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Balanced Meals and coming up with shopping lists in Summer

London, 10 July-2014(Indilens Web Team): Coming up with shopping lists that include foods from all the food groups can seem like an endless process. To keep meal planning interesting and easy while providing balanced meals the whole family will enjoy, try asking yourself these questions:

Balanced Meals and coming up with shopping lists in Summer

Balanced Meals

What season is it? In summer your family might tend to do more grilling and in winter more stews and casseroles.
What do we have in the pantry? Try to keep the cupboards, refrigerator and freezer full of nutrient-rich foods. Using these questions, come up with a few entree ideas for the week and create a shopping list to accommodate the menu and fill up the pantry.

Balancing meals

Balanced meals include one food from each food group- Milk & Milk Products; Vegetables; Fruits; Grains and Meat & Beans. The new MyPlate icon is a good representation of a balanced meal because all five food groups are included. When planning a meal, try to include “five of five.” Here are a few examples of how to do it:

Spaghetti is a frequent menu item for many families. Spaghetti includes ground meat, vegetables (onion, mushrooms and marinara sauce) and grains (spaghetti). What food groups are missing? Milk and Fruit. Pour milk to drink and add a fruit salad (maybe even as dessert) for a balanced, nutrient-rich family meal.

When the weather turns cold and the family meal menu includes Beef Stew with meat and vegetables, then balance the meal by serving dinner rolls (grains), sliced fruit (whatever is in season) and milk to drink.

If you’re serving oatmeal made with milk for breakfast, then consider adding yogurt and fruit to add flavor to the oatmeal, and maybe a hard cooked egg to boost the protein. Another option would be to add a scrambled egg with salsa. When deli sandwiches are on the menu for lunch, add cheese to the sandwich, a side of fruit and baby carrots.

By taking a balanced approach to planning meals you make sure your family is getting adequate nutrition. When options from every food group are available at every meal, then even picky eaters are likely to find something they will want to eat. As children get older, use the balanced meal approach to add more interest and variety to your healthy family meals. For example, try adding more vegetables into a casserole or adding fruit into a quesadilla or green salad.

Does every meal need to be perfectly balanced? Of course not. However, this rule of thumb for menu planning is a simple way to plan healthy family meals.

Daily Food Plans for Professional Use

If you already know which Plan you are looking for, access it below. If not, calculate your Daily Food Plan first.

Calorie Level
of Food Plan
Age Group for Food Plan
1000 calories2 year olds
1200 calories3 year olds4-5 year olds6-8 year olds
1400 calories3 year olds4-5 year olds6-8 year olds
1600 calories4-5 year olds6-8 year olds9-17 year olds18+ year olds
1800 calories6-8 year olds9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2000 calories6-8 years  olds9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2200 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2400 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2600 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2800 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
3000 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
3200 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds

Daily Food Plan Worksheets for Professional Use

If you already know which Worksheet you are looking for, access it below. If not, calculate your Daily Food Plan first.

Calorie Level
of Food Plan
Age Group for Food Plan
1000 calories2 year olds
1200 calories3 year olds4-5 year olds6-8 year olds
1400 calories3 years  olds4-5 year olds6-8 year olds
1600 calories4-5 year olds6-8 year olds9-17 year olds18+ year olds
1800 calories6-8 year olds9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2000 calories6-8 year olds9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2200 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2400 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2600 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
2800 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
3000 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds
3200 calories9-17 year olds18+ year olds