Finding good healthy eating plans can be a challenge. Most have you eating tasteless, low fat foods, involve too many expensive, hard-to-find ingredients, or require you to eat something different from the rest of your family. Healthy meal plans don't have to be complicated and should be tasty and nutritious enough for the whole family to enjoy.
Our free healthy eating plan does not require you to be on a "diet"! While you will likely lose some weight in the bargain, the main reason for using a healthy meal plan is to allow you to gradually adopt long-term healthy eating habits. Our healthy eating plans will never make you feel deprived of food. And it's easier to prepare healthy family meals if some of the planning is already done for you.
Because childhood obesity is an increasing problem, planning healthy eating for children is very important. The earlier children learn healthy eating habits, the better. You will give them a good head start on a lifetime of healthy eating by providing plenty of opportunities for them to choose healthy foods.
Learning some basic cooking techniques is fast and easy, and you don't have to be Julia Child! For instance, you can learn how to cook asparagus in just a few minutes and you'll have a healthy ingredient for any number of tasty dishes.
If you take a little time once a week to make a healthy eating plan it will keep you from falling back on old bad eating habits by resorting to too many take-out meals or eating junk food. Get the whole family involved so everyone has the opportunity to have a meal they really love each week. You can use our free meal plan worksheet to help you schedule a week's worth of healthy meals, along with a weekly shopping list.
Some things to consider when planning your meals for the week:
Eating a healthy breakfast is very important in getting your day off to a good start. People who eat breakfast have more energy, better concentration and solve problems easier than those who skip the meal. After a 12-hour overnight fast, your body needs to replenish its resources if you want to avoid feeling tired and irritable throughout the day.
And studies have shown that those who eat a healthy breakfast have lower rates of overweight and obesity. Skipping breakfast can increase your body's insulin response, increasing fat storage and stimulating weight gain.
Here are a few suggestions for a healthy breakfast:
And nobody says you have to eat breakfast foods for breakfast! If you just don't like breakfast foods try some of these instead:
Lunch is a meal too often eaten in a hurry. Part of the success of the "Mediterranean diet" is no doubt the fact that the countries that follow it usually take two hours for lunch. Most people, however, are not as lucky and must adapt their lunch "hour" to their work schedule.
Just because you have a short lunch break shouldn't mean you have to rush through it or eat whatever is most quickly available. With a little forward planning you can still enjoy a healthy lunch that won't leave you with the munchies a couple of hours later.
One of the most important things to do during your lunch break is to avoid eating lunch at your desk.
Your lunch break isn't just about replenishing calories, it's a way of "recharging your batteries." Try going outside to get some sun and fresh air, perhaps eating in a nearby park. If that is not possible, even in the office cafeteria is better than eating lunch at your desk. You will return to work feeling much more refreshed and clear-headed.
Eating a healthy lunch doesn't have to take a lot of time. If you take the time each week to make a daily healthy eating plan, then lunch will not be something you had to put together at the last minute as you are rushing out the door in the morning or make you resort to eating unhealthy cafeteria foods.
You can make a week's worth of lunches on the weekend and freeze them in single serving portions, defrosting them as the week progresses. Things such as casseroles, stews and soups work well for this.
Of all your daily meals, it is easiest to make the effort to cook a delicious healthy dinner. Cooking a healthy dinner should be a pleasurable experience, preferably involving family or friends. But even if cooking only for yourself, think of it as a gift you give yourself. Put on some nice music, perhaps have a glass of wine, and enjoy the process of creating a healthy dinner.
If you need some inspiration you can rent some inspiring films about food, such as Babette's Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman, or Julie and Julia. I defy anyone who watches one of these films to remain reluctant to cook afterwards!
A healthy dinner can be simple, nutritious, and tasty too. Everyone can contribute to the preparation and it's a good time to connect with family members. You can discuss your day while cutting up broccoli or making a salad.
Some healthy dinner suggestions:
The menu can be as simple or complicated as you choose. Our healthy eating plans provide recipes from a wide range of foods and cooking techniques. And cooking a healthy dinner will provide your body with enough good nutrients to help you sleep well until breakfast. So try the first of our healthy eating plans below and see how much effort it saves you! Clicking on each link in the following free healthy eating plan will take you to the recipe.
|Sunday||Smoked salmon frittata||Spicy beans and rice||Artichoke chicken (one dish)|
|Monday||Tomato and ham breakfast melt||Honey-baked lentils, green salad||Baked sea bream (one dish)|
|Tuesday||Blueberry oatmeal||Spinach quiche||Harvest chicken, steamed broccoli|
|Wednesday||Whole wheat strawberry-banana muffins||Stracciatella Romana, green salad||Apricot-glazed pork chops, green beans with almonds|
|Thursday||Mango-blueberry smoothie||Spicy butternut-squash soup with multi-grain bread||Seared salmon filets, sauteed spinach with garlic|
|Friday||Banana bran muffins||Double-broccoli quinoa||Chili con carne, green salad|
|Saturday||Whole-wheat berry pancakes||Southwestern omelet wrap||Wild mushroom lasagna|
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