How to plan a healthy week of foodPosted: January 15, 2011
Well it’s Saturday morning. The last Saturday morning of break which is equally exciting and depressing. During school semesters I typically do grocery shopping and food preparation on Saturday and then some cooking/baking on Sunday. Saturday is also my day for planning all our meals and snacks. Many people have asked me how I do it so I will share here.
- First, I take a fast inventory of all my basics. My basics are go to items that I know are healthy and are flexible ‘meal puzzle pieces’. Grains: Oatmeal, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice . Fruits/Veggies: Bananas, frozen berries, tomatoes, apples, oranges, spinach. Dairy: Milk, deli cheese, greek yogurt. Protein: Chicken breasts, eggs, ground turkey, beef, shrimp/fish, deli meat. Misc: drinks, mustard, pickles.
- Then I choose 2-3 seasonal dinner recipes to try. This mixes up our normal dinners and gives us a way to indulge in the season. Obviously after I choose the recipes I add those items to my grocery list.
- Then I choose some baking projects. Not only is baking a sweet pleasure of mine, but it provides something special on a daily basis. What I do is make a batch of whatever I chose that week and bake half of it, freeze the other half. That way midway through the week I can have some easy fresh treats.
It may seem a little detailed or overly simple – depending on what you are doing now. Not only will you have a healthy stocked kitchen/pantry, but you will have a plan for the week. Plans that can be kept, a rare find in my world. This little bit of guarantee helps make the craziness more manageable.
I put a lot of thought into my recipes for the week because I want them to be delicious and easy and healthy. This week what I have decided to make is: Crispy Apricot Pork, Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs, Tabbouleh-style White Bean Salad, Harvest Muffins, Cherry Chocolate Clusters, and possibly Roast Beef with potatoes and shallots.
Up next is food preparation and pre-week baking and cooking.
Spaghetti and Meatballs (Reduced Guilt)
Make the Sauce: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2T olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves of garlic (minced), and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in 5c canned crushed tomatoes, 1/2t dried oregano, 1/4t dried thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to smooth the sauce. Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, whisk together 1 large egg, 1/3c skim milk, 1t salt and 1/2t pepper with a fork. Stir in 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 2/3c breadcrumbs and 1/3c grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/2c chopped parsley. Add 1 pound lean ground turkey, and mix until combined. Form the mixture into 1 1/2″ balls. Add the meatballs to the skillet, and spoon the sauce over to coat. Simmer over medium heat until the meatballs are just cooked through, about 12 minutes. While the meatballs simmer, cook 1 pound of whole grain spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the pasta, transfer to the skillet, and toss gently with the meatballs and sauce. Serve with a light dusting of grated parmesan cheese. Serves 6. Points Plus: 14
I serve a mixed green salad along side this with a simple balsamic vinaigrette (1T dijon mustard, 1/4c balsamic vinegar, 2/3c olive oil, salt and pepper).