My biggest challenges with meal planning are getting to the grocery store (in the winter season) and TIME (this is a problem for me all year long!) Then comes having it all together enough to create a satisfying meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Along with learning about the value of piles of generously given baby clothes (&diapers&changingtables&cribs&breastpumps&diapers&toddlerclothes&”light”reading on birth&postpartum care&foodsformakingahealthysmartwonderfulbaby) pregnancy has been reminding me the importance of meal planning! And finding inspiration in the “fixings”. I’m excited to share some of my favorites that I FINALLY got online at the Edgewater Farm Kitchen webpage over here. If you are reading from afar, these are some wonderful foods to have on hand, hope they can inspire you. If you live locally, come on down and pick some up.
About a month ago I sent a message out to some of my clients, friends and family asking them what the biggest challenge with meal planning. They mentioned:
- sticking to a plan
- inspiring recipes*
*I’m hoping to get up my favorite books list on here soon!
Interestingly, most of you have said that putting together a meal (and planning ahead for it) can be the biggest roadblock to getting a “nutrient dense whole food meal”. Aside from getting partners or kids to eat it! I am grateful to have access to many forms of protein as part of my husband’s”benefits package”. BUT, as prices of, what I consider, basic proteins like meat and eggs rise, it definitely challenged me to think of how other people might consider getting in a balanced meal on a budget.
I’ve been known to go through my day eating a bowl of “loaded” oatmeal on my drive into work at 5 am while, if I’m lucky, I enjoy the sunrise over the Cornish Covered Bridge and wonder what the day will bring me in the Kitchen in between the radio’s morning news. The day proceeds at breakneck speed, while I eat a few cookies, nibble on some salad and come home ravenous at 4 pm for an actual meal and a nap. This really messes with blood sugar regulation, but that’s a conversation for another time!
This spring, I’ve made it a point to incorporate a smoothie into my daily morning routine. It often includes blueberries, a banana, yogurt, dates, whey protein, chia seeds, flax seeds & a little ice, though I’ve been inclined to add mint & mango when I’m feeling exotic. Strawberries have been a staple in smoothies lately. Other variations I’ve tried when I’m feeling like I’d like to be an adventurous health nut include spirulina & cilantro with barley juice grass powder. [Yes. I can feel the eye rolls of the farmers in my life already.]
Part two of my new meal planning habit forming is getting my lunch together the night before with leftovers from dinner. Which, lately, has been different variations of salad! I’ve been trying to include lots of nuts, seeds, cheese, eggs & meat to get in the baby’s ever-increasing need for protein.
To give you a taste of my go-to-dinner-menu that served me well for many weeks this spring, here’s some inspiration…
Truth is I’ve been making this for me to eat whenever.** I know, it has eggs in it, but I’d love to hear if you all have alternatives that have been satisfying you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. **Sometimes I even make it into a wrap with greens & sauerkraut.
I’ve really been into these lately, I’ve just been tossing together whatever ingredients I have on hand to fill them. Best suggestion was to pre-cook them at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, then fill with mixture of old bread run through the cuisanart with some hamburger (or you could use quinoa), eggs, your favorite spices & herbs (fresh chives from my herb garden–yumm!). I like to top with some cheese to support the dairy farmers.
Tacos/ Taco Salad
Depending on if I get to the grocery store depends on if this turns into a salad. Take any vegetables, your favorite protein, beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese… wahlaa. Done. Maybe I should start foraging for dandelion greens to really make Jay’s day… Been loving this easy recipe for frying your own tortillas. Another my gluten free friend introduced me to is this— and another friend told me that she leaves it in her fridge for up to a week to really make it ready to roll. A project for kids to get involved….???
Yes. I’ve been using my bacon grease for this— though coconut oil is wonderful too!
Quinoa (or Lentil or other Grain) Bowls
This is a new one for me. Trying to actually use my grains properly & soak them ahead of time. AND wanting to use up some of my frozen vegetables— sauteed & mixed in. Officially out of onions, so still hope to use the chives in here too. Maybe this ginger-tahini dressing on top to knock our socks off? Otherwise, there’s always the Eating for the Season’s green dressing….
Wraps/ Quesadillas/ Hamburgers
This is turning into my go-to Friday night meal. I found these wraps (supposedly more protein). I’ve also been enjoying burgers with a side of roasted sweet potatoes that I just slice up the night before, toss with oil, salt & garlic & have ready to pop in a 375 degree oven when I get home. Have a little broccoli or side salad and good to go…
Been experimenting with many versions. I made this easy chickpea flour version the other night that was certainly filling & felt like I was getting in a bit more protein. Favorite toppings? Ricotta (or in a pinch cottage cheese), olives, feta, & a drizzle of honey with basil. I’ve also been adding a little spelt flour to my regular King Arthur flour recipe which I think gives it some unique flavor & makes it a bit crustier.
Flourless Chocolate Lava Cakes
Speaking of flour, or the lack of it in the grocery store, I’ve been putting the plethora of my wedding ramekins to good use, buttering them up, sprinkling in a little cocoa powder & baking them off for an impressive but not intensive dessert. And, no, I don’t use any flour just substitute in all cocoa powder. Also have successfully subbed in maple syrup instead of sugar. I think you could use coconut oil instead of butter if you don’t have it on hand by the pound like I do!
Look forward to hearing what challenges you in regards to food. As always, be sure to send an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org if you are ever interested in learning more about how to create meal plans that fit your needs, or to learn more about how Nutritional Therapy can help you!