Planning for 3 meals a day is important when you are trying to follow a healthier eating plan.
Starting off well
Breakfast is purported to be the most important meal of the day as it helps to kick start your metabolism after a 6-8 hour fast (sleep).
One aspect of meal planning is that you are able to plan your meals according to you and your family’s activity levels.
What your first meal of the day should be, depends entirely on what activities you will be doing during the morning.
Fuel for the day
For adults at a desk job, who go straight from home to the office, or go via the schools, you want to plan a meal that is low GI and low carbs as you will not be expending too much energy.
However, you still need to eat something that will keep you feeling satisfied, at least until your tea break.
Eating to exersise
On the other hand, if you are stopping off at the gym for a workout, you will need to plan your breakfast accordingly.
A cardio workout allows you to have a little extra in the carbohydrate department, while a strength workout would require you to take in a little more protein for your first meal of the day.
The midday meal
Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day. However, for most of us it is a hasty meal at our desks. Once again, when planning your lunch meal, you need to take into account what you will be doing in the afternoon.
A daycare worker may require higher energy producing foods than an executive, no matter how busy you are.
What’s for dinner?
The evening meal should be lighter and more easily digested than the midday meal as you will most likely be going to sleep a few hours after you have eaten.
This meal should also be the lowest GI as you want it to keep your blood sugar level fairly constant throughout the night.
A low GI food is a food that will keep you feeling full for longer as it helps to keep your blood sugars on an even keel.
When your blood sugar drops, you are left feeling hungry and often craving for something sweet. Eating fruit first thing in the morning can keep you going till lunch time but be careful, not all fruit is low GI.
Apples, oranges, peaches, cherries are a good low GI fruit, while watermelon is definitely not! If you are going to the gym then a banana would be good, along with raisins and other melons.
Healthy eating is about conscious eating and meal planning plays an important role in this.
If you are not following any type of eating plan, why not try a little experiment? For two days keep a food diary. Every time you eat anything, write it down. Next, try and create a meal plan just for the following two days and watch your eating habits change.
Remember that meal planning is best done after a meal, so that you are less inclined to put high energy or comfort foods into your plan.