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Invest your time in devising weekly meal plans, it can change the way you eat!

When we stroll in vegetable mart or shopping complex, we are so used to checking out groceries and foods that are fancy and exotic looking. We are quite curious about the products displayed and while picking it, we ask ourselves, “Wow! What’s this new product?” “Oh, this is the pasta that I saw the other day on television. Maybe I should buy it?” “That’s a lovely packaging. Hope the cookies inside are as good as they look outside!”

Most of us buy groceries by seeing all these factors. We are carried away by catchy advertisements and clever marketing. But how many of us pause for just a moment to read the nutritional value printed behind the packaging? Only a handful!

Knowing about the foods we consume is the first step towards getting familiar with nutrition and nutritious food and thanks to National Nutrition Week for driving the importance of consuming nutrition-rich foods home every year.

Table of Contents

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An insight on nutrients

Nutrient is classified as micro and macro nutrients. While the former is rich in fibre, protein, saturated fat, vitamins and minerals, the latter provides carbohydrates for energy. Foods like rice, pasta and wheat are an example of macronutrients and vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, pulses and certain meats and fishes will fall under micronutrients.

nutrition with fruits and nuts
Choose fruits and nuts for snacking

Nutrition and the lack of it

Remember those days when our grandmothers and mothers used to consume Raagi, Bajra and millets as staple food? What happened to these foods? In the last few decades, many fibre rich foods have taken a back seat and polished rice became the major ingredient in Indian households.

The changing lifestyle and people’s preference has indeed played a key role in this. People have become so accustomed to starchy foods that any mention of foods like Bajra and Raagi is drawing negative reactions. These foods are a good source of complex carbohydrates and fibre rich.

Likewise, Consuming micronutrient-rich foods regularly has a great impact on our health since it is a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, potassium, calcium, protein etc.

And our forefathers knew better. They truly believed in the saying: food is medicine and medicine is food. They strongly relied on the goodness provided by Mother Nature. This is one of the reasons how our grandparents and their parents lived long and healthily.

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How to incorporate healthy eating

Planning meals on a weekly basis can greatly help in tackling this chaotic lifestyle and encourage healthy eating. This promotes healthy food habits. However, it’s not just about sticking to the devised plan. A weekly plan will work only when one is following religiously and abstain from temptations.

To make nutrition rich diet a success, bear in mind that avoiding junk foods that are high in cholesterol and trans fat is very important. It is wise to limit the intake initially and make it occasional (read cheat days) is wise instead of cutting it out completely.

A total abstinent will pave way for extreme cravings and one will gorge as if there is no tomorrow. Instead, having those foods once in a while with moderation will not only satisfy the taste-bud but also takes care of the occasional cravings.

Weekly nutritional plans also have another advantage apart from healthy eating. Since the meals are already planned, shopped and cut money spent on food is eaten outside, one can save quite some money. 

Here are some strategies one can implement while planning weekly meals and following these diligently will yield success.

Conjure up a food plan and stick to it

People who eat unhealthy foods often have an excellent excuse: a busy lifestyle. One should stop using this excuse and work around it. Yes, working days are hectic but weekends are an excellent time to plan meals for the entire week.

Note down the meals that you plan to consume in a diary or computer. Include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stock your pantry and fridge accordingly. Once planned, ensure that you follow it perfectly.

Cover important food groups

You might not be a fan of certain types of foods but if it has excellent nutritional value, it is very important to include it in the meal plan. For instance, some might not like spinach. But it has nutritional content and thus, it is considered an important food by health experts. Put health above your taste preference.

Include all the food groups in your meal plan. Your food plan must have foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, good saturated fats, fibre and protein. Also, keep the plan simple.

Give importance to native foods than exotic and unfamiliar foods. Native foods are easy to find and cook. This will make things much easier.

Avoid food wastage

The biggest advantage of a weekly meal plan is that you can shop just the amount you want for that particular day. For example, if you have planned to eat two eggs for breakfast and a bowl of salad for lunch for Tuesday, you’ll buy only that much.

This strategy works great when shopping for vegetables, dairy and meat. This will also discourage unnecessary food waste. Similarly, do not buy vegetables, fruits and meat for the whole week. These foods must be eaten as fresh as possible to enjoy its full benefits. Make time while at work and walk to the nearest grocery store to buy vegetables and fruits for the next day.

Snack healthily

We might have read about the ‘six meals’ plan. This plan is widely touted for a reason. When the three large meals should have a mix of micro and macronutrient foods, the three snacks consumed in between meals should focus on micronutrient foods.

Eat foods like nuts, fruits, high-fibre nut bars, seeds, beans and sprouts. These snack options are extremely healthy and satiate the stomach. Since these are high in fibre and protein, frequent hungriness will be taken care of. Diabetic patients and people who are looking to lose weight will get benefited by following this strategy.  

Timing and physical activity

The biggest advantage of a weekly meal plan is that you can shop just the amount you want for that particular day. For example, if you have planned to eat two eggs for breakfast and a bowl of salad for lunch for Tuesday, you’ll buy only that much.

This strategy works great when shopping for vegetables, dairy and meat. This will also discourage unnecessary food waste. Similarly, do not buy vegetables, fruits and meat for the whole week. These foods must be eaten as fresh as possible to enjoy its full benefits. Make time while at work and walk to the nearest grocery store to buy vegetables and fruits for the next day.

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