Weekly Meal Planner - how to use the template

Ready to fill in your weekly meal planner template? Have you read the tips on the previous two pages?...

Yes? Great! Your next step is to download the template, print it out and find something to write with. Next collect together your favourite recipe books, or recipes from cooking websites such as the-first-time-cook.com.

The 7 day meal planner is divided into 3 main meals and a snack each day. Each meal is split into 4 sections across the page, relating to the various food groups as we discussed on the healthy meal planning page.

The protein column of your weekly meal planner

To recap, the first column, protein, is where you will enter your main protein component of each meal whether it is meat, poultry, cheese, eggs, milk or a vegetable source such as beans or some types of grains, such as quinoa.

You can either just write down chicken, for example, or you can enter the recipe name itself, such as Chicken Ratatouille.

Try to have some form of protein at each meal. This may just be the milk on your cereal for breakfast, or maybe the eggs in your morning omelette.

At lunchtime it could be the ham or cheese in your sandwich, or the baked beans on your toast.

For dinner you may be serving the traditional meat and two veg, or maybe a vegetarian recipe that uses cheese, eggs, milk or pulses (beans).

The carbohydrate column

The next step in completing your weekly meal planner is to think about the type of carbohydrate you are going to eat with each meal.

For example, that ham sandwich for lunch has bread as the carbohydrate component of the meal. Your Sunday roast beef may have roast potatoes, and your risotto will contain rice.

You may decide to serve a dessert, such as apple pie where the pastry (or pie crust) will contain flour, which is a carbohydrate.

Don't forget to try to vary the colours. If you are having white fish, you wouldn't really want to serve boiled or mashed potato with it.


The fats column

Here the entry could include the butter on your bread or in that slice of cake, the fat you roasted the potatoes in, or the fat in the yolk of your egg. It may be the olive oil on your salad, or the fat that your fish was fried in.

We don't normally eat fat by itself, so you may have to think a little harder to work out where you are getting your fats from in your meals.

The vegetables/fruit column

I think we all know that we are meant to eat 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day, by now. But how many of us do this?

Well the vegetables accompanying our main meal can count of course, as can the orange juice we drink with our breakfast.

This is where we can include some fruit as our snack, to make up for any gaps in our main meal rows on the weekly meal planner. Again try to have a mix of different coloured vegetables and fruit throughout the day.

The first day

Let us imagine that you have just filled in the first day on your weekly meal planner.

I have filled in the example below on the computer as you would probably not be able to read my handwriting!


Although this pretend day may not be the healthiest, we have at least included items from all the food groups.

The second day

For our second day we will start the day with a mushroom omelette, pack up a 3 bean salad for lunch at the office, and eat out in the evening. We will treat ourselves to a slice of cake as our snack.


As we are eating out we do not necessarily know what fat is used for frying the steak or the french fries. We have entered the cake under carbohydrates but it will also have a fat content, as will the eggs at breakfast.

When all is taken into account this particular day may be a little heavy on those fats, so you may want to ensure that the following day does not contain quite so much, in order to balance things out.

Also dining out may have eaten into our budget, so we might need to plan for some more economical meals for the rest of the week.

Summary

Hopefully the information above and the two sample days will enable you to fill out your own weekly meal planner easily and quickly. You will be amazed at how much easier it is to eat a well balanced diet, with plenty of variation.






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