- 1 How to plan a weekly menu keeping our children in mind so that they never complain about what there is to eat again
- 1.1 Before using the planner
- 1.2 How to use the family weekly planner
I am convinced that if you have children, you will be familiar with that “mom / dad, what is there to eat? oohhh I don’t like this … ”. And if not, surely you are bored of thinking about what to eat every day. To kill these two birds with one stone, I bring you the solution: an easy, fast and comfortable family (or not) weekly planner. How does it work? Let’s go there!
Before using the planner
It is important that before using the planner you know what the plate method is since it is what you will have to fill in this template. The plate method, also known as the Harvard plate or healthy eating plate, is a graphic summary of healthy eating. It is our current benchmark for healthy eating, our guide, our patron. The food pyramid for this same reason is obsolete so if you base your diet on it, I advise you to stop doing it.
And what is healthy eating? Healthy eating is one that is based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds . Where the vegetable protein (legumes and derivatives, nuts and seeds) predominates over the animal, but it does not exclude the latter, although it must be of quality (lean meats, fish, eggs and dairy products and derivatives). In a healthy diet, the fat par excellence is extra virgin olive oil, although it does not exclude other virgin vegetable oils. It only accepts water as its main drink.
Healthy eating is one that excludes all kinds of ultra-processed products (rich in fats of low nutritional quality and sugars), sugars, sweets, pastries, pre-cooked food, refined cereals, juices, sugary drinks, … in short, everything that is not food .
The foods of each group
As you can see, the groups in which the plate is divided are three: vegetables (vegetables, vegetables and fruits), proteins and hydrates (whole grains and tubers). It is important that we know which foods belong to each group:
- The group of vegetables, fruits and vegetables includes any vegetables, fruits and vegetables.
- The protein group includes meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes and derivatives (tofu, tempeh, seitan…), nuts and seeds. Quinoa could also count as a protein, since it is actually a pseudocereal.
- The group of hydrates (whole grains and tubers) includes all cereals: rice, pasta, couscous, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, bulgur … and also tubers: potato, sweet potato, cassava … and bread. Always preferably integral.
The frequency of consumption
To know when to eat each protein or how often to eat each food, you only need to know the frequency of consumption of these foods (SENC, 2004), which is:
- Potato, cereals and bread (wholemeal): 4-6 servings a day.
- Vegetables and vegetables: minimum 2 servings per day.
- Fruits: minimum 3 servings a day.
- Olive oil: 3-6 servings a day.
- Milk and derivatives: 0-4 servings a day.
- Fish: 3-4 servings a week.
- Meat and eggs: 3-4 servings a week.
- Legumes: 2-4 servings a week.
- Nuts: 3-7 servings a week.
This is where the pact comes in. To ensure that our children do not complain about the menu, we have to involve them and ask them to participate in planning the menu. That is, we will let them decide X lunches or dinners of the week respecting their requests in exchange for them respecting ours. Of course, we must set the rulesof these requests. Depending on each child and the habits that they have had so far, we will put some premises or others, let me explain. If our son takes 3 pieces of pastries a day, the premise cannot be 0 pastries a week, because it will cost them a lot, they will complain, they will not want to participate … We will have to make a more progressive change, for example 3 pieces of pastries a week . And then as they get used to and accepting the new diet we will go down, because the goal is that they do not eat it, or eat it only on exceptional occasions. You know, the recommendation of the ultra-processed is: the less the better.
We must do the same with the vegetables. If they never eat vegetables, we cannot put vegetables 3 times a day as a premise, we will start 3 times a week and increase. Remember that vegetables can be cooked in multiple ways and if there is one that you do not like, we must try another. The goal is to improve your diet little by little for success.
If, on the other hand, you do not have children, the premises that you must comply with are those of healthy eating (which on the other hand is the final objective of families with children). These premises are (you can add more):
- Legumes at least 2 times a week.
- Minimum 3 pieces of fruit a day.
- Minimum 2 servings (> 200 grams) of vegetables per day.
- Change cereals to whole grains.
- Use varied cooking.
With this clear, the time has come to use the planner.
How to use the weekly family planner
If you want to go easy, I advise you to choose 3-4 foods from each group and vary them weekly. If cooking differently every day is not a problem for you, you can skip this step and vary your diet daily. When you have chosen those 3-4 foods per group you must write them in the section that says “foods selected for this week.”
Now you just have to put these foods on the plates represented each day. You can see how I do it myself in this video.
When you have everything, you can translate it into a final planner like this, in which you will write the name of the dish, that is, you will go from: broccoli + chickpeas + rice to sautéed broccoli with chickpeas and rice.
You can take advantage of this to plan your batch cooking , something ideal especially if you eat from a tupperware . The fewer foods from each group you have chosen, the easier it will be and the more preparations you repeat in the week as well. Of course, if you do it like this, don’t forget to vary your diet next week.
- Choose 3-4 foods from each group.
- Fill up the daily plates.
- Pass it on to a final planner.
- Prepare the batch cooking.
- Enjoy food without ever worrying about what to eat again and without your children saying “I don’t like it.”