Making Meal Plans: Meal Ideas for Food Groups

Meal planning involves designing nutritious meals that are also tasty. When we plan nutritious meals, we try to involve elements from the basic food groups. Without meal planning, we sometimes tend to leave out a few essential groups. When our daily diet consists of food from just a few of the basic groups, we lack some of the nutrients that we need to be healthy.

Including Carbohydrates in Your Diet
Most of our meals tend to include carbohydrates. This is the easiest group to include in our meal plans. Breakfast might include cereal or bread or fried dumplings, which are made with flour. Lunch might include rice, a pasta salad, or sandwiches made with whole wheat bread. Dinner might include boiled green bananas, boiled yam, mashed potatoes, roasted breadfruit, or fried rice.

Including Protein in Your Diet
Beef, tofu, chicken, fish, corn and eggs are some of the sources of protein in our diet. Breakfast might include hominy corn porridge, wheat bulgur porridge, and fried eggs. Lunch might include roasted fish or braised tofu, or red peas soup. Dinner might include curried veggie chunks, baked chicken, jerk pork or stewed peas.

Including Vegetables and Fruit in Your Diet
It’s easy to snack on fruit and keep your weight down. Even vegetables make nice snacks. You can cut your favorite vegetables, such as carrots, for example, into sticks. Enjoy them plain or with a dip.

Include steamed callaloo, kale or another dark green vegetable in your breakfast; add lettuce, tomatoes or carrot to a sandwich for lunch. Make shrimp, chicken or tofu with stir fried vegetables for dinner. Serve pumpkin along with rice as part of dinner.

Fruits and vegetables can be used together or alone, to make fresh, healthy juices. You can include apples in a tossed salad with tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, raisins and cabbage and enjoy it at lunch or at dinner. Buy your fruit and vegetables at the farmer’s market for bigger savings.

Including Nuts and Oils in Your Diet
Including nuts and oils in your diet is easy. With nuts and oils, the challenge is usually keeping it below the recommended daily allowance. Nuts contain oils, which make them taste really good. It’s easy to snack on nuts through the day, or add nuts and seeds to cereal in the morning.

Many cereals are already made with a combination of nuts and seeds. Many stores sell your favorite nuts and seeds in wholesale quantities, so you can buy them like that and save money.

Butter, margarine, canola oil, peanut oil and olive oil are used a lot in cooking. Olive oil has many health benefits but it is more expensive than regular vegetable oil. You can use olive oil to make your own salad dressing, or put a little on your chicken when you’re baking it.

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