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How to Create a Meal Plan

Do you know what's for dinner tonight? If you don't, you aren't alone. Sometimes it's a challenge to create a healthy meal plan for the whole family. These tips can help.

When creating a meal plan for your family, take into consideration color, combinations and textures.

Color.
Make your plate as colorful as you can by adding brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Peas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, beans, beets and yellow corn are some colorful ideas for vegetables. For fruits, think about watermelon, apples, oranges, grapefruit, blueberries and bananas to give a lot of color. All these foods are high in nutrients, so fill your plates with them. Idea: buy a pre-made whole-wheat pizza crust and let your family contribute as many colorful vegetables as they can. Sprinkle a low-fat cheese over it and bake according to directions. The result is a meal that's colorful, healthy and tasty.

Combinations.
An easy way to ensure your family is getting enough vegetables is to make a soup. Soups are quick, tasty and nutritious. There are really no rules for making soup. Buy some bags of frozen vegetables. When you're ready for soup, combine vegetables with a low-sodium broth and simmer until all the vegetables are tender. You can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Textures.
Just like soups, there are no written laws for salads. Be creative and try combining textures in your salads. Add soft blueberries and crunchy walnuts to any salad. Consider adding soft yellow corn and crisp cucumbers. The variety in textures makes your salad more interesting and healthier.

Challenge yourself and your family to come up with menu ideas that keep making dinner fun. Remember, filling up on vegetables and fruits is always a sure-fire way to stay on the right track. Create a meal plan for the week right now and see what delicious ideas are inspired!

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