meal plans

Meal plans.  I usually enjoy the challenge of making my weekly meal plan based on what’s in the pantry, what’s in season, and what’s on sale, in addition to being nutritionally sound and tasting good. However, I think everyone at some point wishes that they wouldn’t have to think about food, but that a perfectly portioned,  nutritionally balanced meal would just drop in front of them.  For those of you who just want a list in front of you, there are a couple of websites that have good menus.  When you are looking for a good meal plan resource, look for the following:

Calories – if you are trying to lose or gain weight, look for something that is calorie controlled.  Better yet, try a website that calculates out your calorie needs for you.  While not perfect, these calculations can be a great starting place.

Portions – always look for portion sizes; this is especially important for diabetes and weight management

Snacks – Most of us like to eat between meals, and snacking can make it easier to successfully stay on a diet…if you snack on the right foods

Variety – gone are the days of fad diets that bore your taste buds and deprive your body.  Look for a meal plan with foods you enjoy eating, and that include foods from all the food groups.

www.caloriecontrol.org has a good 2000 calorie meal plan as well as some good weight loss information. However, this site does include a fair amount of artificial sweeteners.
UNC also has a good 2000 calorie plan. Not many bells and whistles on this website, but good information.

http://www.mypyramid.gov also has some great programs for calculating your calorie needs, and easy-to-print sample menus as well. This website is continually being improved to include more evidence-based information and advice on nutrition.

http://www.eatingwell.com is fast becoming one of my favorite go-to sites. From the 500 calorie dinners to the 1500 calorie day and meal plans based on your life stage and goals. They also have good information on sustainable eating, vegetarian substitutes, and even kid-friendly recipes.

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