Meal planning is the simple act of taking some time to plan your meals for the week. It is the perfect solution for people who find it difficult to buy healthy food when they go shopping.
Meal planning lets you decide before you ever go to the grocery store what healthy meals your family is going to eat during a given week.
A laid out meal plan is the same as a well thought out exercise plan. You have a goal or objective and you then have a plan to succeed with that goal.
Many career people are holding down 9-5 jobs while some are into businesses. Eating healthy may seem difficult, especially if you have young children to attend to.
Busy schedules, tight budgets, and fatigue may make it difficult to make good food choices or keep food on the table.
However, by being a planner, you can create healthy and balanced meals that are easy to prepare and budget-friendly.
Some little organization in the kitchen department can help you get through the clutter of the day.
Planning can be overwhelming especially when you need to contain a lot of cases like:
- Meal for Weight Loss/To Weight Gain
- Diabetic/Cancer/Ulcer/Hypertensive /Invalid Patients,
- Keto/Ketogenic Diets
Even at that planning ahead takes the guesswork out of cooking. Prepping ahead makes every meal feel like a breeze to prepare.
There are a lot of reasons why I think meal planning and meal prepping work together and I grouped them into four main categories.
The Benefits of Meal Planning
- It saves you money and time
- Adds Variety to Your Diet
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
- Avoid Food wastage
Things to Remember When Meal Planning
- Firstly, don’t let the term meal plan scare you. You can plan anything.
- Secondly, make your meal plan as flexible as you want. Remember it’s for you.
- Thirdly, work a little harder to find ideas that fit your needs. Learn how to use one main ingredient for various recipes.
- Above all, Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality, and body weight status.
How to Meal Plan
- Have a daily template
- Focus on core healthy recipes
- Mix it up with spices
- You MUST have a sizeable fridge and freezer for your meal plan to work. Yes, it’s a must because for you to stick to a meal plan you need to be able to store your fresh food ingredients in a fridge and the prepared meals in the freezer.
- If you are in Nigeria, buy a power generator or inverter to make sure your freezer is on for at least 5 hours every single day. It will save you time and money.
- Travel the World (in Your Kitchen!) With a little research and some healthy adjustments, you can create recipes from around the world.
Weekly Nigerian Meal Planner
I’m obviously not a health expert. I am not a dietician neither am I a nutritionist so I am not qualified to draw up a meal plan.
But due to the requests, I will be sharing a sample of Nigerian food meal plan of what I and my family ate in one week.
Optimistically, you will be able to find some meals in there that you can add to the list of meals you and your family enjoy.
Because let’s face it, when we ask for meal plans what we need are ideas for meals that we can add to what we eat in our homes already.
This sample of the Nigerian family meal plan is a guide and you may want to change it a bit to suit your individual needs.
|Sunday||Akara (fried bean cake) and Oats||Jollof rice with chicken/beef in stew + vegetables. Dodo on the side||Boiled sweet potato with egg stew.|
|Monday||Pancakes + hot beverages||Okro soup +Eba||Moi – Moi (steamed savory bean pudding) and Pap|
|Tuesday||Bread + egg stew + beverage||Beans and yam pottage with vegetables on the side||Noodles vegetable stir fry (Indomie or other brands) -meat optional|
|Wednesday||Breakfast cereal + boiled egg + hot beverage||Tuwo shinkafa with Miyan kuka||Dodo and eggs (scrambled with a selection of chopped vegetables)|
|Thursday||Bread + peanut butter spread+ beverage||White rice and Stew with vegetables on the side||Moin moin + pap|
|Friday||Dodo + Beans pottage||Ogbono soup + amala/garri||Lasagne|
|Saturday||Fruit Salad + Geek yogurt||Bitter leaf soup + pounded yam||Boiled semi-ripe plantain with vegetable + fish stew on the side|
- Firstly, try as much as possible to do all you’re cooking – soups, stew, moin moin, and sauces over the weekend so that the week may be less stressful.
- Secondly, share your soups/stews/moin-moin in separate bowls to quicken defrosting and saves time.
- Thirdly, peanut butter is quite handy for quick meals like bread. Make it in bulk and store in the fridge. I always have Nutella as an alternative.
- Lastly, Akamu/Ogi/Pap can be made in advance and kept in the freezer.
Happy Meal Planning!