. To avoid being part of the statistics, you should ensure that you have ample time for this purpose. That said, it’s prudent to critically examine your week to determine the exact time to spare for meals. As a tip, plan the easiest meals on your busy days and more elaborate ones when you have more time. For instance, you can grab a bagged salad during a stressful day. Likewise, you can also prepare a meal in the slow cooker in the morning if you have a busy afternoon. 

  1. Financial resources 

How much can you allocate to your meals? It is essential to factor in your monthly groceries allowance before drafting your meal plan. This is where budgeting comes in. According to financial advisors, it’s best to budget 10-15% of your monthly income for food. Depending on how much you earn monthly, you can decipher what kinds of food will grace your meal plan. By all means, avoid meals that will strain your budget. Better still, supplement your monthly allocation with coupons, and plan your meals around items in your grocery store’s weekly flyer. 

  1. Food variety 

Planning your meals doesn’t mean that your dishes have to be monotonous. Thankfully, you can make different culinary delights with your ingredients at home. Moreover, the U.S Department of Agriculture promotes healthy eating and has created MyPlate to encourage families to eat various dishes. This way, mealtimes are always anticipated and exciting. Furthermore, you can try meals from different countries for the best results. For instance, you can get the best frozen Chinese food to add some variety to your dishes. However, ensure that each meal contains fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein to ensure a balanced diet. 

  1. Availability of seasonal foods

Another way to create a feasible meal plan is to work with seasonal foods. Not only are they tasty and nutritious, but they are less costly. That said, it's vital to speak to your grocer to determine what food items are available for each season and create your plan around them. For instance, you can add orange juice to your plan if they are in season. Likewise, you can include blueberry pancakes and guacamole if blueberries and avocados are in season.

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