One key element in maintaining a healthy diet over the long term is proper planning. Poor food choices often occur when you are not prepared for the meal and end up grabbing fast food or some other unhealthy convenience food. Knowing what you will eat ahead of time and having all the ingredients ready as part of a weekly plan makes eating right much easier.
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When you are creating weekly menu plans, keep it healthy by limiting foods with saturated fats and sugar, processed foods and fast foods. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time, such as chopping vegetables or making one-pot meals that can be heated later. Eat slowly during each meal, and aim for smaller portions than you would normally eat. Mix up the meal combinations from week to week so you don’t get bored with your food. Consider including one day per week where you allow yourself to eat fast food or other unhealthy choice to avoid feeling deprived and binging.
Many consider breakfast the most important meal of the day because you are literally breaking the fast you just went through while sleeping all night. Eating foods that have a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fiber will give you the boost you need without dragging you down. Choose foods such as boiled eggs or scrambled eggs with whole grain toast, yogurt and fruit, oatmeal, whole grain dry cereal with skim milk or a protein smoothie.
Some good lunch choices that will keep you going through the middle of the day include a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, bean burrito, minestrone or other low-fat soup or a tuna sandwich. You can also have leftovers from your dinner of the night before. Keep an eye on the condiments you use, such as mayonnaise, so you don’t take in too much fat.
Dinner time is an important meal in a healthy menu plan because you don’t want to eat anything too heavy too late in the day, when your activity levels are winding down. Include meal choices like broiled or baked fish, chicken breasts, lean beef, vegetarian chili or whole-wheat pasta with vegetables or tomato sauce. Sides can include wild or brown rice, garden salad or steamed vegetables.
Adding small snacks to your daily menu plan will keep your blood sugar at steady level so you can avoid binging. Foods like trail mix, raw vegetables, fruit or nuts will keep you going between meals.