Eating is not only limited to cooking and preparing food; it is a mean to celebrate, express feelings and maintaining good health. It is much more considered as a tool to healthy life style. Menu planning is back bone of dieting and cooking. Right from a young kid to elders in family, everyone has different nutritional need. One needs to plan meal according to the requirements. Same meal served must provide individual needs. Small variations and changes in routine and eating pattern will help in meeting the requirements. Menu planning can be individualized and for family. One must consider following points while planning menu for an individual.
- Traditional Eating pattern: India has various cultures with unique eating pattern. In many places traditional eating pattern is followed. Ethnic food has its own pros and cons. Main concern is the festive season and food cooked. There are many sweet preparations and fried items being prepared during festive time. One needs to take care while including these things in diet. Compensating for excess calorie consumed is essential.
- Eat as per the season: Try and include seasonal vegetables and fruits in daily diet. Variety of fruits and vegetables help in providing essential minerals and vitamins. Liquid diet is referred in summer season where as hot soups and drinks are served in winter season.
- My plate: USDA has designed my plate which indicates which all things must be included in meal. It says that half of the plate must be full of vegetables and fruit. One fourth parts must come from proteins and milk products. Remaining one forth part must come from cereals which are form of carbohydrates. This plate can be referred to plan every meal.
- Rainbow Diet: My plate indicates presence of all food groups in the plate. It gives feeling of rainbow with wide array of nutrient.
- Sensory properties: To increase the acceptability of food, it is very important to pay attention to taste, smell, texture, appearance etc. Use of different cooking techniques one can improve texture, appearance etc. eg- microwave cooking will help in grilling, shallow frying will help in giving brownish color and crispy texture. At the same time these cooking methods need less oil, cooking time with desired effect.
- Special conditions: Every family member has different requirements. Eg- adults will need carbs, protein in more amount than kids in the family. Elderly people need soft and palatable food to adopt with chewing ability and digestion. Special concerns such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis etc. need effective meal planning. One can discuss with professionals to manage the condition.
- Be prepared: planning is very important for meals taken from outside. It will give some space to reduce calorie consumption and maintain your healthy routine.
Menu planning is a skill which can be developed over a period of time. Effective planning will help in achieving health goals. Get ready with your plan to get started on the same note!