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What the Heck is Meal Planning?

Posted: August 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Balanced Lunch, Meal Planning | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

How many times a week do you enter the grocery store, with nothing in mind, and have to come up with dinner on the fly? How many times a week do you end up spending double what you think you will at the grocery store?

Enter Meal Planning, Your New Best Friend.

You’ve heard of it. It’s something that obsessively organized people do. Right? No! Meal planning is something that everyone should do. Whether you are running a busy household and need to plan school lunches and meals for your kids, or are accommodating a family member with a health concern such as diabetes or a gluten allergy, or even if you just want to feel a little calmer before you step into the kitchen, a meal plan is an ideal solution for making your life easier!

Planning your meals can be as simple as writing down a few ideas before you head to the supermarket, or as complex as making dedicated lists of each item that you want to eat, attaching recipes, and coming up with a detailed shopping list. The good thing is that either way will help you achieve these goals:

1. You save money: when you shop once a week with a list of meals in mind, you save money on groceries. If you need further proof of this, go ahead and shop at your normal rate and tally up your  receipts at the end of the week. The next week, plan out five meals, and shop once. Or even twice. It will be cheaper, and sometimes by a huge chunk of change.

2. You save time: when you have a few meals planned out for the week, you will save time grocery shopping, and likely, you will save time cooking as well.

3. There are added health benefits: when you plan your meals ahead of time, you minimize food cravings and overeating, by having something to look forward to. You also are planning for a specific portion size, which will reduce the chances that you cook double what you need just because you are starving.

Your homework: sit down sometime this week and jot down five possible meals for the rest of the week. This doesn’t have to be complex, it can be as simple as: “pasta, meatloaf, chili, salmon, pancakes for dinner”. Or, if you’d like something a little bit different, you might consider choosing a theme for the week or for each night: “Mexican, Italian, French, Moroccan, Country-style”.

This is the first post in a series about Meal Planning. We’ll be getting into the nitty gritty in the future, with ideas for kitchen novices and meal planning pros alike!!

Alton Brown’s Healthy Diet Advice

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Nutrition, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »
If you haven’t seen Alton Brown’s show ‘Good Eats’ on the Food Network, you are missing out. It’s one of the best shows to improve your skills in the kitchen, and is most entertaining to watch. The tools and tricks he teaches are invaluable. The man is a creative GENIUS.
One of the most current episodes of Good Eats actually focuses on weight loss, given his own recent drop of about 50 pounds. He gave some simple lists of what he eats (and doesn’t eat.) While everyone’s body is different, his lists seem like a pretty sound way to eat nutritiously. And deliciously.
His Daily list includes: fruit, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, carrots, and green tea.
His 3 times a week list includes: oily fish, yogurt, broccoli, sweet potato, and avocado.
His Once a week list includes: red meat, pasta, dessert, alcohol.
His Never list includes: fast food, soda, processed meals/frozen dinners, canned soup (too much sodium), “diet” anything.
PLUS: Eat breakfast every day, no exceptions.
Rather than being a diet, these are all pretty sound recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, and for the most part, how I aspire to eat.
Although oatmeal is my breakfast of choice, he also makes a good breakfast smoothie suggestion: a total of 24 ounces (by weight) – to do so, put your blender on a digital scale and tare to zero. Add 4 ounces of acai juice, 4 ounces of light soy milk, 4 ounces each of frozen fruits to add up to 24 ounces). And his suggestion was to make it at night and put them all in the refrigerator overnight before blending. He also gave useful blending advice, including to start out slow and then build speed to a slow vortex in order to get it to mix thoroughly.
This seems slightly easier than Dr. Oz’s Magical Breakfast blaster, which I’ve also been tempted to make recently: From here: (
A 1/2 large ripe banana, broken into chunks (or other fruit of your choice), 1 scoop (1/3 cup) Soy Protein (like Nature’s Plus Spiru-Tein),1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 tablespoon apple juice concentrate or honey, 1 teaspoon psyllium seed husks, 8 ounces water (serves 2)
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