Meal Planning Ideas For A Healthy Week

It is possible to eat healthy even if you are strapped for both cash and time? All it takes is a little preparation, planning, and creativity. While cutting calories and exercising are both important to losing weight, in order to see real results, it’s also important to make changes to your lifestyle and eating habits.

Developing healthy eating habits is about much more than setting strict dietary limitations or depriving yourself of your favorite foods. Instead, it’s about improving your overall health, gaining more energy, and feeling better. Unfortunately, many people begin feeling overwhelmed by all of the conflicting diet advice and nutrition information.

how to eat heathy

It often seems as though for every piece of advice stating a specific food is good for you, there is another report stating the opposite. By following the tips listed below, you can slice through the confusion and learn how to create a healthy but tasty diet.

Preparation is the key to developing a healthy weekly eating plan. Many people find it beneficial to begin by making small steps. Rather than trying to do everything at once, consider small changes you can make. As those changes become healthy habits, you can then begin adding additional healthy eating choices.

For instance, make a commitment to preparing more of your own meals. Preparing meals at home can help you to save money as well as take control of what you are eating. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives. Rather than fry a piece of chicken, try grilling it instead. Make a point of reading nutrition labels to ensure you are aware of what is going into the foods you eat, particularly in terms of unhealthy fats and sugar.

How to cook healthy foods

Try to include a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits in your meals. Nutrient dense and low in calories, fruits and vegetables will supply you with ample amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As a general rule of thumb, you should set a goal of eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Not only will fruits and veggies give you a healthy dose of nutrients, but they will also help you to feel full naturally while cutting back on unhealthy food choices. Greens such as broccoli and kale are great additions to your diet because they are rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and vitamins, A, C, E, and K. Include sweet veggies, such as carrots, corn, sweet potatoes, onions, and squash to add a dash of healthy sweetness to your diet.

Fruits like berries and citrus fruits are a great way to bulk up on fiber while giving your body the vitamins and antioxidants it needs to stay healthy.

Learn the difference between healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs. Far too frequently, many people make the mistake of falling for the hype that all carbs are bad. This is far from the truth. Some carbs are actually good for you and deserve a place in a healthy diet. Healthy carbs include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.

Since these foods are digested more slowly, they help you to feel full longer while keeping your insulin and blood sugar levels stable. By comparison, unhealthy carbs include refined sugar, white flour, and white rice; all of which contain virtually no nutrients or fiber. As a result, these foods tend to digest quickly, which can result in blood sugar spikes.

And to include more healthy carbs in your diet, try to eat a variety of whole grains, such as brown rice, whole wheat, barley, and quinoa. Avoid highly refined foods, such as pasta, breakfast cereal, and bread that are not whole grain.

What are good carbs

If the thought of preparing a healthy meal every day seems overwhelming, consider preparing your meals in bulk to remove some of the burden and save time. Preparing several days’ worth of meals at a time can be a great way to get into the routine of preparing your own healthy meals.

Stir Fry

This is a great way to quickly prepare a healthy meal chock full of vegetables and protein. Simply choose your protein from such options as shrimp or chicken and then select your vegetables. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Throw in some pea pods, carrots, mushrooms, and bell peppers. It only takes a few minutes to whip up this tasty dish and the leftovers make a great lunch the next day.

how to cook stir fry

Ingredients:

• 2 tsp oil
• 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips, or shrimp
• 3 cups fresh vegetables of your choice
• 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Heat oil and cook meat until no longer pink. Add vegetables and soy sauce. Mix well. Cook additional two minutes or until slightly tender but still crisp.

Turkey Tacos

This is an excellent go-to-meal for staying healthy while still enjoying your craving for Mexican food. Make the switch from ground beef to ground turkey to make this meal healthy. Cook up a large enough batch of seasoned turkey meat and you can use it throughout the week for other healthy meals and snacks, including salads and nachos.

How to cook turkey tacos

Ingredients:

• 2 lbs lean ground turkey
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1 tsp paprika
• ½ tsp oregano
• Small bell pepper, minced
• ½ small onion, minced
• ¾ cup of water
• 4-ounce can tomato sauce, low sodium

Optional:

• Shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
• Low-fat sour cream
• Lettuce

Directions:

Brown turkey in a large skillet. When no longer pink, add dry seasonings and mix well. Add pepper, onion, tomato sauce, and water. Cover and simmer on low for approximately 20 minutes.

Fill taco shells and add desired toppings. To make this recipe even healthier, omit the taco shells and make turkey taco lettuce wraps by diving the meat equally among lettuce leaves, filling the center of each leaf with taco meat and desired fixings.

Minestrone Soup

This recipe only takes about an hour to prepare but will yield several large servings of soup that can feed your family one night or leave leftovers for lunch throughout the week.

How to prepare Minestrone soup

Ingredients:

• 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 large carrot, diced
• 1 ½ cups green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp dried basil
• Freshly ground pepper
• Kosher salt
• 1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
• 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
• 15-ounce can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 cup whole grain elbow pasta
• 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add carrot and celery until they soften, for about 5 minutes. Mix in green beans, basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add crushed and diced tomatoes along with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in past and kidney beans and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and top with parmesan cheese.

Developing healthy eating habits does not have to be overwhelming. By making small changes, you can begin eating healthier while still enjoying many of your favorite foods.