Ring In The New Year With Meal PlanningDecember 17, 2020
Have You Tried Meal Planning?
Meal planning is one of the biggest secrets to success for eating healthy, but also one of the hardest things to do. Some people think about food too much while others don’t think about food enough and miss out on certain meals. Meal planning is also ideal especially now as we are going through a pandemic as we don’t want to be making frequent trips through the grocery stores. Weight management seemed to be hard during the pandemic for many, so meal planning can help shed any of those unwanted pounds from 2020 as we start a new chapter in 2021. Here are some meal planning tips for each meal:
First off, it is important to eat breakfast EVERY morning. It is always better to eat food from home rather than grabbing breakfast to go. High fiber foods can help start the day off right with a whole wheat English muffin, whole wheat bagel, oatmeal or whole grain cereal. Eggs or egg whites can be a great option for breakfast in an omelet with some vegetables and light cheese. It is always a great idea to have some kind of fruit in the morning whether it be in oatmeal or cereal or as a side.
It is great to get a variety of food groups at lunch time including a fruit and a vegetable side. If you are having a salad, make sure to pack it with some protein of nuts, hard boiled egg, chicken or tuna. Leftovers are a great option as well, just a long as ½ the plate is covered in vegetables. If choosing a quick option of a frozen entrée, something with less than 500 calories and 500mg of sodium is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Dinner is probably the hardest to meal plan after a long day at work. It is best to try to come up with meals for the whole week at once to ensure there are not frequent trips to the grocery store and all ingredients are on hand. Theme nights can take some pressure off of dinner meal planning. “Pasta Mondays” can consist of whole wheat pasta with turkey meatballs one week, pasta with broccoli shrimp and olive oil the next week, sweet potato gnocchi with a salad the next week, ravioli with sauteed vegetables the next or even spinach lasagna. It is all pasta, but it is a little variety each week too! There are so many great kitchen tools to use that can do a lot of work for you whether it be a slow cooker, air fryer, indoor grill, pressure cooker, rice cooker or vegetable steamer. It is important to at least have an idea when you wake up or leave for work to know what is on the menu for dinner than evening. If there is meat or fish, it can be thawing out in the refrigerator to be ready to go after work hours. If having a traditional protein, starch and vegetable dinner, it would be ideal to follow the My Plate guidelines with ¼ plate of meat, fish or alternative protein, ¼ plate of starches and ½ plate of vegetables.