Are you hoping healthier meals will decrease your risk factors and lessen your chances of having to go on blood pressure or diabetes medications?
Interested in reversing Covid-related weight gain?
Whatever the reason, if you’ve recently made a commitment to eating better, then healthier meal planning is most likely on your to-do list.
Here are 3 tips to make meal planning easier:
1 – Identify Your Tried-and-True Meals
Though they say variety is the spice of life, having a list of dependable calorie-controlled, healthy meals that you know are easy to prepare, are good tasting and don’t leave you feeling hungry or deprived – and then repeating them week to week – is a winning healthy eating strategy.
Examples of tried-and true dinner meals at our home that we repeat week to week and can be quickly prepared include:
- frozen veggie or turkey burgers
- chopped vegetable salad with barbecued chicken or frozen falafel
- quinoa salad or tacos with seared frozen shrimp
- baked salmon with roasted vegetables
- lentil soup and sandwich (peanut butter, tuna salad or avocado and hard-boiled egg)
- tofu stir fry with vegetables
- egg white and vegetable scramble with baked beans
Finding a repertoire of meals that include more vegetables and fruits, less red meat and processed meats, more plant based proteins like beans, lentils, nuts and tofu and more seafood and fish is the goal.
Be patient as this may take some time till you find the meals you most enjoy.
2- Experiment with New Recipes
So as not to get bored with your dependable meals, you also need to leave room for novelty and experimentation.
Isn’t that what enjoying life is all about?
Here’s where I recommend you be a sleuth to discover new recipes.
You can search the internet to check out the many healthy recipes online. It’s always best to choose websites that include nutrition facts and serving sizes to help you make the most informed choices.
You may want to look online for a specific recipe you’ve been curious about trying such as overnight oats, avocado toast, three-bean chili, lentil soup, healthy burrito bowl, no noodle zucchini lasagna, no-bake energy bites or roasted chickpeas.
Also – feel free to check out the many healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas spearheaded by registered dietitian nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, in my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!
Commit to trying just 1-2 new recipes each week.
3- Do Advance Prep Work
Consider dedicating time either on the weekends or after grocery shopping to do some advanced prep work. Here are some examples:
- Wash and cut up fresh vegetables and fruits so they’re ready to grab and go
- Batch cook barbecued chicken that can be frozen in smaller quantities for future meals
- Freeze pieces of salmon that can be defrosted in refrigerator for a next night’s meal
- Batch cook bean or lentil soup that can be frozen in smaller containers
- Roast chickpeas that can be used throughout the week as a snack or sprinkled on salads
Doing advance prep work will ensure your healthier foods will make it into your meal plan – and your stomach.
As time goes on, you can look forward to healthy meal planning becoming easier and easier.
Stay safe and be well!
Robert Kushner, MD