10 tips for creating weekly dinner menus and losing weight...

Over the course of a week your weekly dinner menus should be a nice mix of a variety of foods. A balanced healthy diet will have you losing weight, and each action you take to build on it will make a difference not only to the amount of weight you lose, but how you're body feels and looks.

My Top 10 tips for balanced weekly dinner menus that will have you losing weight:

  • Have one dinner meal a week that is vegetables only. Try a vegetable minestrone soup, a vegetarian risotto, new potatoes topped with ratatouille
  • Eat two fish meals a week. Fish is 'brain food'. Any fish is good, but try for fresh, and go for variety. With the variety fo seafood and shellfish available, these meals need never be boring. Use canned fish too, go for the varieties that are in springwater, or brine (drain well).
  • Two lean red meat meals a week. Remember to cut the fat off before it hits your plate.
  • Two skinless chicken meals a week. Again, whether you cook it with the skin on or off, remember to discard the skin before the chicken goes on your plate, that will reduce your fat intake.
  • Keep frozen vegetables on hand. Frozen vegetables are not a poor substitute for fresh, and they are great when you're short of time. Keep varieties that the family loves on hand for when you're short of time, or ideas.
  • Limit the cheese and cream sauces to start with. In the beginning restrict cheese and cream based sauces as much as possible. Don't deprive yourself of them entirely, just limit them. Once you're where you want to be you can add them back in...sometimes.
  • Start experimenting with herbs. pick up some fresh herbs and taste them...then start adding them to things. Try lemon zest and on vegetables.
  • Color up your plate. Mix up the vegetables, greens, yellows, reds, whites...go for a variety of colours, not only does it look good, but each colour gives you different things...go for weekly dinner menus filled with variety.
  • Skimp on the fats you use in your cooking. How many people do you know that say...but I don't eat much fat! But they deep fry, and add way more fats to their pans than is necessary. Go for plant derived oils and fats in cooking...olive oil, sunflower oil
  • Everything doesn't have to be steamed, boiled or without flavour...Check your supermarket condiment isles for things like...horseradish, peppers, salsas (no added sugar - if you warm these up, they're great on red meats), mustards, low salt soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings (low fat , low sugar)...experiment, find the ones you like and then have a play with the different ways you can use them. Weekly dinner menus don't have to be boring. For example, 1 tablespoon of seeded mustard and 2 tablespoons of white Italian Dressing, is fantastic as a salad dressing, and over steamed vegetables.

Work your changes in slowly, next time you do your weekly meal plans, if you see a lot of red meat, concentrate on coming up with one balanced meal that includes fish, not fried. Baked in the oven, set on a bed of Basmati rice and served with a salad of mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber and fresh basil.

That's it. Just one meal a week for now, then work your way up as you find what you like and don't like, go for two meals next week...and so on. Too much pressure and you'll eventually get tired of it. Work into it slowly...And then to complete the day, after that great meal, take the kids and hubby for a walk, and when you get back... they all have to help you clean up!

Pay attention to the food serving sizes :

When you're losing weight, pay close attention to your serving sizes, even a balanced healthy diet will have you putting on weight if you eat too much of it...your body needs a certain amount of everything...but too much of a good thing is still too much.

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