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Plan to Eat Healthier – Part 1

One of the often suggested steps to eating healthy is planning your weekly meals ahead of time. Planning your meals allows you to make sure you’re including a variety of foods in your weekly meals. It allows you to make one big shopping list and therefore helps prevent all of those mid-week quick stops at the grocery store–less trips to the store mean less impulse purchases of chips, candy, etc. And, planned meals and fewer grocery store trips means you’ll spend less money and who doesn’t want to do that?

The excuse I hear most for not planning meals ahead is lack of time. But that’s just hogwash! It can take as little as a half hour or so (once you’re organized) to plan a week’s worth of meals, and just 3 extra trips per week to the grocery store could easily take 3 times that much. And going out to eat or even the drive thru a few days a week adds up to more time spent. So there!

It may not surprise you but I am one of THOSE people that does plan my meals. Honestly, I think if I didn’t plan, the stress of not knowing what I was having for dinner each day would kill me. Planning meals can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make. I’ve seen examples on Pinterest of very elaborate meal planning methods like this and this.  As you can see by my menus for this week:

my system is on the simple side. I choose as many meals as I need for the week, but don’t necessarily know which meal is for which day. I know that I’ll be making pizza on Saturday for family movie night and I know the crock pot soup (cp soup on list) is for Monday when I have less than an hour between my son’s Tae Kwon Do and my daughter’s science team meeting. The rest, I play by ear. Some meals are very specific with the entree, side, and veg while others are just an entree without other specifics and I’ll pick a vegetable that looks good at the store or head to my freezer or pantry for a quick and easy veggie that night.

I challenge you non-meal planners to give it a try. I’m sure you’ll find you’re eating healthier and cheaper too! Start out slowly–make a list of a few of your family’s go-to meals. Include the sides and veggies you’d serve, when appropriate. Then, for each meal, make a list of all of the ingredients you’d need for that dinner. You don’t need to include staples like oil, seasonings, etc. Just include those ingredients you’d need to buy to prepare the meal. These lists are what you’ll refer to when making your weekly grocery list. But don’t worry about that yet. For now, just write down the meal idea and ingredient lists. At the very least, pick 7 meals, but you can do as many as you’d like. The more options, the more varied your eating will be from week to week. Come back next week to learn what step 2 is.

You’ll see one of the meals on my list this week is Wh Grn breaded Chick a la heidi with
rstd broc. Translation: Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Cutlets a la Heidi (a la Heidi means the sweet tomato sauce I serve on the chicken) with roasted broccoli. Here’s the chicken recipe if you want to include it on your list.

(In planning this week I was still being inspired by the Kretschmer Wheat Germ that was so generously given to me.)

Chicken Cutlets Pomodoro

Chicken Cutlets Pomodoro

Ingredients

  • Chicken:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 split, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1/3 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • dash kosher salt and pepper, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Heat 1 TB olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat.
  2. Place flour in shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and water together. Place breadcrumbs and wheat germ on a third plate and mix. Dip each chicken breast first into flour, shake off excess, and then into egg, and bread crumbs mixtures.
  3. Place chicken in hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. (see picture below) Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes more while you make the sauce.
  4. For sauce, Wipe out skillet with a paper towel. Place butter and garlic in the same pan, stir frequently as butter melts. As soon as garlic begins to brown slightly, add onion along with about half of sugar. Cook until softened and slightly brown. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock, rest of sugar, tomato paste, and salt and pepper.
  5. Cook on medium until thickened. Serve over chicken cutlets.

Here you can see how the chicken should look cooking.  The one on the right has already been flipped.   Hope you try and enjoy this and Good luck as you begin menu planning!  Let me know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

This post is linked to The Country Cook Potluck

 

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2 Responses to Plan to Eat Healthier – Part 1

  1. Janik says:

    Lack of time for planning meals is hogwash indeed…I find I have MORE time since I started doing that: its all done and dealt with.

  2. admin says:

    Exactly! Thanks for stopping by, and commenting.

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