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Taught a great class last night at 18 Reasons about healthy meal planning and I wanted to share some key tips with all of you…

Tips for Healthy Meal Planning
•    Look ahead for extra-busy days and plan something quick for those days
•    During the week, plan simpler meals: one-pot meals, broiled or roasted meats, steamed vegetables, salads, fresh fruit desserts. Save sauces and multi-step meals for weekends.
•    Have a cook swap with your friends/co-workers or make cooking a meal together the fun activity you do one night (with a glass of wine?)
Efficiency tricks:
o    Read ahead in the recipe- so you can plot out what to be cutting while oven pre-heats, or chop 1 Cup of carrots when two recipes each call for ½ Cup.
o    Brown extra ground beef for dinner to use in another dish, like tacos, later in the week.
o    Cook two more chicken breasts and then cut some up for another meal such as stir-fry with vegetables and brown rice. Freeze or Refrigerate.
o    Cook extra rice, put it into a container, and refrigerate or freeze. On a busy night, microwave it, stirring occasionally, until heated through, then use as you would fresh.
o    Chop a whole onion or several cloves of garlic, even if you only need part of it right now. Store the rest for another meal.
o    Grate extra cheese and store it in a zippered plastic bag in the freezer.

3 Day Sample Menu for 2 people:
Night before- leave 7 Cups White Beans out to soak
Day 1
Bfast- Make big batch of oatmeal (2C), serve ½ C each with nuts & fruit, refrigerate 1 C
Lunch- Salad (pre-washed) with canned fish/beans, veggies, WW crackers
Dinner- Make big pot of simple white beans (7C), save bean liquid (1 C for bean dip),set aside 4 Cups to make Kale/Sausage/Bean Ragout (7C) (Recipe to come this week), Enjoy Ragout (3.5 C). Refrigerate the rest of the beans (2 C) and Ragout leftovers (aprox 3.5 C left). Cut up raw veggies enough for 2 days and put in ziplock baggies.
Day 2
Bfast- ½ C each Oatmeal from Day 1 w freshly added fruit & nuts
Lunch- Leftover Ragout (1 ¾ C each), side of cut up raw carrots & celery (“Crudite”)
Dinner- Make big pot of brown rice (4 C), serve 2 C of it with protein (fish, chicken, tofu etc), steamed veggies (fresh or frozen). Set aside 2 portions of protein. Make a rice  salad (try this one) with leftover 2 C rice. Blend remaining White Beans (2 C) with olive oil, lemon, parsley to make dip/spread for crudite or sandwich filling
Day 3
Bfast- WW Toast, nut butter, piece of fruit
Lunch- 2C Rice Salad, leftover protein on top, with Crudite and Bean dip
Dinner- Make a big pot(~14C) of Lentil stew (try this one), serve 2 C each w pre-washed salad, crusty WW bread.  Reserve 2 C for tomorrow’s lunch w sandwich, Freeze 4 Cups for future.

Menu Planning Resources:
Free:
www.simpleskillet.com (weekly menus- including budget, kid freindly,low carb, diabetic, vegetarian- plus shopping list)
www.eatingwell.com (28 Day diet meal plans at 1200, 1500 and 1800 kcals or customizable plans)
www.rachelraymag.com (weekly menu + shopping list)

www.familyeats.net (local Bay Area mom cooking healthy for her family of four, weekly menu+ shopping list)
Subscription:
www.myfoodmyhealth.com (specializes in health conditions and food allergies)
www.mealeasy.com (health conditions etc)

Here is a Weekly Meal Planner to fill out.  Feeling intimidated? No need to fill out the whole thing, just start with a few days or even just dinners. Give it a try!

Let me know of any time saving tricks you use, recipe/meal planning sites you love or just give a shout-out if you support planning to cook more for fun and health.

Have to chop garlic? Chop enough for several recipes and refridgerate

 

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