Good nutrition is more than just the food you eat

When talking about good nutrition, people tend to immediately think of the food they eat, specific diets such as the keto or paleo, best super greens powder, quantities and the time of meals and snacks. These are core aspects of good nutrition but there is more to it than that. Other factors that come into play are: lifestyle, meal planning, family situation, cost, work schedules and grocery shopping.

It is all well and good following a specific diet, but if the infrastructure is not in place, then you are setting yourself up to fail.

Meal planning plays an important role in good nutrition.

Whether for a young couple, a college student, or a busy family of five, meal planning is not just about following a menu for the week, it is about looking at schedules, knowing how much time you have to prepare a meal and even looking at the cost of food. If friends or family members are joining for a meal and there is a food intolerance or allergy, a meal plan allows you to find a recipe that works for you and your guests. Working with a meal plan means that you can think of meat-free meals, and various ways to include plenty of fresh vegetables, including by planning salads, which in themselves can be a meal.

I know people usually go to the supermarket with an idea of what they are going to eat for the next few days, and often finds themselves purchasing food that is not needed or that they may already have at home. When you work with a meal plan it means that you can check and see what you already have, and then make a list of the ingredients that are missing. This means that you will return home with everything that you need, avoiding a last-minute dash to the supermarket on an already busy day. Having a meal plan that is flexible also means that meals can be switched around if things come up during the week.

Planning a time to go grocery shopping is also key so that you can take the time needed to look for new products or visit several stores, if needed. There is nothing more frustrating than running out of time and not being able to get everything; it feels counterproductive.

Then there is prepping food. Some people like to spend a couple of hours chopping and prepping food on the weekend, ready for the week ahead. Others like myself cook and prep on the day. However, I like doubling certain recipes so that I either have leftovers for another day of the week or have reserves in the freezer for a day when I do not want to cook.

When you start to look at food as more than just what you eat, it allows you the opportunity to appreciate that eating well takes time and energy.

Meal planning is a great investment that pays you back when you see the difference that it brings to your general wellbeing, such as reducing weight and inflammation while improving health. Why not try out this broccoli pesto pasta recipe which can be easily doubled up!

Header photo: iStock