Healthy meal planning is one of those things every health-conscious person worries about. Wondering if we are eating the best way possible. As moms we have the added challenge of providing nutritious meals to kids who have their own ideas about what they will and won’t eat.
As a Health Coach, this questions puts me in a conundrum. People don’t like their food to be restricted. Seems inconsistent because they originally seek me out for advice on how to eat healthier.
Think about it though. When someone tells you what you can’t eat, isn’t that the first thing you want. The bottom line is, I don’t mess with my clients food…ever.
I do however educate them on how to eat well for their body type and health needs. So how do I educate them on meal planning if I don’t prescribe an eating plan? What do I tell the moms who have to consider everyone’s different tastes?
I believe it’s best to have guidelines for eating well that can be used to plan their meals around. Here are my most effective healthy meal planning guidelines for everyone. They can easily be adapted for the family:
The place to start is redesigning the plate. Start thinking of your plate in quarters. A healthy meal will start with three-quarters of the plate being covered in vegetables. This way the majority of the plate is light and provides the micronutrients that cut back on cravings for sweets or seconds.
For my family I usually have an offering of two vegetable-based dishes. Typically a green salad and another vegetable that is in season. This time of year we have a lot of roots, like sweet potatoes or carrots and cooked greens.
The other quarter of the plate has whole grains, beans, meat, fish, or poultry. This is the part I try to keep as organic as possible. These foods build your body and become a part of your cells. Quality is the most important focus for this part of the plate.
Consider the seasons you are eating in. What does the body need from your food to support the environment you are in. Cold weather is perfect for slow cooked soups and stews with hearty grains that warm up the body. As the weather gets warmer think about light and fast cooked foods for energy to get back outside.
Most importantly, when introducing new foods to keep it interesting for the adults, familiarity is your secret weapon. Be sure to have one thing in the meal you know they will eat but offer a No-Thank-You bite of something new.
A child needs to see a new food 15 times before it becomes familiar. Patience is your greatest tool. Eventually, they will be hungry enough to taste it and might find a new favorite.
Take back control of family meals by planning ahead and offering new, healthy alternatives. Life becomes easier for mom and rewards us with healthy kids.
Theresa Grisanti has studied nutrition and psychology with experts in this field for over 20 years. Using her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Nutrition, she combines an understanding of how our bodies function with who we are as individuals to coach people in making healthy choices that promote vitality. You can find more information about Theresa on her website.