If you are one of the many families trying to tackle to problem of child obesity today then here are four tips to help you when it comes to meal planning:
Tip 1 - Buy the right ingredients. The starting point for any meal planning is to ensure that you are working with the right ingredients and here we would suggest that you should look at meals consisting of about 50% vegetables and fruit, 25% proteins and grains and at least one serving of milk or low-fat yogurt per day.
You should also look carefully at the amount of fat you are using in preparing foods and only add the bare minimum of additional fat where necessary. Wherever possible, use unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats or think about using low-fat or fat-free alternatives. Also, use healthy dressings when preparing salads.
Finally, remember to include a reasonable amount of fiber in your meals, which is not only healthy for you but also helps to fill you up so that you are not tempted to eat between meals.
Tip 2 - Breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a good breakfast will help you to work better and avoid the temptation for you to eat too much in the middle of the day.
Many people choose the easy option when it comes to breakfast and turn to breakfast cereals but the vast majority of these are very much in the 'junk food' category. Instead, try an omelet made with low fat cheese and vegetables, together with some whole grain toast. Alternatively, how about some fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt?
There are many choices available for breakfast but the biggest secret when it comes to healthy eating is not the skip this meal altogether.
Tip 3 - Lunch. Lunch is another important meal because you still have much of the working day ahead of you, but it is also in some ways the most difficult meal because you are often away from home and so tempted to pick up something to eat or to eat in the cafeteria. This is fine, as long as you select the right types of food, but if you have the time then packing yourself a homemade lunchbox is a healthier and cheaper option.
A simple lunchbox with perhaps a sandwich on wheat meal or whole grain bread, together with a salad and a piece of fresh fruit is great. You might also include some fresh raw vegetables, such as carrots, or some low-fat yogurt.
Tip 4 - Dinner. For many people dinner is the main meal of the today and it is important not only in terms of nutrition, but also because it provides a time for the family members to get together, relax and chat about their day.
The secret to preparing dinner though is to make it light since your level of activity in the evening following dinner is normally quite low and you certainly do not want to try to sleep on a heavy stomach. Grilled meat or fish, pasta or rice all make a good base for an evening meal but do not lace these with rich cream sauces or pile the plates too high. Also include things like whole grain rolls, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit and eat slowly taking time to enjoy your meal and each others company.
Finally, do not forget that it is alright to spoil yourself with your favorite dessert occasionally, including such things as ice cream and cake, but keep portions to a reasonable size and make this a treat for once or twice a week.