Confession: I do not plan out every meal. There. I said it. Yes, I am a meal planner but at home I have obstacles and my family can be rather finicky. It can be frustrating but I have learned to realize that I am planning meals for the masses when I am working for Super Healthy Kids. Many of our members join because they are starting from square one. Some have younger children and those children just begin eating in ways that some of us can only hope our children will mirror before they move out of our homes. And there are even some members who are caregivers, such as a grandmother who wrote in to us one time saying that by being prepared, she is eating healthier and losing weight that she hadn’t been able to before. So what is a mom to do when she knows she should be planning better and offering healthier choices to her family, all while looking to fit into her skinny jeans? Simply, be prepared.
If you are a podcast supporter and listener, you may be happy to hear that I have joined forces with a good friend and fellow registered dietitian, Tiffany Ricci, RDN. We are going to be launching our podcast in September and it is a way for us to take the science behind nutrition and our listeners to apply it in real life. We have been recording for a few weeks now and it has been loads of fun. Just today we had our first guests, Amy and Natalie, of Super Healthy Kids. Yes, I am an active part of their team and know a lot of the behind the scenes, so-to-speak, of meal planning but having them on today was a continuation of our previous podcast about meal planning. You see, Tiffany is going to be a new mother. She and her hubby have been blessed through adoption, with a little boy! She and I have talked about meal planning before and she expressed the need to get organized with her meal planning in order to feel more in control of being sure she is offering her son a variety of healthy foods.
This sparked our conversations towards a fun way of not only getting Tiffany and her family off on the right foot but to help our listeners and followers implement healthy meal planning. Yes, it is true, meal planning can be difficult, it can be boring or even frustrating…that is if you MAKE it that way. My personal meal planning began by taking a piece of paper out and labeling what we would eat for a few meals throughout the week. I never planned breakfast or lunch, only dinners. In the beginning, it was only my husband and I and we had lunch away from home since we both worked in an office. Breakfast was almost always the same eggs and oatmeal. Well, eggs for him, and oatmeal for me but there wasn’t any “planning” for that.
Once we were blessed with the birth of our children, that had to change. And it especially changed while I was going through college because I was learning all about the importance of fresh being best and how to add more color to your plate.
Like yourself, I too want to be able to serve healthy choices to my family while being sure they are being served what they like and what my scale likes. Hey, I may have the credentials but that doesn’t mean I hold a magic wand. I too have to watch what goes into mouth. Your best line of defense is to simply be prepared.
1. Check your schedule.
By this I mean you need to really look at your week ahead. What sporting events are planned? What days are you going to run late at a meeting? Is everyone going to be home? (My husband travels a lot so that is big factor in my planning). Will there be visitors?
2. Get it prepped.
Once you have bought the food get it ready for the week ahead. One thing that I have been doing lately is purchasing pre-cut veggies. My husband loves his omelets with diced veggies and rather than take the time to do this, I have found it is just as cost effective to buy them pre-diced. Another thing I do is to prep the kids raw veggies that are going to be packed in their lunch boxes. Sometimes prepping can mean cooking extra chicken or grains. Trust me, it makes for such an easy dinner to toss together and quickly saute in a pan with fresh veggies.
3. Go non-traditional.
Simply put: You do not have to eat dinner for dinner, it is okay to eat breakfast for dinner. Yes, I plan at least one dinner a week that is a traditional breakfast meal. Yes, sometimes it is more than one time, especially during school and when my husband is not at home. We follow the same rules as any other meal planned by having fruit and veggies. We will just serve them with my homemade pancakes or homemade cereal. With this type of planning, you can even make more pancakes one morning and freeze them for that specific day that you will be serving breakfast for dinner. Simply reheat the pancakes, grab the precut raw veggies, your favorite fruit and dinner is done!
Ok, so you’re probably wondering what this colorful vegetarian dish is, right? It is so incredibly simple and is truly one of my favorite lunches or dinner on meatless Monday. Sticking with my plans of having pre-cut everything, I can throw this together in 5 minutes. It can also be gluten-free by purchasing gluten-free Naan bread. (I bought mine from Whole Foods). My Boston leaf lettuce came from my own garden. The lettuce that grows from my Tower Garden is so light and fluffy, it seems to melt in your mouth. Yum!
Hey! As I mentioned earlier in the post, I will be launching a podcast soon! I would love for you to be the first to know when it is launched, so please hop on board and subscribe! You can get my grocery list too!
- 1 cup Boston leaf lettuce
- 1 Naan (or pita) bread
- ½ cup hummus
- ½ tomato
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ yellow bell pepper
- ½ orange bell pepper
- 1 green onion
- ¼ cup raspberries
- Lay out lettuce leaves on a plate and top with Naan bread. Spread with hummus. Top with diced tomato, peppers and onion greens. Garnish with fresh raspberries.