What is Meal planning and management? Meal planning and management refers to the process of determining the foods to be prepared, cooked and presented to the family in order to meet its nutritional needs using the available resources.


Importance of Meal Planning

It ensures that:

  1. Meals are served and presented attractively.
  2. Meals are balanced to meet the nutritional needs of the family members.
  3. Meals are enough in quantity to satisfy the individual.
  4. Meal times are enjoyable.

Meal planning and presentation

After preparation and cooking, food needs to be served and presented at the dining table.

The art of food presentation is an important skill to a meal planner.


Special groups of people

When planning meals for special groups of people, it is important to know their nutritional needs in order to meet them.

Some special groups of people include:

Children, adolescents, the elderly, expectant and lactating mothers, invalids and vegetarians.


Planning Meals for Children

When planning meals for children, ensure that:

–  The food is rich in proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carbohydrates and vitamins.

–  The food is crunchy.

–  The food is served on attractive dishes.

–  The food should have vegetables.

–  Plenty of fluids should be included for example fresh fruit juice.


Planning Meals for Adolescents

Adolescents are young adults undergoing rapid growth, with huge appetite; hence consume large quantities of food. They are also very active.

Ensure their meals:

  1. Are rich in energy-giving foods, that is carbohydrates and fats.
  2. Are served in large quantities.
  3. Have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  4. Provide plenty of fluids


Planning Meals for Elderly

Due to advance in age, the metabolic processes have slowed down.

  1.   They are less active with low appetite and some may have lost their teeth.
  2.   Ensure the meals are:
  3.   Rich in minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus.
  4.   Rich in vitamins for protection.
  5.   Served in small quantities.
  6.   Easy to chew.
  7.   Well seasoned.
  8.   Have roughage to prevent constipation and cardiovascular diseases.


Planning Meals for Expectant and Lactating Mothers

An expectant mother is a woman who is pregnant, while a lactating mother is a woman who is breastfeeding.

The nutritional needs of expectant and – lactating mothers are the same.

However, a lactating mother requires more fluids and larger quantities of food.

Planning Meals for Invalids and Convalescents

An invalid is a person who is suffering from an illness.

A convalescent is a person recovering from illness.


When planning their meals, ensure:

  1.   The meal has plenty of protective foods and body building foods.
  2.   The food is soft and easy to digest.
  3.   The meal is prepared, cooked and served in a hygienic manner.
  4.   Food is served in small amounts at regular intervals.
  5.   Food is served attractively. Planning Meals for Vegetarians


Planning Meals for Vegetarian

A vegetarian is a person who does not eat animal flesh or their products such as milk, eggs, ghee etc.

There are two types of vegetarians, Lacto vegetarians and Strict vegetarians..

Points to consider when planning meals for vegetarians:

  • Mix different types of plant proteins to provide all the essential amino acids.
  • Provide a variety of proteins to avoid monotony.

–  Food is served attractively. Planning Meals for Vegetarians


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