Healthy eating involves incorporating protein, vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy in your daily diet. A balanced meal includes a serving from all five groups. When healthy meal planning, try to add each food group to the plate.
How to Make a Balanced Meal
Here are some good examples:
- Pasta is a popular menu choice for families. A spaghetti (grains) dinner includes meat and vegetables in the sauce. To balance the meal, include a side of fruit and a glass of milk.
- A brisk, cold days homemade soup or stew is a great way to incorporate healthy foods into your meal plan. A hearty beef stew contains both starchy and fibrous veggies and meat. Serve with whole grain rolls and seasonal fruit. Drink milk with your meal or have a fruit and yogurt parfait for dessert.
- If you enjoy oatmeal cooked with milk in the morning, consider flavoring the grain with fruit and yogurt. For added protein include a hard-boiled egg.
- When serving deli meat sandwiches for your mid-day meal, add cheese, a side fruit salad, and some sliced carrots.
By planning healthy eating with these guidelines, you can be sure to include adequate nutrition. By including options from all five food groups in every meal, you can satisfy even the pickiest eaters. As palates mature, you can get more creative with your healthy food choices. For example, you can try adding tofu in the mix, or putting extra vegetables in the stew, or tossing the fruit in a green salad.
Not every meal needs to be balanced perfectly. But it is a good criterion for everyday meal planning. It helps make healthy eating simply.
It may seem like an extra chore to create shopping lists that include all five food groups, but the process can be simplified. To keep it easy and interesting, ask yourself the following questions:
What is the season? Which fruits and vegetables are best this time of year? In the warmer weather, you may do more outdoor grilling. In the cooler months, your family may want soups, stews, and casseroles.
What healthy foods are readily available? Store a steady supply of nutritious staples in the freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards.
By answering these questions, you can discover meal ideas and healthy foods for the week. This process will make putting together a balanced shopping list less daunting.