What is the Importance of Meal Planning?

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Meal planning is important for a housewife as she can achieve the following things by it:

1. Balanced diet for all the members of the family

Nutritional requirement of each member of a family can be met with proper meal planning; otherwise a meal served may be adequate for one member and inadequate for the other. For example, the meal may be adequate for an adolescent but indigestible for the old. Therefore, a good meal planning takes care of the nutritional requirements of the members of all age groups.

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2. Saving of time, money and energy.

A housewife can save time, money, and en­ergy by meal planning.

3. Saving of fuel

Fuel is also saved by meal planning, e.g., if boiled potatoes are re­quired in the morning and boiled colossi (rave) for dinner, lots of fuel can be saved by boiling them together.

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4. Variety in meals

Variety can be added in the diet by meal planning. While planning meals for a week, a housewife can add variety to food by selecting different foods for each day.

5. Control on food budget

By meal planning, budget of the family can also be controlled. While planning for a week the housewife can add costly foodstuffs like cheese, dry fruits, etc., on one day and cheap seasonal fruits and vegetables on the rest of the days. In this way the total expenditure of the week will be in accordance with the budget.

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6. Tasty and attractive food

Food can be made attractive and tasty. By adding vari­ety to the taste, colour, texture and cooking methods monotony in food can be broken and members can relish the food a lot.

7. Use of leftovers

By planning meals leftovers can be used properly, e.g., leftover dal and dry vegetable at dinner can be used in piranhas and patties in breakfast.

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8. Personal likes and dislikes

Per­sonal likes and dislikes of the family mem­bers can be taken care of in meal planning by including foods of their preferences in one meal or the other. A person does not relish a food, however nutritious it may be if it is not of his liking.

9. The day as a unit

Meal planning is made by considering a day as a single unit, hence it never happens that we eat a lot in one meal and don’t feel hungry at all for the second meal. Also, if one meal is deficient in nutritional value, it is compensated in the second meal so that a balanced meal can be prepared for a day.

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Division and planning of various meals of the day like breakfast, lunch, etc. is discussed in detail at page 244-246.

Guidelines for good eating habits

These can be summed as:

(a) Maintain regular eating routine.

(b) Eat a whole lot of natural foods.

(c) Eat just in right amounts, neither more nor less.

(d) Consume seasonal fruits.

(e) Avoid excessive consumption of salt, spices, fats, sugars and sweets.

(/) Eat carbohydrates that supply plenty of fiber.

(g) Eat variety as it ensures supply of all essential nutrients.

(h) Maintain desirable weight and health.

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