Making Healthy Meals in Advance

One of the biggest benefits of joining a weight loss program is that many of them have convenient pre-packaged meals for you to heat up. These meals have the right amount of nutrients per meal that is recommended for weight loss.

With the economy as tough as it is, and money being so tight, why spend the money? You can do the same thing for yourself by spending a day preparing healthy meals to be eaten throughout the week. Spend the time to find some good, healthy recipes that will keep well and freeze well so that you can make enough in one day to be able to grab and go all week. After spending time preparing the meals, divide them into individual portions and use freezer bags or small containers to store them until needed.

Freeze things like pasta and pasta sauce separately for the greatest variety and best taste. Try out different recipes until you find some that you like and that freeze and reheat well. Things like chili, lasagna, chicken parmesan, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and ham and potatoes seem to work well, just to give you some ideas. You will find hundreds more if you just do a simple Google search for ‘freezable recipes’.

When you’re driving home from work and get the munchies, you can drive right by the fast food places knowing that you have a home-cooked meal waiting for you that you can reheat in minutes. This also works great at the office, as you won’t get tempted to spend up to $10 a day for take out lunch.

Easy and Healthy Meals for Busy People

Too busy to fix and eat healthy? Planning and preparing meals is always a challenge, especially when you are trying to learn new ways of eating and are busy! Following a set menu plan is one option, but menus planned by someone else don’t always include the foods that you enjoy. Planning menus for optimum health involves using macronutrients, such as protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, for steady blood sugar, along with food preferences and other guidelines such as limiting calories for weight loss. Strive for balance between your food components when creating your meals.

Here are a few healthy meal suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking that you can easily make and eat at home! Keep in mind that are a great many cookbooks and meal-planning books on the market. If you don’t already own one, invest in one and be creative in your planning of nutritious, creative meals!

Breakfast

Brewed green or black tea or coffee, decaffeinated if you prefer
½ cup fruit or vegetable juice or 8 ounces of water

o Hot or cold whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk or soy milk, a medium piece of fruit or ½ cup of berries or sliced fruit

o 1 cup of plain yogurt mixed with 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal or oil, ½ cup of berries, and a small bit of honey, maple syrup, or Splenda® to sweeten

o 2 slices of whole grain toast with 1½ teaspoons of nut butter, such as peanut, soy or almond, and a medium piece of fruit

o Ricotta cheese mixed with a small amount of chopped walnuts, sliced fruit, and a small bit of your favorite sweetener

o Scrambled eggs with picante salsa, two strips of nitrate-free bacon or links of nitrate-free sausage

Lunch

8 ounces of water or brewed green or black tea

o Tuna fish salad and whole-grain bread sandwich, large tossed green salad with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar

o Grilled chicken Caesar salad with dressing on the side, a medium piece of fresh fruit

o Vegetable, black bean, or lentil soup, sliced turkey and whole-grain bread sandwich with leafy lettuce, tomato, cheese, and bit of mayonnaise

o Cottage cheese with a large peach split in half served on green lettuce leaves, a crisp rye cracker

o Pasta with marinara sauce, tossed green salad with dressing on the side, gelato

Dinner

8 ounces of water or brewed green or black tea

o Grilled salmon or cold-water fish; grilled vegetables such as red, yellow, and green peppers, red onions, zucchini or summer squash; and basmati rice

o Spaghetti with marinara sauce in olive oil, steamed broccoli, tossed green salad

o Pasta with sautéed Swiss chard, steamed or sautéed vegetables, mixed fruit compote

o Broiled or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, steamed broccoli sprinkled with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, a whole-grain roll

o Sirloin beef tips over noodles, steamed green beans, sliced strawberries

o Red beans and rice with salsa, tossed green salad with Greek olives

o Lentil soup, mixed vegetables, fresh fruit

Snacks (between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, and after dinner)

8 ounces of water with each snack meal

o Apple slices with nut butter or a slice of hard cheese

o A hard-boiled egg

o Celery, carrot sticks, or pita chips with hummus

o Small handful of walnuts or pumpkin seeds

o Air-popped popcorn or low-fat microwave popcorn

Copyright 2006 Mary El-Baz. All rights reserved.

Mary El-Baz, PhD is the author of Building a Healthy Lifestyle: A Simple Nutrition and Fitness Approach and Easy and Healthful Mediterranean Cooking, an invaluable nutritional program for anyone to build a healthy lifestyle and a collection of savory, nutritious Mediterranean recipes. Dr. El-Baz holds a doctorate in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and degrees from the University of Missouri.

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