Besides the staple foods that most Nigerian families consume – rice, yam, garri, beans and a
few others, a lot do not know that there are many more varieties of food in our Nigerian cuisine.
Having a detailed meal plan will serve as a guide for your family so that you can have a rich and
healthy blend of food consumption all year round. A healthy food plan for your family combines
fruits and vegetables with nutritious delicacies that ensure you keep things organized. Think of a
meal plan as a food time table and you won’t be wrong
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A HEALTHY FAMILY MEAL PLAN?
Typically, families make unhealthy choices of meals because not too much time is invested in
the process of deciding what to eat or what not to eat. Sometimes, someone just makes a
suggestion and if everybody agrees, the meal is set to be prepared.
Other times, we just stick to what is available in the kitchen; in which case, we may be loading our belly with poor diets like excess cab or unhealthy fast food. On the other hand, having a meal plan will help you to avoid all of these. There are so many other benefits to creating a family meal plan. Here are some of them
1. It helps you keep things organized
Coming up with meal ideas for your family can be overwhelming sometimes. With a meal plan, you will simply need to look at the plan for the day and get into the kitchen, especially if you already have the ingredients ready.
Also having a meal plan gives you a clear list of what to purchase, say at the beginning of every month, instead of having to make hurried dashes to the market to get what isn’t available.
2. It helps you try varieties
Not having a meal plan is a great way to go round and round within a small circle of meals all year round without really having a healthy, balanced diet.
Repeating the same kind of food is boring and monotonous. A meal plan will add more spice to your family’s meal times as you can at least eat something different each time, not to talk of ensuring that you consume the nutrients needed to keep you healthy and strong
3. Ensures that you consume healthy food and make healthy food choices
Meal planning involves a conscious thought process that leaves you with the confidence that you and your family are eating safely.
In addition, the creation process will help you learn about other Nigerian delicacies, and you can have real fun experimenting in the kitchen
4. It helps you to plan ahead.
With a detailed food plan, you can shop and stock up the house with the ingredients needed to prepare each meal ahead of time. This in turn will help you save costs. If you need to shop for ingredients without the hassle of going down to the market, you can buy whatever you need on Naijapackage. You will get foodstuff at really affordable prices and save up on costs too
5. It helps you save money
It is no secret that shopping in bulk helps you save more. With a food plan, you can stick to a budget and avoid buying what might not be needed eventually. Also, it will reduce the need to buy fast food or snacks, which sometimes happens when you don’t know what to prepare at home
6. Reduces food wastage
With a meal plan, what you have stocked up is what is needed, thereby preventing the need to throw away unused foodstuff
7. Saves time
You won’t have to rush off to the market often because you have everything stocked up. You also don’t have to waste time thinking of what to cook, when you can just reach for your meal plan and see what’s for the day
TEN TIPS FOR CREATING A HEALTHY MEAL PLAN FOR A NIGERIAN FAMILY
Here are 10 great tips to help you create a healthy meal plan for your family today
1. Have a budget
Your budget will give you a clear understanding of what you can explore and what varieties you can include in your meal plan. With a budget, you will also be saving costs because it eliminates the need to buy things in a hurry.
2. Factor in your daily schedule
This will help you to determine what kind of meals to prepare at what time. There are some meals that require a lot of time to prep and cook. Preparing such meals on a day you have a heavy schedule may not be a good idea. In the same way, you will want to adjust your meal plan occasionally when your schedule
changes. Generally, factoring in your daily schedule is a great way to help you get through the clutter of the day
3. Brainstorm and make a list of the different types of feasible nutritious food.
You can ask your kids and partner to help with this process. You can even check online for nutritious Nigerian meals. Doing this will give you a sense of direction on what to include in your meal plan.
While you’ve listed out recipes that you’re familiar with, the process can give you fresh ideas that you can use to create whole new recipes. For instance, if you’ve only known how to prepare porridge beans, you can learn to prepare several other recipes from beans like akara or moimoi, during this research process
4. Factor in the meal choices of every member of your family.
This is necessary especially if you’ve got kids who are picky eaters or a member of the family who is on a special diet and whose meals has to be prepared under particular conditions. Factoring all of these
during the planning process will take the stress off you for days or weeks to come.
5. Plan for in-season ingredients
Before making your meal plan, it will help to check for what is currently available as per the season, and what’s not. For instance, adding plantain to your meal plan when they are not currently in season will only stress you out.
6. Start small
At first, don’t overwhelm yourself with creating a plan for a whole year. You can start with daily and weekly plans. As you get a hang of meal planning, you can grow to plan for longer periods.
7. Find new recipe ideas
Check Nigerian food blogs, read inspiring cookbooks, subscribe to great YouTube channels and keep learning about new recipes at every opportunity, and your belly and overall health will thank you for your effort.
You can also check out online food stores like Naijapackage. Browsing through our wide range of foodstuffs will inspire you on the next meal to include in your family meal timetable.
8. Think in terms of nutritional value
Your family need to consume a balanced diet to stay healthy and happy. So, as you create your meal plan, consider the right proportion of food from all six classes of food. Think of a perfect mix of vegetables and fruits; whole grains, low-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products; fish, meat, crayfish, prawn, beans, moimoi, poultry, nuts, and eggs. Remember that this should be a deliberate process, so there should be no rushing through it.
To learn how to combine meals so that you have a healthy mix of all the classes, you
can speak with a nutritionist. Reading blog posts from a health and nutrition blog is also
a great idea.
9. Prepare and stock up on food at the start of the week
This is going to be a lifesaver, trust me, especially if you have a very busy schedule. You can prepare soup, stew, sauce and even moimoi and pack them into bowls to be kept in the fridge, leaving you enough time for other activities outside the kitchen all through the week
10. Plan ahead
You need to factor special family times into this plan. Remember that there would be holidays like Christmas and birthdays, and planning the kind of meals you could have during those times will reduce the stress of having to overthink when the time comes
So, as you can see, a meal plan works to keep the food business in your home really tidy as you do not have to overthink things. It also ensures that you are consuming healthy meals at each point in time because of the deliberateness of the planning process.
Do you already create a meal plan for your Nigerian family? Does any of these tips work for you? Do you have additional tips? Please, share in the comment.