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Posted on 02-20-2015

"Meal Planning"

Just reading these two words strikes fear in the heart of some!

Have no fear fabulous health warriors! I'm here to make it easy for you to stay on your healthy eating plan while maintaining your sanity. So where do you start with meal planning? The best place is in your pantry; throw out or give away any processed foods.

Next, we will start with dinner.

You want to think of protein first.  That will be the base of your meal, then you will add one or two veggies and a starch.

When planning the proteins, I recommend using one or two crock-pots.  You can place a whole organic chicken in one and one or two beef roast in the other. A convenient way to do this is to place the meat in the crock-pot before bedtime. The next morning cool the meat and place in freezer bags or storage containers and freeze. This way you have the base for several meals, and it only takes a short amount of active prep time. In the morning take meat out of the freezer to thaw and add 1-2 veggies, a starch, dinner DONE!

Now wasn't that easy??

On a side-note, if you use an organic chicken after you pluck the meat off save the bones return them to the crock-pot with some filtered water, carrots, celery and onions. Cook for eight hours and you will have a beautiful broth for soups or gravy!

Speaking of soups.....they are a great way to use up veggies that have lost their youthfulness.  All you have to do is take your beautiful broth out of your freezer (or store bought broth) just make sure it contains no MSG. Add your tired veggies and cook. I like to use my immersion blender or a blender and purée it, it looks beautiful especially if you're using green vegetables.

Now let's talk about breakfast.

Eggs,eggs and eggs, I love eggs! They are super versatile and easy to prepare.... my favorite way is egg muffins. You can pack these little fellas full of bacon or sausage and tons of veggies.  They freeze wonderfully and can be eaten hot or cold they are a great on the run food. Another way to utilize eggs is a frittata.  You can use up leftover meat and veggies in your fridge and bake it in a 9 x 13 glass dish it also freezes great! If you are sensitive to eggs or cannot eat them there are other things to do for breakfast such as breakfast scrambles. I like to use ground MSG free sausage or uncured nitrate free bacon and add some spinach or green onions or whatever vegetable you have on hand. You can top it with a sliced avocado.  The result is absolutely yummy!

Lunch.

Leftover dinner is always great as well as lettuce wraps, scrumptious salads, and beef muffins. What the heck are beef muffins??

These tasty little muffins are made with grass-fed beef, spinach and spices, baked in a muffin tin. They freeze great and can be eaten hot or cold.

Snacks.

Raw cut up veggies are easy and convenient, as are portioned out nuts and seeds.

Herbs.

Fresh herbs liven up any dish so experiment with new ones! Cilantro is a wonderful detoxifying herb that can be added to ground beef, salads and eggs. Rosemary can be sprinkled on roasted potatoes, and sage can be added to any chicken dish. Always keep fresh lemon and limes around and add them to your water bottle, a squeeze of lemon brightens up roasted veggies too.

Here are some good websites to get you started with meals, chowstalker.com and Epicurious.com.

To keep track of your menu you can use an XL spreadsheet or look for some menu templates on line.

I hope this helps to get you started on your own menu planning.  Let us know how you are doing! 

-Kimberley Hawthorne

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