Mealtime is an important occasion for the members of the family. Mothers who are concerned with the health of the family should know what foods to buy and prepare in order to provide good nutrition for the family members. Good nutrition means eating the proper kinds of food in the right amount. Good foods ensure proper growth and development for babies; keep young people and adults physically fit and promote physical and mental health for everyone.
A balanced diet will not just happen. It must be planned. Both the kinds of food and the amounts must be planned for each meal during the day.
MEAL PLANNING AND PREPARATION
The planning and preparation of meals is a very important subject for housewives and other people who work with food. The way in which a food is prepared determines whether or not it will be eaten.
In planning meals, there are several points to consider:
a. nutritional value
d. sanitary quality
f. likes and dislikes of each member of the family
Nutritional value is an important point to consider in meal planning. We eat mainly for health, not for pleasure alone. Therefore, care should be taken that all of the necessary nutrients are present in our food.
Palatability is another factor considered in menu-making. This includes both the taste and the appearance of food.
One of the most important things to consider in meal planning is economy. We need to realize that expensive foods are not necessarily the most nutritious, and neither are cheap foods necessarily lacking in the proper nutrients. A glass of calamansi juice for breakfast is cheaper than a bowl of expensive strawberries.
A housewife or cook should take care that the sanitary quality of the food is preserved. Unsanitary methods in the handling and preparation of food can cause disease and even death. All fruits and vegetables should be carefully washed after purchase. Keep the food covered until serving time so that the flies will have no opportunity to step on it.
Variety is a big factor in determining whether a meal will be a success or not. There are several ways of adding variety to meals.
1. Do not repeat the same kind of food in one meal. If you have chicken adobo for dinner, do not serve fried chicken as well.
2. Avoid using only one type of foodstuff in one meal. A menu consisting of rice, spaghetti, macaroni salad and cookies is bad because all of these foods are rich in carbohydrates.
3. Provide attractive color combinations. Color can be added by using garnishes such as red and green pepper, celery or peanuts.
4. Vary the shapes of food. Have a variety of shapes – round, square, etc.
5. Use sauces and relishes such as catsup to add flavor to a dish.
6. Plan your menu according to the season. Hot soup is not advisable on a hot night nor a cold pineapple juice on a cold morning.
7. Serve hot food hot and cold food cold.
8. Serve light dessert with heavy meals and heavy dessert with light meals.
The likes and dislikes of each family member should be carefully considered when planning menus. If Father likes beef steak but the rest of the family hates it, find something else that will satisfy everyone. Good substitutions can be made with a little imagination.
With so many foods to choose from, it should be easy to please everyone.