Planning a healthy meal for you and/or your family is not rocket science. It can be very easy if you keep these 3 steps in mind:
Step 1: Choose an item each from each of the four food groups:
a) Whole grains: chapathi/ roti(whole wheat, jowar, bajra, corn/makkai, etc), rice(ideally unpolished/ semi polished rice), broken wheat/dalia.
b) Vegetables and fruits: aim at including at least two different vegetables and a fruit instead of dessert/sweets.
c) Pulses/lentil/lean meat: dals, pulses (whole or split) and once/twice a week chicken, fish or eggs.
d) Milk- buttermilk, curd/yogurt made from skimmed milk.
Step 2: Avoid/use very little oil for cooking as far as possible (e.g: phulkas/dosas without oil, sabzi’s/palyas made with just 1-2tsp oil). Try to use as little as 3tsp oil/person for the entire day’s cooking.
Step 3: When serving keep in mind ‘portion sizes’. Divide your plate into two halves- one half should contain the sabzi/palya/kootu(1-2 varieties) and the other half can be further divided into two portions-one for the whole grain and the other for the dal/pulse item.
Once you get these basic steps correct, you can go one step further and plan out healthy meals not just for the day but for the entire week. Doing so will ensure that you:
1. eat a variety of healthy meals on a regular basis,
2. plan your grocery list in advance-that way you don’t end up buying more than you will need,
3. save time and money-buying things from the list helps avoid impulse buying and will shorten the time spent in shopping.
A little planning never hurt anyone-and if the planning is for a healthy meal, then you (and your family) have only benefits to reap at the end of the day!!