Meal Planning is the making of a plan of meals with adequate nutrition for every member of the family within the available resources. The term available resources mean whatever the family has in the terms of time, energy and money.

We usually call it our “daily food guide”.
1. Fulfil the nutritional requirements of family members
2. Make the food economical.
3. Cater to the food preferences of individual members.
4. Save energy, time and money.
5. Use leftover food.

1. Nutritional Adequacy:
This is the most important factor as for the nutritional requirements of the entire family is fulfilled, While planning meals food items from various food groups should include energy giving foods, body building foods and protective and regulating foods.
2. Age:
People normally eat according to their age. The diet of various members of different age groups differs in quantity, and quality as for the new born diet will surely vary from that of both adults and older adult.

3. Sex:
sex is another factor which determine the dietary intake. Dietary requirement of adolescent and adult males are more than their female counterparts.

  1. Physical Activity:
    The kind of work a person does affects the kind and amount of food they need to take. The RDA is different for people engaged in different activities as for the labor will need more energy compare to the sedentary male doing office work which may differ for a household or pregnant woman and growing children.5: Economic consideration:
    Money available to the family to be spent on food is another major factor. Foods like milk, cheese, meat, fruits nuts, etc are expensive, However alternative sources like toned milk, seasonal food, fruits and vegetables are less expensive and at the same time nutritious one can therefore plan a balanced diet to suit every budget (consider compare prices from different markets)6: Time, energy and skill considerations:
    While planning the meals you should consider the resources like time, energy and skills available to the family. Meals can be elaborate with different dishes but you can simply simple by cooking in a plain but nutritious way.7: Seasonal Availability:
    The off season foods are expensive and less nutritious while those in the season are fresh, nutritious, tasty and cheap hence, while planning seasonal foods should be used.8: Religion, region, cultural patterns, traditions and customs:
    All of these factor influence meal planning and they determine the staple food, Religious beliefs prevalent in the family also have an influence, and thus determine the nutritional intake of an individual.

    9: Variety in color and texture:
    Variety in terms of color, texture, flavor and method of preparation. These factor helps make meals more appealing, attractive and hence more acceptable.

    10: Likes and dislike of individuals:
    The food you serve should cater to the likes and dislikes of the individuals. It is better to change the form of some particularly nutritious food item, rather than omitting it completely. Modify the food to suit the needs of individuals.

    11: Satiety value:
    While planning meals take care that you select foods which provide value. Meals which produce inadequate satiety will lead to onset of hunger pangs, which in return will affect the working capacity and efficiency of a person.


In planning meals, the following factors should be considered:
1: Nutritional adequacy – or the provision of palatable foods that are rich in essential nutrients, Nutrient needs of an individual are affected  by age, sex, body built, and activities engaged by the individual.

2: The Food Budget: The food budget is influenced by the family income, knowledge of the market shopper’s shopping skills, family food likes and dislikes, and their goals and values.

3: Differences in the food habits: These include the dietary habits of nationality groups, regional food patterns, cultural and religious food patterns, and the socioeconomic background.

4: The time and skill of the meal manager: The length of meal preparation, the amount of experience, and the time available are to be considered.

5: Suitability, Availability, and the quality of the food to be served.

6: Aesthetic and psychological aspects of food or the proper combination of flavor, texture and shapes as well as variety in color, form, and arrangement.

7: Equipment available for food preparation.


Here are some basic principles to make sure that the meal planned will be pleasing. The principles are in the form of a question checklist. After a menu is drawn up, these questions must be asked to see whether or not some important considerations have been overlooked.

1: Are the foods contrasting in color
         Dishes which are all pale or all dark or are of the same color must be avoided.

2: Is there variety in texture
Some of the foods should be soft, smooth or liquid, while others should be firm or crunchy.

3: Is there variety in the main ingredients
Repetition of a certain kind of meat or vegetable must be avoided. Likewise, using all dried, canned, heavy, or long-cooked foods should not be done. Some fresh, crisp, bland or briefly cooked food must be included.

4: Is there variety in the sauces seasonings
One should not serve the same kind of sauce for more than one dish.   There must be no repetition of dominant flavors of vinegar, garlic, soya sauce, ginger or other distinctive seasonings. Some dishes should be pungently seasoned, others blandly.

5: Are there too much last minute cooking
It is especially important that much work, shortly before guests arrive or while they are being served, be avoided, Lack of experience at a certain type of cooking, may require more time than one imagined for seemingly easy tasks.

6: Have you planned too many dishes or too many complicated or new dishes
Meals must be kept simple. More than one or two dishes that require new cooking techniques to the cook must not be tried. Everything that can be done ahead of time must be done. An early start is advisable and last minute preparations must be altogether avoided.