Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Healthy & Quick Meal Tips

Personally, I am not one who plans a week's worth of meals the week before even though I should.  I usually figure out what to make for dinner the day of, & I inevitably have to go to the grocery store that day to get the ingredients that I do not have on-hand.  If I would only plan seven days worth of meals prior to the following week, then I could go to the grocery store & get everything I need.  It would be even better to plan 14 days worth of meals.

So, I am all about tips to help me in the area of meal planning.

"Do you ever feel like the day has just passed you by? You're not alone. As our days seem to become busier and busier, it's crucial to make sure our brains and bodies are getting enough nutrition to stay strong, sharp and healthy.

Fortunately, healthy home-cooked food doesn't always require hours in the kitchen. Follow these tips to keep up your busy schedule without sacrificing nutrition.
  • Use a pressure cooker to reduce cooking times of beans and other foods.
  • Use a crock-pot (slow cooker) to reduce time spent in the kitchen. It cooks food at a low steady heat allowing for unattended cooking.
  • Freeze leftovers in single-size portions. Take a portion out of the freezer and place in the fridge the night before for a quick lunch or dinner the following day.
  • Buy prepared deli foods from PCC or Whole Foods as side dishes or to add to salads.
  • Keep the following on hand to add to salads, soups and other meals:
  • Protein sources:
    • Pre-cooked whole grains like quinoa, barley or brown rice
    • Pre-cooked beans stored in the refrigerator or freezer or canned beans. Be sure to rinse the beans to reduce excess sodium.
    • Marinated and baked tofu or tempeh
    • Hard-boil eggs chilled in the fridge (will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator)
  • Vegetables & fruits:
    • Shredded cabbage, kale, chard, or any other green leafy vegetable
    • Frozen vegetables as a backup, if fresh vegetables are not available
    • Frozen fruit such as raspberries, blueberries, or pineapple to quickly add a serving of fruit to dinner or to the breakfast cereal or smoothie. Thaw only amount of fruit needed in the refrigerator, under running water or microwave.
  • Herbs, spices, sauces & dressings:
    • At least one or two homemade dressings and sauces.
    • Dried herbs and spice mixtures
    • Prepared curries and simmer sauces for quick flavor."