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Classwork Series and Exercises {Home Economics – JSS3}: Meal Planning

Home Economics JSS3

Week 2



Factors that Influence Meal Planning

Guidelines for Meal Planning


Meal planning can be defined as taking the time to plan nutritious meals  for a specified time . It is the process of planning the type of food the family wants. To plan healthy family meals, the groups and classes of foods must be put into consideration.

Meal planning is also the implementation of the principle of nutrition in one’s daily diet in an appetizing manner. Once a meal plan is drawn up, corresponding ingredients can be purchased for the specified meals on the plan.

To enable a meal planner prepare meals that will supply the nutritional needs of every member of the family, it is necessary to eat balanced meals. A balanced meal is one that contains all food nutrient in correct quantities for a given person. Meal planning involves choosing a menu or a list of foods that will be included in a meal.

Balanced Meal: A balanced diet includes three meals that together account for the recommended daily servings from each group every day. By ensuring that half the foods consumed in a day are fruits and vegetables and the other half are made up of grains and protein with a small amount of low-fat dairy, individuals can ensure a diet that is balanced and healthy . This kind of meals contain all six classes of foods.

Factors that influence meal planning

  1. Age of Family Members: The age of each family member influences his/her nutritional needs. These include children, adolescents, adults and the aged.
  2. Occupations or Activities of family members: The work a person does influences his food needs, for instance a manual worker will require more energy foods than sedentary worker
  3. Health conditions of family members: Certain foods are not suitable for certain health conditions.
  4. Size of the family: The size of the family will determine the quantity of meal to plan for.
  5. Seasons of the year: Most food stuffs are seasonal. Foods in seasons are cheaper, fresher and tastier than when they are out of season. Different foods are available for different seasons.
  6. Money Availability: The quantity or type of food to plan for, depends on the income of a family.
  7. Time Availability: The planner should consider the time available for her to prepare and serve the meal.

Guidelines for meal planning

  1. The meal must contain all necessary food nutrients.
  2. Provide for nutritional needs of all family members in the meal plan.
  3. Avoid monotony by varying foods.
  4. Make use of foods in season.
  5. Buy good quality foods.
  6. Plan meals several days ahead of time so as to save money and time.

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