Meal Planning Made Easy
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Meal Planning Made Easy

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Do you ever get home from work, exhausted from your day, and then struggle to find something in your kitchen for dinner? Do you often have to resort to take-out or fast food because you didn’t plan ...

Do you ever get home from work, exhausted from your day, and then struggle to find something in your kitchen for dinner? Do you often have to resort to take-out or fast food because you didn’t plan anything in advance? In this workshop, we’ll discuss strategies for simple, healthy meal planning, keeping in mind factors such as time and budget.

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Meal Planning Made Easy Meal Planning Made Easy Presentation Transcript

  • Cristin Stokes, RD Montana University System Wellness Program Spring 2014 Meal Planning Made Easy
  • Objectives  Meal Planning Made Easy: Do you ever get home from work, exhausted from your day, and then struggle to find something in your kitchen for dinner? Do you often have to resort to take-out or fast food because you didn’t plan anything in advance? In this workshop, we’ll discuss strategies for simple, healthy meal planning, keeping in mind factors such as time and budget.
  •  “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought.” –Michael Pollan, author of Cooked
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry  Essentials: Cooking oil (olive, canola), salt, pepper, chicken or veggie broth, favorite seasonings  Cristin’s 10 staples: 1. Garlic & onions 2. Canned beans 3. Pasta (rotini) 4. Eggs 5. Chicken breasts 6. Frozen vegetables (spinach, peas, mixed) 7. Cheese (parmesan, feta, goat) 8. Canned tomatoes 9. Vinegar (balsamic, red wine, white) 10. Quinoa (or other favorite whole grain)
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry  Other suggestions: milk, tortillas, frozen hamburger or ground turkey, canned tuna, lemon juice, breadcrumbs  Keep a grocery list on refrigerator or in kitchen – make note if you run out of any of the staples
  • The Sunday Ritual Plan – Shop – Prep  Write into the calendar – make meal planning/prep a priority  Sunday afternoon/Saturday morning/weekday mornings/after dinner  1-2 hours on the weekend = less stress during the week, healthier meals for you and your family
  • Plan it out • 1-3 cookbooks, online, family favorites
  • Plan it out  1. Refrigerator inventory  What needs to be used sooner rather than later?  Leftovers  2. Look at schedule for the week  Which nights do you have schedule commitments?  Think about amount of time you will have (if any!) for meal preparation
  • Plan it out  3. Meal selection  Meat/protein  Sales/coupons  Mom’s method: One red, one white, one meatless, one leftover  Add fish  Healthiest protein choices: Fish, legumes, poultry without skin, lean cuts of beef and pork (loin, round, flank), tofu/tempeh  Starch  Whole grains w/faster cooking times: bulgur, quinoa, whole grain pasta  Whole grain bread  Starchy vegetables: Corn, peas, potatoes
  • Plan it out!  3. Meal Selection  Vegetables  Can base your meal around vegetables instead of meat o Seasonal, farmers market, etc.  Dark green/orange vegetables are most nutritious  Frozen, canned ok
  • Plan it out 3. Meal Selection  Vegetables  Salad fixings  Spinach, romaine, spr ing mix  Vegetables  Dried fruit – cranberries, cherries, blueberries, golden raisins  Nuts – almonds, pecans, wal nuts, etc.  Homemade dressing – get creative!
  • Plan it out  3. Meal selection  Other considerations  Slow Cooker  2 new + 2 tried and true recipes  Effort/time required for each recipe  Utilizing leftovers & batch cooking
  • Using Leftovers  Cook once, serve twice  1. Keep it simple  2. Spice it up  Examples:  Roast Chicken  Chicken Enchiladas  Parchment Paper Salmon  Pesto Salmon Pasta  Grilled Pork Chops  Pork & Vegetable Stir Fry  Good options to utilize leftovers  Quiche or frittata  Pasta  Soup/Chili  Salad  Pizza
  • Batch cooking  Must have adequate freezer space!  Components of meals • Meatballs, taco meat, cooked beans & rice, shredded/diced chicken or pork, meat w/marinade, pizza dough  Multipurpose sauces – marinara, BBQ, peanut  Double or triple the recipe  Once per month batch cooking  Casseroles, soups, chili, lasagna, meatloaf  www.onceamonthmom.com  www.sixsistersstuff.com  Pinterest
  • Batch cooking  Freezing Tips o Make-ahead meals should be used within 3 months for best taste and quality o Use shallow, smaller dishes to reduce freezing and baking time o Foods that do not freeze well: produce with high water content, flour thickened sauces/gravies, eggs, mayo, pasta (undercook) o Thaw food safely – plan ahead • Do not just thaw on counter all day! o Keep a list of what is in your freezer
  • Shop  Make a list  Write down ALL ingredients for each recipe (even if you think you have it!)  Cross off each ingredient that you already have  Combine with refrigerator door list  Organize by grocery store section- dairy, bakery, produce, etc.
  • Prep  Chop vegetables, cook meat, mix spices, etc.  Invest in good storage containers  Label  Batch cooking  Get organized beforehand  Label with directions for reheating
  • Other Meals  Breakfast  Make ahead items: breakfast burritos (freezer), steel cut oats, whole grain pancake mix, healthy muffins  Include protein: eggs, nut butter, yogurt, milk, etc.  Lunch  Intentionally plan leftovers  i.e. Chicken salad made from roasted chicken  Snacks  Fruits/veggies  Include two different food groups  Late afternoon snack to keep hunger in check while cooking dinner
  • Cooking for One  Salad bar, bulk aisle for small amounts of ingredients  Halve recipes –  Shorten cooking time  Season to taste  Leftovers = healthy lunches, can be transformed into different meals  Recipe for 4 = one for dinner, one for leftovers, two for the freezer  Batch cooking  You are worth a great meal!  Long term investment in health
  • Meal Makeovers  Spaghetti  Whole wheat spaghetti (Barilla), sauteed veggies (broccoli, summer squash, onions), lean ground turkey in sauce, sharp cheese for garnish  Tacos  Whole wheat tortilla or taco salad with multigrain tortilla chips, extra lean ground beef (90%+ lean), add black or pinto beans or lentils to the meat, romaine lettuce, avocado, salsa or pico de gallo, low-fat plain yogurt
  • Meal Makeovers  Pizza  Whole wheat crust, load up on vegetables (spinach, arugula, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, etc ), lighter on the cheese  Top with leftovers – meat, roasted vegetables, etc.  Chicken  See recipe handout
  • www.wellness.mus.edu wellness@montana.edu montanamovesandmeals.com www.facebook.com/MUSwellne