It’s never to late too embark on new healthy habits, especially regarding nutrition and menu planning – a concept I wholeheartedly support in my practice as a naturopathic physician.
Menu planning might sound like a chore, but its benefits are far-reaching. It’s a powerful tool to enhance your nutrition, save time and money, and foster family involvement in the kitchen. I find it’s one of the best ways to improve your nutrition or stick to a new dietary regime. When you plan your meals, you take control of what goes into your body. Menu planning allows you to make conscious choices about ingredients, ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet. You can incorporate more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals, leading to improved health. It saves you time and money. How often have you found yourself wandering the supermarket aisles, aimlessly grabbing whatever looks good? Menu planning eliminates this wasteful habit. Creating a shopping list based on your weekly menu not only saves you money but also precious time. No more midweek grocery store rushes. You’re also less likely to cave in and eat out, pick up fast food or order food in, which will save both your money and your waistline. Menu planning also helps engage family members and models and is an important life skill to children. I recommend involving your family or roommates in the process. It’s a wonderful way to bond and instill healthy eating habits in children. Plus, it takes the pressure off the primary cook. Get the kids to help choose recipes and assist with food prep.
Whether you’re feeding a family or flying solo, these practical tips can help you get started with menu planning. For families, I recommend gathering your family for a weekly meal planning session. Discuss everyone’s preferences and dietary needs. Try theme nights when you dedicate specific nights to themes like Taco Tuesdays or Meatless Mondays. It adds variety and simplifies planning. Then you can meal prep together; kids can wash veggies, while adults handle the cooking. For singles, I encourage preparing larger quantities of meals and freezing individual portions for future use. It reduces cooking time during the week. For ideas, explore meal planning apps like Eatthismuch.com that offer single-serving recipes and shopping lists tailored to your needs. Plan to repurpose leftovers into new meals to reduce waste and save time. For instance, baked chicken breasts can be made into a chicken salad or stir-fry the next night. Roasted vegetables are delicious in a salad the next day.
I underscore the importance of menu planning in my naturopathic practice. Menu planning is a cornerstone strategy when I coach my patients on nutrition. It empowers them to make lasting changes to their eating habits and supports their overall well-being. So, if September feels like your chance to embrace a fresh start, then try scheduling a time each week to practice menu planning. You’ll reap the rewards of improved nutrition, time and money savings, and enhanced family involvement in the kitchen. Happy menu planning and bon appétit!