How to Meal Plan Without Overplanning

By Robyn Priebe
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Today in our meal planning class at our healthy weight loss spa I had mentioned that meal planning does not always need to involve determining specific combinations you’ll pair up, for example deciding that you must serve Lemon Cantonese Chicken with a Soba Noodle Salad and steamed snow peas.  Focusing on 1 food group is also an appropriate way to meal plan.   For example, if starches and proteins are a breeze, but you always skimp on vegetables, you could focus on planning lots of veggie recipes to include in your meals.

Another suggestion is to focus on planning condiments. If you can grill a chicken breast or cook brown rice and can nuke frozen vegetables but hate that meal since it’s plain, maybe keeping some fun condiments on hand is all you need.   Here are a list of uses for some condiments that may help doctor up an otherwise boring menu item:

Vinaigrettes:

  • add to left-over cooked grains for a cold grain salad
  • drizzle over steamed vegetables
  • marinate meat or vegetables before grilling
  • use as a sauce for cooked proteins

Salsa & Chutney:

  • mix with cooked grains & cheese – shape into patties and bake or pan fry
  • mix with cooked legumes for a cold salad
  • use to top cooked proteins

Pesto:

  • stir into hot cooked vegetables
  • stir into pasta or grains
  • top fish, tofu, or poultry with pesto and bake
  • use as a sandwich spread

Remoulade:

  • traditionally served with fish, but also good with cooked poultry
  • use as a sandwich spread
  • served with grilled vegetables like asparagus or red pepper
  • mixed with cooked cold tuna, chicken, turkey

Here’s a Recipe for a Lime Remoulade we serve often at Green Mountain at Fox Run.  Enjoy!

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon capers

1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons scallion, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons parsley, minced

a pinch of black pepper

What other ways do you use condiments that aren’t the traditional uses?

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