For those with busy lifestyles, meal planning can be a chore. By the time six oclock comes around, if there is nothing prepared, the easiest option is to order takeout. But that can get expensive, and restaurant food isn’t always healthy. Planning your meals is the best way to know what goes into your body. With these tips, it no longer has to be a chore, but instead, a simple step on the path to good health.
Stock Up with Staples
Keeping the essential staples on hand is important, especially if you need a last minute substitution. Olive oil, soy sauce, eggs, beans, whole grains and lemons are always handy to have around, as is having extra meat stocked in the freezer. If you love to cook with herbs, dried ones are okay, just be sure to refresh them every so often so they don’t lose their flavoring.
There’s An App for That
Meal planning has just gotten easier, thanks to all the apps available. Real Simple: No Time to Cook and Su Chef: Healthy Recipes walk you through the planning process step by step, including setting up a recipe database based on your favorite ingredients, and even preparing a shopping list for you. You can plan out your meals a day, a week or even a month in advance.
Focus On the Whole Foods
The best foods to put into your body are those that don’t come with labels. Foods in their purest form are dense with nutrients and great for an overall sense of well being. Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and avocados, and plant based proteins, such as beans and legumes are a beneficial addition to eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
Keep the Ratio
If you’re at a loss as to what to serve and how to portion it, remember this ratio: 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% protein and 25% grains. Proteins, such as meat and fish, as well as grains, can be prepared in advance and used as leftovers. Roast or sauté an array of vegetables and you have a nutritious, delicious meal in minutes.