Thursday, May 2, 2013

Meals You Can Pull Together From Food You Already Have

Have you completed weeks 1 and 2 of the Spring Cleaning Challenge? If so, I hope you have a happy, healthy and clean fridge and pantry. And if you really went all out, some organized cabinets too :) If this challenge wasn't the right timing for you, check back on my previous posts and reserve some time in your schedule to get organized. Keeping a well-stocked fridge and pantry is key to making healthy food choices.

And it makes it so much easier to prepare quick, healthy meals when you have the right foods stocked!

That's what this week's post is all about. I hope to give you some inspiration for some super simple, super healthy meals that you can pull together from "staple" items kept in your fridge and pantry (plus some recipes too). "Staples" are items that make your grocery list each week and are always on hand. When you have certain foods in your home, you can whip up a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks even if you don't have a plan.

1. First, get your grocery list together. I like having a standard list that I can use to check off items I need to restock each week. You can use my "Well-Stocked Kitchen" grocery list or an app, like "Grocery Gadget."

2. When possible, at least plan dinners for the week. I recommend writing them on your family's calendar before going to the grocery store. This way, if you need anything that's not typically on your "staple" list, you can be prepared.

3. Then when it's time for meal preparation, keep MyPlate in mind.

Your healthy meal should include a variety of healthy foods from at least a few different food groups:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy
  • Lean meats
  • Healthy fats


Here are some simple ideas for combining food groups to make healthy meals. Watch how using a simple outline can help you create a variety of different meals! Remember, healthy eating doesn't have to be boring!

Breakfast

Cereal + fruit + fat + dairy
Bran flakes + banana + walnuts + milk
Oatmeal + dried cherries + almonds + milk
Grape Nuts + strawberries + pepitas + yogurt
Bread + fruit + fat + dairy
Toast + apple + peanut butter + milk
Bagel + blueberries + almond butter + yogurt
English muffin + grapes + cream cheese + milk
Starch + fruit + protein + veg
Hashbrowns + strawberries + egg and veggie omelet
Grilled cheese sandwich with spinach + blueberries
English muffin + jam + frittata (egg and veggie bake)

**Download the Breakfast of Champions list for 10 healthy breakfasts!**


Lunch 

Starch + protein + fat + veg + fruit
Sandwich with turkey and mayo + sliced peppers + orange
Wrap  with black beans and avocado + sliced cucumbers + grapes
Crackers + tuna with mayo + baby carrots + tomato and basil salad
Quinoa with salmon + salad + oil/vinegar + strawberries
Salad with mandarin oranges, pecans, feta cheese and dressing + crackers


Dinner 

Starch + protein + fat + veg + veg
Cous cous + salmon + green beans sautéed in olive oil + mushrooms (in cous cous)
Pasta + chicken + broccoli topped with olive oil + marinara
Baked potato + steak with margarine/butter + broccoli + carrots
Quinoa + chickpeas with olive oil/lemon dressing + squash/zucchini + tomatoes (mixed together)
Rice + chicken and mixed vegetables stir fried in olive/canola oil

(The only group this meal plan is lacking is dairy, so I would suggest using that group for snacks).


And here are some recipes that would also fit the bill.



Now have some fun making quick and delicious healthy meals! Here's to healthy eating and a happy spring :)