Meal Planning – One, Two, Three
By Pamela Redwine
No one plans to fail – they just fail to plan! Planning saves time and money and it puts you in control of what you eat. Most “grab and eat right now choices” are loaded with fat, sugar, and sodium.
Here are 3 steps to start meal planning. The first step is to plan just 3 or 4 dinners; if you eat more meals at home you should work up to planning 6 or 7 dinners for the week:
1. Plan 3-4 dinners – Write down 3-4 healthful dinners that are easy for you to make.
• Make extra to serve for the next night’s dinner or lunch.
• Base meal ideas on existing ingredients you have on hand such as frozen chicken.
• Are there store specials such as buy-one-get-one-free pasta you can use?
2. Check supplies. Write down what you usually eat for breakfast and lunch and make a list of what you need to prepare those for a week. Check other staple items and supplies.
3. Make a list of what you need and go to the store. Putting your list in the order of the store, e.g. produce, grains, dairy, meat, helps shopping become faster and less prone to buying things you don’t need.
Healthful Meal Ideas
• Shredded wheat with skim milk and fruit
• Oatmeal with skim milk and fruit
• Fruit, yogurt, whole grain toast
• Fruit, yogurt, whole grain cereal
• English muffin, fruit, skim milk
• Pita pocket with salad and chicken breast
• Leftover pasta or other entrée from dinner
• Whole grain chicken/tuna sandwich, veggies
• Peanut butter sandwich, fruit, veggies
• Soup and salad
• Low-fat stir fry
• Low-fat baked potato and salad
• Chicken and rice pot (arroz con pollo)
• Low-fat pizza and salad
• Baked chicken breast, brown rice, veggie
• Low-fat chili, salad
• Low-fat chicken tacos, beans, rice, salad
• Pasta and salad
• Low-fat lasagna
• Low-fat stir fry with shrimp, veggies, rice
• Family favorites made lower in fat, salt
• Lentils and rice, salad
• Paella, salad
• Baked fish, boiled potato, steamed veggie
• BBQ chicken breast, baked potato, salad
• Vegetarian burrito, rice, salad
Article Source: Communicating Food for Health
Recipe of the Week:
Macaroni and Cheese
4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked), cooked without salt or fat
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons grated fresh onion
1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first 10 ingredients; stir well. Spoon into a shallow 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray.
3. Combine breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon margarine, and paprika; stir well. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover casserole; bake an additional 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup).