Eating healthy meals takes planning

Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Obviously he wasn’t running a household because if he were, he would have included meal planning, or more appropriately, healthy meal planning, on that list!

In one form or another, meal planning has always been a part of human life. Picking up a week’s worth of groceries from a well-stocked supermarket has only been an option for the past 100 years. Before then, obtaining food and preparing meals for a single day took most of the day for someone in each household. Now whether popping a breakfast sandwich into the microwave, choosing lunch from a take-out menu or placing a grocery order online, meal planning is still an essential everyday activity.

How well you plan for your daily meals can have a big impact on how healthy they will be.

What’s Your Healthy Meal Planning Strategy?

The process of creating a healthy weekly meal plan can take many forms. It’s not just about writing out all your menus for the week and writing a shopping list to match, although that’s certainly a great way to get organized! If you’d like to try that, take a look at this blog by fellow dietitian Hope Warshaw to get more tips on how to create a meal plan.

If you’re one of those people who can’t think about what you’ll be eating for more than one day at a time, you are still planning ahead for meals if you:

  • know how many days before you’ll have to buy more milk, eggs or bread for your household
  • have a stack of menus in a desk drawer at work of restaurants that can deliver to your office
  • prepare an extra piece of chicken the night before to put on your salad for lunch the next day
  • made two pans of eggplant parmesan over the weekend so you could freeze one for a quick dinner later in the week
  • update your shopping list (or app) whenever you use up an ingredient or need one for a recipe
  • keep your grocery coupons handy so you can pick up things you need when they are on sale

The common theme here is the more you think ahead about your next meal, the more time you give yourself to make it a good one. You can also use the Easy Healthy Meal Planning Ideas below to make the best choices from one meal to the next.

Easy Healthy Meal Plan Ideas 

Use these ideas to help you create your own healthy weekly meal plan:

  • Include fruits and/or vegetables in every meal and snack
  • Choose whole grains over refined whenever available (even whole wheat crust pizza)
  • Make lean and low fat choices in the meat and dairy case
  • Pick beans, nuts and soyfoods in place of meat for a couple of meals per week
  • Enjoy dessert occasionally, not daily, with meals
  • Use a sugar substitute, like SPLENDA®No Calorie Sweetener, to replace some or all of the added sugars in your foods and beverages

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well. 

Add these best canned food products to your healthy food list

12 Canned Food Products On My Healthy Foods List

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can see the post here.

ADD THESE BEST CANNED FOOD PRODUCTS TO YOUR HEALTHY FOOD LIST

February is National Canned Foods Month, so I checked my pantry to see what canned food products would make my healthy foods list. The features they all share are that they have a long shelf life, so are a convenient and inexpensive way to have nutritious foods all year round. They can be more nutritious than fresh foods that are not used right away or prepared properly, and there’s no waste. The availability of some key nutrients is actually enhanced by the canning processing over fresh or frozen forms, while fiber content is unchanged. There are more low sodium options to choose from today than ever before and canned beans can be made lower in sodium just by rinsing. The best canned food feature of all is that the container is completely recyclable!

paste.3

Tomato Paste – Best Canned Food Products

Enrich the flavor of your tomato sauce, goulash or chili with this concentrated form of tomatoes. It has no added salt and is naturally low in sodium, so you control the seasoning.

sardines

Sardines – Best Canned Food Products

I love them on crackers as a quick lunch option, but they can be featured in many parts of your menu. Try topping a salad or pizza with them or flavoring a tomato sauce.

baked beans

Vegetarian Baked Beans- Best Canned Food Products

As good as they are right from the can, I love to personalize them by heating them up with sautéed onion and garlic and mixing in other rinsed canned beans.

pineapple

 

Pineapple Chunks – Best Canned Food Products

Whether added to a sweet and sour stir fry, a winter fruit salad or to top a slice of pound cake, the many forms of juice-packed pineapple can elevate any dish to something special.

kraut

Sauerkraut – Best Canned Food Products

Just like the cabbage it’s made from, canned sauerkraut is full of vitamins C, K, and folate and the minerals iron, manganese and potassium. It’s also very low in calories and fat free and a perfect partner for fresh pork.

pumpkin

Pumpkin – Best Canned Food Products

It’s not just for delicious desserts! Canned pumpkin makes great smoothies, quick breads and soups and adds a super dose of Vitamin A and fiber to everything it’s added to.

chick peas

Peas and Beans – Best Canned Food Products

All of the many different colored and shaped canned beans and peas are included in this category. I keep a huge variety on hand at all times and continually discover new ways to use them in my meals.

milk

Evaporated Milk – Best Canned Food Products

There’s no need to use fresh milk in cooking and baking when canned evaporated milk will do. It saves money and another trip to the store for more milk, while increasing the protein and calcium if used a full strength.

Black-Olives

Olives – Best Canned Food Products

Open a can and turn an uninspired dish into a Mediterranean specialty. Whole, sliced or chopped, they can be added to rice, orzo, or tomato sauce and blended into cream cheese or hummus for a savoring spread.

tuna

Tuna – Best Canned Food Products

Always a life saver whether called into action for lunch or dinner. I keep a jar of pickle relish in the refrigerator so I can make a great tuna salad even if I don’t have fresh celery or onion on hand.

mandarins

Mandarin Oranges – Best Canned Food Products

These are a personal favorite because they add a nice touch of sweetness to a tossed salad or grain dish without overpowering it. Their bright color really stands out against salad greens and brown grains.

diced tomatoes

Diced Tomatoes – Best Canned Food Products

Fresh tomatoes are naturally rich in lycopenes, but they’re more bioavailable in the canned varieties due to the effects of heat processing. Even when fresh tomatoes are in season, I like to cook with canned and save the fresh for salads and sandwiches