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We plan everything from the number of delicacies to seating plans when it comes to organising a family event or dinner. But aren’t we all guilty of always wondering what to cook right before the meal time on usual days? Even nutritionists and dietitians have been raving about meal planning in advance because having your diet plan under control has numerous benefits.
According to Dr Zubeida Tumbi, Clinical Nutritionist and Founder, Health Watch Nutrition Clinic, “ The meal that you plan should have all 5 components of a healthy diet, that is, complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamin and minerals and water. Preparing a meal that is rich in all these sources will help ensure better health for you and your family. One should always keep in mind the portion required by the family and pre-prep the dough, soak the legumes and marinate the meat in advance for better absorption of nutrients.”
“Pre-deciding the menu for the week in advance will help you make healthy eating choices and will kill the urge to pick up a sandwich or a burger with high calories and lesser nutrient value,” Dr Tumbi tells HealthShots.
Having chalked down a menu beforehand will save you from hoarding cooking ingredients that you rarely use. It will be easier to decide what to buy and focus only on the required essentials for the planned meal. This way you can eliminate unnecessary items from your shopping cart, thus, saving you time and money.
Once you get the hang of planning your meals in advance, it will help you curb your constant hunger pangs and peckish feeling that leads to eating not so healthy, canned and packaged food. Eating healthy and nutrient dense food is crucial when you’re planning to switch to your healthier self. Pre-planning your meals will help you determine what you will be eating throughout the week and ensure that the ingredients are incredibly healthy.
It is stressful to plan last-minute meals. If you’re a working woman or a new parent, getting time to plan a healthy meal for your family is a feat to achieve. Therefore, planning a meal beforehand will keep your mind at ease. Planning the meals before the week starts will give you time to cook and prepare recipes in bulk. For example, storing boiled chickpeas in the refrigerator. You will be surprised to see how your stress levels go down just by knowing what to cook each day! Having everything in order is satisfying and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.
Everyone is guilty of buying a packet or two of an ingredient bought momentarily only to realize that you haven’t cooked it more than once . Deciding on your meals a week before and jotting down the list of ingredients before picking up the shopping cart will help you steer clear of impulsive shopping and helping you avoid food wastage. Since everything you buy has a purpose, the chances of it going to the dumpster is less.
Considering the items in your cart and the food in the fridge, it will help you determine how much food you actually consume in a week, breaking it down to the calorie intake per week. The process of pre-planning the meals will ensure that you don’t eat out and order in as much and inculcate healthy eating habits. Portion control is key!
Planning will let you add various dishes to the table since you no longer give in to the same idea of a basic comfort meal. It will help you prepare new dishes everyday rather than eating the same diet for dinner. For instance, you can swap between a vegetarian and non-vegetarian dinner every alternate day which keeps nutrition in order and your family will be happy to eat what they love.
Planning your meals will make a huge impact in your life. The more you get into the routine of pre-deciding your meals, the easier it will get. You will eat healthier, you will have time for yourself, your family will eat a quality meal each day and your pocket will thank you for it!