Healthy Menu Matters

Healthy Menu Matters

Executing a healthy menu for weeknight family dinners is a challenge made far more doable when the menu is planned in advance. Taking time out every week to plan the family dinner menu not only increases the likelihood of healthy dinners but also saves time and reduces stress.

A pre-planned dinner menu takes away the preoccupation and dread associated with dinner preparations. Even the most simple menu outline will relieve anxiety and make grocery shopping less daunting. Heading to the shops with a list made for a menu will save time, money and mental energy.

Planning a healthy menu is simpler than it seems. Five dinners equals 5 proteins, 5 starches and 10 vegetables. Plan the protein first, then add a complimenting starch and a rainbow. This applies to mixed dishes as well, for example

mince + mashed potato + grated carrot  + spinach = cottage pie served with spinach

Create a menu planning table using nutritious foods enjoyed by the family and extend it with nutritious foods requiring more attention. Dietary diversity is an important part of achieving a healthy menu and a healthy family.

Healthy ingredients make for healthy dinners. Make sure to have them on hand.


or legume* (> ¼ cup)

Starch Legume (< ¼ cup)

or starchy vegetable (½ cup)

Vegetables Extras
Savoury mince Baby potatoes Lentils* Spinach Olive oil
Meat balls with lentils Mashed potato Chickpeas* Broccoli Canola oil
Chicken thighs Whole-wheat spaghetti Butter beans* Cauliflower Avocado
Roast chicken Cous Cous Kidney beans* Cabbage Mayonnaise
Chicken kebabs Basmati rice 4 –in- 1 bean mix* Green beans Raw Nuts
Pork fillet Brown rice Hummus* Green peas Seeds
Soya patty Butter bean smash Pumpkin Fresh herbs
Meat cubes Roast potatoes Carrots Sweet peppers Dried herbs
Steak Sweet potato Butternut Gem squash Spices, salt free
Pork Chop Roast vegetables  with sweet potato Corn Patty pans Garlic
Lamb chop Lentil rice Beetroot Onion Tomato
Fish Corn on the cob Mixed vegetables Mushrooms Lemon juice
Ostrich mince Barley Green beans with potato Baby Marrows Lemon zest
Chicken thighs Whole-wheat samp Sweetened pumpkin Lettuce Pepper
Tinned fish Baked potato Gem squash filled with lentils or corn Cucumber Nut butter

Planning a healthy menu as a family is a great avenue to include children in the effort to achieve healthy eating as a family. Listening to children’s opinions and including some of their suggestions makes them part of the planning process which is likely to increase their eating potential. Parental control must however be maintained. Tweak suggestions made by children when necessary to improve the nutritional quality of a meal.

Once in the habit of menu planning, it will become easier and the rewards of the effort will outweigh the work.

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