Mastering the Meal Plan
Many of my clients consistently struggle with meal planning and this post simplifies it so it doesn’t consume too much of your precious time.
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- Buy in Bulk: The best thing to do is buy your protein in bulk so you can use it a variety of different ways during the week. Frozen bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts are great to use at a moments notice. You can quickly thaw as many as needed and avoid wasting unused chicken. Same goes for fish and shellfish. Costco and Sam’s Club have great organic varieties of these frozen foods, in addition to pork, lean red meat, and turkey. Also check out Trader Joe’s frozen protein selection.
- Go Vegetarian: To keep down the cost of your main dish, try some vegetarian options. Beans and legumes are a low cost, nutrient dense choice when putting together the perfect dinner. These options can also be purchased in bulk, prepared quickly, and stored easily. Great to have on hand when all else fails or you are much too tired to cook an elaborate meal.
- Eggs: The perfect protein: Don’t be afraid to incorporate eggs into your dinner. They are simple to make, delicious, and are a complete protein. Brown rice sautéed with veggies and an over-easy (or over-medium) egg on top is such a healthy dinner and can be made in a snap. It’s a big hit in our house!
- Great Grains: Like I said before, buying your grains in bulk is the cheapest and easiest way to always make sure you have it in the kitchen cabinet. Brown rice, whole wheat pastas, couscous, quinoa, and polenta are some great choices that the whole family will enjoy. Spice it up with adding veggies or the chosen protein for the night. Whole Wheat pasta with grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and pesto is a yummy, nutrient-filled dinner.
- Vary your Veggies: I know you have all heard it before but mix up your veggies and branch out from the same old trend. Purchase local produce from your farmer’s market and incorporate it into new dinner ideas. If you can’t buy fresh, remember that frozen is just as nutritious (sometimes even more so) and is such an easy make! Most grocery stores sell frozen blends of different veggies, which will be more appetizing for even the pickiest palate.
- Sauce it up: Who doesn’t love to “dip”? Condiments are a kitchen necessity, so make sure you have a few different kinds on hand. Ketchup (go for the more natural variety), mustards, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, soy sauce (or Bragg’s Amino Acids), Teriyaki sauce, salad dressings (always the lite variety), and/or olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette can spice up any simple meal. And if your little one doesn’t love the meal in front of them, maybe a little sauce will bring it to life!