Meal Planning: Your Ticket to Freedom

It's 5:30 p.m. and you're heading home after a long, full day. All of a sudden your mind turns to the daily question, "What's for dinner?"

Whether it's just you or whether you're preparing a meal for a whole gang, it's not an energizing prospect to imagine planning, shopping for or cooking a meal from scratch at the end of a long day.

That's probably why the fast food businesses are booming and why our health is suffering from the effects of these "easy" foods.

If you think meal planning is an unnecessary step, or that it would create a strict regimen that you'd be trapped by, read on about how meal planning can free you from worry and improve your health and well being.

REASONS FOR MEAL PLANNING

Less time and money spent at the grocery store

When you plan your meals out a week at a time, your trips to the grocery store become much more manageable. You know exactly what you'll need and you'll be less susceptible to "impulse" buying. Sometimes, when I'm feeling REALLY efficient, I even write my list in order of where I'll find it in the grocery store. Plus, buying the ingredients to cook a meal from scratch usually costs much less than the ready-made version.

Healthier meals = healthier you and your loved ones

When you're planning ahead, you'll have much more control over what you eat, and you can consciously choose to improve the health of your meals.

Better-timed meals

If you BEGIN planning and cooking dinner when you get home, it could be quite late before you're sitting down to eat it. The closer to bedtime it is when you finish dinner, the less likely you'll have time to properly digest and for your body to absorb what you've eaten. For breakfast and lunch, having the meals planned out can help remind you to STOP and EAT them.

Variety

When we choose our meals in the moment, based on what's fast, easy and enjoyable, we tend to stick to a few standby's and don't branch out very much. Nutritionally, this leaves us lacking. We also risk getting bored with our food and looking to fast food or unhealthier options for "excitement".

HOW TO PLAN YOUR MEALS FOR THE WEEK

1. Keep some spontaneity. You could just plan one part of the meal. For instance, if you know that you always have plenty of fresh of frozen vegetables that you can choose from, then simply plan "chicken, potatoes and vegetables". Then you can still have some spontaneity in your meal.

2. When you have time, make "frozen dinners". Make a double or triple recipe; package the leftovers in single (or family-size) servings and freeze.

3. Factor in schedule changes. Maybe the night after the big meeting or the night of the soccer tournament aren't the best nights to cook a meal from scratch. Plan a quick meal, take-out or your own "frozen dinner" for those nights.

4. Aim for balance. With the week spread out before you, look for balance between heavy and light meals, vegetarian and meat-based meals, and a variety of different-coloured fruits and vegetables.

5. Plan while you're in the kitchen. That way you can easily check for the ingredients of the dishes you're planning. If they're not there, add them to your grocery list immediately.

6. Keep an active grocery list through the week. That way, when staples run out you can add them to list.

7. Grow your recipe collection. Use the Internet, the cookbooks of your friends and family, magazines, etc. and find new things to try. One new recipe a week will keep things exciting!

8. Get some expert advice. Consult a trusted source such as Canada's Food Guide, or better still get individualized meal and nutrition suggestions from a registered dietician or a holistic nutritionist.

9. Make it a team effort. If you're feeding others as well as yourself, make the planning a team effort so that everyone gets some of their favourites through the week.

10. Always follow your plan, except when you don't. There are going to be things that come up, days that you just don't feel like eating what you've planned, or days when you've forgotten to do your nightly prep. Create a list of healthy stand-by's that you can throw together with the staples in your own kitchen. If you're on the go, be prepared by having a list of healthy choices at your favourite restaurants.

A meal plan is not a rigid "diet" or set of orders. The meal plan serves you, not the other way around.

Start now with tomorrow's meals. What can you defrost or partly prepare tonight to make tomorrow's meals easier and healthier?

(c) Copyright Linda Dessau, 2005.

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, is the author of "The Everyday Self-Care Workbook". For free resources, including your own Meal Planning Worksheet, visit http://www.genuinecoaching.com/resources.html

Downers Grove Chicago charter limousine ..
In The News:

A security flaw with Windows Wi-FI allowed hackers to break into PCs using wireless networks. Microsoft updated its security to address the vulnerability.
An artificial intelligence-aided robot from Mitsubishi Electric shattered the world record for solving Rubik's Cube in less than a second.
The Federal Communications Commission has identified the first artificial intelligence robocall scammer. The CyberGuy unpacks how to protect yourself and your information.
Stay up to date on the latest AI technology advancements and learn about the challenges and opportunities AI presents
The popularity of the theater experience may return with 4DX technology that adds a more real-life experience to cinema with motion seats.
The AirYacht is a 656-foot Swiss-made luxury craft that resembles a blimp with a 230-foot lounge area that can accommodate 10 to 40 passengers.
Because we have so many online accounts, it's important to manage them properly to prevent personal information from being compromised.
A controversial video, "EctoLife: The World's First Artificial Womb Facility," is fictional and does not depict an existing technology.
Stay up to date on the latest AI technology advancements and learn about the challenges and opportunities AI presents now and for the future.
Some of your information can be for sale on the dark web. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, those accounts are in jeopardy of being hacked.
You've got full control over Android's autofill password feature, which is here to stay. Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson explains how to activate the feature.
Apple has infused its operating system with artificial intelligence. The tech company also announced the macOS 15, iPadOS 18 and watchOS 11 at a conference Monday.
NewsBreak, backed by a blacklisted firm, reportedly spreads AI misinformation. Kurt “CyberGuy" Knutsson has the latest about the popular app.
Kurt “CyberGuy" Knutsson examines Kenworth’s SuperTruck 2, an aerodynamic tractor-trailer for better efficiency.
Kurt “CyberGuy" Knutsson shows you six steps to securely transfer data to a new computer.
Kurt “CyberGuy" Knutsson introduces you to a robotic dog with unnatural strength that is training for moon missions.
Your iPhone can do much more now. Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson describes his top five favorite new iPhone features that Apple has rolled out with iOS 17.
A head transplant video circulating on the internet was produced by a science communicator and film director known for blurring the lines between reality and science fiction.
While you may already use some of the many iPhone tricks out there, we’ve complied a list of six tips to try and six things to avoid to improve your phone experience.
Stay up to date on the latest AI technology advancements and learn about the challenges and opportunities AI presents now and for the future.
A Chinese network has scammed over 800,000 international online shoppers by tricking them into giving away credit card information. Here's how to keep yourself safe.
Telos has produced the electric Mini Truck that's compact enough to navigate tight city streets while also hauling cargo to the great outdoors.
Your phone, like so many other things you buy, comes with a built-in expiration date. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of its lifespan.
A new study projects that tech companies will exhaust the supply of publicly available training data for AI language models by sometime between 2026 and 2032.
Even tech giants like Google are not immune to privacy breaches, according to Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson, who tackles the issue and gives Google's explanation.

Sugar, America?s Drug of Choice

Many people use sugar as medicine. Sugar tends to change... Read More

Healthy Eating for Executives on the Run

For the executive, maintaining the much-needed balance between career, family,... Read More

The Dangers of Honey

Before we get to honey we have a question from... Read More

How Essential Fatty Acids Improve Your Brain Power and Mental Health

What is your brain made ofOver 50% of your brain... Read More

Learn About Food Nutrition Facts

Food nutrition factsFinding food nutrition facts and dietary nutrition used... Read More

WLS Patients Feeling Gassy & Bloated? Sugar Alcohol May Be To Blame

Sugar intake is a real concern for people who've had... Read More

Essential Fatty Acids -The Good Fats

Fats (triacylglycerols) ...Some basic terminology ...fat or fatty acid ...In... Read More

3 Things You Want to Know About Cholesterol

You wouldn't judge a book by its cover, would you?You... Read More

Unhealthy Foods: Five Sneaky Foods Revealed

With the array of different diets and diet foods available... Read More

Its Not That Bad - The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves

Some people say to themselves, junk food is not that... Read More

South Beach Diet - US vs. World

Diets concern especially Americans as they do have a "national... Read More

Bumble Bee Fish Oil - Do You Need It?

The makers of Bumble Bee Tuna generated some buzz today... Read More

Immunity and the Immune System

Since the 1930's the western diet has dramatically changed. This... Read More

The Face of the Waters

The story of creation begins with water. Water is an... Read More

Feeling Tired? No Pep & Zing? Tap Into Breakfast Smoothies!

I'm 40-something years old, and for 40-something years breakfast has... Read More

Five Steps to a Healthier Heart

Step 1: Eat five to ten servings per day of... Read More

Eat and Lose Weight - Its All in those MCTs

Can You Lose Weight Through Eating?You get fat when you... Read More

Is Dr. Arthur Agatston Fearing the Loss of Popularity of South Beach Diet?

Dr. Arthur Agatston, the cardiologist who developed South Beach Diet... Read More

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

Do you know anyone who can't consume milk or milk-based... Read More

6 Ways to Eat More Healthfully

With so much 'diet advice' around today it is little... Read More

How to Pick a Trainer ?

Quick Overview- I think the most important thing for people... Read More

Antioxidants - Add a Lean, Muscular Body to the List of Benefits!

I'm sure by now you've heard all about the amazing... Read More

A Healthy Diet Means Avoiding Trans-Fat as well as Saturated Fat

We all need fat in our diet on a daily... Read More

5 Ways to Get the Best Out of Radishes

They sit left behind on relish trays. They're often by-passed... Read More

High Acid Levels Lead to Cardiovascular Disease

THE RISKWhen you consume food that's high in acid or... Read More

shuttle to O'Hare Richton Park ..