Eating a menu of healthy foods not only keeps you fit, it gives you the energy you need to get through each day. To maintain her weight, a woman should eat around 1,800 calories a day, while a man can eat about 2,000 calories a day. Kids' calorie needs change with age and according to gender, but once you have a week's worth of dishes you enjoy, repeat them each week to make your meal-planning simple.
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast sets you on the way toward eating healthfully all day. Alternate between sweet and savory breakfasts to keep breakfast interesting for you and the whole family. Top whole wheat pancakes with sliced strawberries, blend berries with yogurt and milk into a smoothie, cut bananas into high-fiber cereal, or eat a fruit salad with a side of wheat toast. For a savory breakfast, make a vegetable and egg-white omelet, an English muffin sandwich with ham and tomato, or a breakfast burrito with eggs, black beans and salsa -- almost always a hit with the kids. Drink a glass of orange juice and a glass of skim milk with breakfast each day.
A sandwich is easy to make and eat on the go for both parents and kids. Use whole-wheat bread to make a sandwich of smoked turkey, tomatoes, and lettuce, or spread the bread with low-sugar fruit jam and peanut butter. Pack a wheat pita with hummus, cucumbers and sprouts. Top a green salad with corn, salsa and beans for a Mexican salad, or combine pasta with chopped vegetables and light ranch dressing for an easy pasta salad. For hot lunches, serve hearty chili or vegetable soup that includes pasta and beans. Eat a piece of fruit and drink a cup of low-fat milk with each lunch.
Dinner should include protein so the family will stay full all night and not resort to unhealthy late snacks. Marinate and grill a 4-ounce piece of salmon or lean beef for each of the crew. For pasta dishes, make lasagna filled with eggplant and spinach, or toss spaghetti with grilled shrimp, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir-fry rice with chicken, carrots, red peppers, ginger and soy sauce, grill skewers filled with chunks of marinated chicken and vegetables, or top a baked potato with broccoli and a bit of shredded cheese. Drink milk, water or unsweetened iced tea, and serve brown rice and a green salad with creamy dressing or bowl of steamed vegetables with any dinner.
Snacks help you stay satisfied between meals so you don’t overindulge at lunch or dinner time. Snacks should contain between 100 and 300 calories each. Choose items that are high in protein, since these will keep you full for longer. A bowl of light cottage cheese, a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, a container of yogurt or a few cubes of cheese and a half dozen wheat crackers all make a suitable snack. For a sweet snack, serve a bowl of fruit sorbet or a container of sugar-free pudding topped with a few chopped nuts or berries.