A beginner’s guide to create healthy weekly meal plan
Healthy weekly meal plan guide helps you create your own healthy meal plans in order to follow a balanced and healthy diet. This guide also includes a free printable meal plan template that helps you be your own dietician.
After having shared around 20 meal plans with my followers on Instagram, I finally thought of putting up a detailed guide to healthy meal planning, here too.
A lot of my followers on Instagram shared positive feedback about this and I hope this guide will also help a lot more of you.
Almost all of us juggle with work, home, hobbies and everything else in between.
Although most of us know how health and nutrition should be the top most priority of our lives, we often tend to neglect it.
The answer that a lot of us give is ‘lack of time’.
One can certainly make time for ‘health’ with a little bit of planning and preparations.
Meal planning has now become one of my most favourite activities. It has not only made my life easier, but has also helped us lead a healthier life in terms of food and nutrition.
What is a weekly meal plan?
Remember how we wake up everyday thinking ‘what do I cook for breakfast/lunch’ or make a phone call to your partner later in the day to ask ‘what are we having for dinner’ ?
Meal plans help you answer this question but not just for a meal, but for the whole week. So much less stress when you have a plan, right?
So, if you want to judiciously invest your time in the kitchen and serve healthy homemade meals every day, a meal plan chart certainly comes handy.
Basically, meal planning is deciding the whole week’s menu in advance and shopping your groceries accordingly or vice-versa.
It could also include meal prepping, which definitely helps cut down the cooking time on busy mornings.
A meal plan is a simple but effective way to improve the quality of your meals, save time as well as money and most importantly, reduce your stress.
Super six components of a healthy weekly meal plan
Healthy weekly meal plan, for me, is one that involves a well balanced diet.
A diet that perfectly strikes a balance between all the food groups (carbohydrates, protein, fat) in the right portion.
Every food group and associated micronutrient is essential to the body for various functions to take place.
I could get an excellent understanding of balanced diet, food & nutrition, through ‘Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight’. (link for Indian residents)
‘Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight’ (link for US residents) is definitely a book that I would recommend for everyone.
I am now my own dietician and can prepare my meal plans based on these super six components. 🙂
1. At least 3 vegetables a day–
It could be as raw veggie salad or as a curry or stir-fry. I try to use at least 1 seasonal vegetable in a week. But, it is always to better to include more seasonal produce.
2. 2 to 3 fruits a day–
We start our day with a fruit, mostly a banana. When the 4 or 5pm hunger strikes, it is again 1 or 2 fruits. They are the easiest and simplest snack options. WHOLE FRUITS ONLY, not as juices or smoothies. You do want those fibres, don’t you?
Fruits and vegetables are the powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, that are commonly called micronutrients.
3. Protein sources–
Vegetarian protein source like pulses (lentils, chickpeas,green gram, kidney beans, black eyed peas, black bean etc), vegetables (like broccoli, peas, spinach, mushrooms to name a few). Egg whites if you are an eggetarian.
4. Good fat sources-
Adding good fat along with your carbohydrates helps in slowly breaking down the carbs and not cause immediate spike in sugar. Good fat (like coconut, avocado, nuts, seeds, ghee, paneer, tofu etc) are in fact needed to absorb some of the nutrients into the body.
5. Yogurt or Buttermilk-
Some people neglect curd (yogurt) or buttermilk in their meals. But, after a spice loaded meal it is extremely important to balance it with a cup of curd or curd rice or buttermilk. It is a good probiotic that is gut friendly and also one of the best protein sources.
6. Whole grains at least thrice a week-
Carbohydrates are the major macronutrient in most of our meals. While it is important to include them, one must also not forget that it is important to use whole grains more than refined grains (white rice or refined flour-maida).
Therefore, my mantra is to use whole grains at least thrice a week. It could be whole wheat (atta), millets , brown rice, quinoa, jowar etc.
Download the meal plan guide to get the complete list of vegetarian and vegan protein sources, good fat sources and whole grain options.
Sample healthy weekly meal plan
Meal Plan 1
Meal Plan 2
Do you want to get meal plans every week, right to your inbox?
Here is a surprise gift!
As a freebie, I am giving away my free printable healthy weekly meal plan template to you all.
It includes a small guide, 5 steps to plan your weekly meal plans, a table of vegetarian protein sources, good fat sources and whole grain options.
How cool is that?
I’m sure this template would make it much easier for you all to plan your healthy balanced meals, like nothing less than a dietician.
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I hope this guide gave you an insight to weekly meal planning and would help you plan your meals effectively.
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