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Meal Planning 101

Meal Planning 101

A fundamental tool for healthy eating!

Try this tip so you never get bored with meal planning. If you’re new to meal planning or a pro, then you know there’s a possibility that you can get bored. Meal planning is one of several tools I use as a dietitian with my clients to keep them on track with their health goals. It’s a simple system, yet it can be overwhelming to start. I understand!

Start with compatible food items:

Compatible food items that go with everything else you cook — basically, it’s a meal planning mix and match to help stick to your health goals.

For example, you make a recipe that’s a bowl all week and by Tuesday you’re already bored of the same food…. so you skip what you made and go get fast food or dine out. You’ve not only have wasted money, but unfortunately, you’ve probably wasted your time and energy from cooking. Some foods don’t stay as well for a week at a time when they’re made fully — for example pasta…you can’t really store that well without losing the texture and the flavor sometimes changes.

That’s why making interchangeable foods, cooking them simple, and storing them solo in the fridge to use later in any recipe you like, is key to making batch cooking work for your home.

Mix and Match Meals:

These meal components are made on your batch cooking day.

  • cooked bulgar wheat, grains

  • roasted vegetables

  • boiled eggs

  • soup

  • kale salad

  • Tahini dressing

  • hummus

  • cooked legumes

  • sliced vegetables

  • the list goes on!

The key thing to remember with meal components is anything that can be added with something else to build a meal. It’ll also help you create balanced meals with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber (hello veggies!), and a protein source.

You can switch up your meals by using simple and prepped meal components by adding spices, “superfoods”, dressings, and condiments.

Spices are a great way to switch it up! If you find yourself steaming or roasting vegetables but falling into a rut, consider adding spices like sea salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, ginger, garlic, red chili flakes, and turmeric to give veggies a nice change.

I often make on a batch cooking day is bulgar wheat, roasted veggies, and kale salad.

Let’s say on Monday for a quick lunch to a large bowl I add all of those things, add on a drizzle of olive oil, avocados, seeds, or raw nuts, legumes, and add a dressing and fresh herb.

Then the next day for lunch, I can use the same exact ingredients and if I’m bored, then I can switch out the dressing, the herbs, and the fat and protein source. It’s really that simple!

 By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN

Contribute!

How do you switch it up when it comes to meal planning? Do you try new foods, spices, condiments, etc.? Share your thoughts on Instagram #nutrition_connections

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Nutrition Connections has partnered up with EatLove to offer fully personalized meal plans tailored to your lifestyle. These meal plans are customized to your health goals, medical conditions, food allergies, preferences, and skills in the kitchen.