Chicken, Brussels Sprouts and Twice Baked Cauliflower

Better Meal Planning

New Year’s Resolutions are always made with good intentions. Most resolutions include loosing weight, eating better or working out. Every time I say I am going to start eating better, my plan generally doesn’t start off with the enthusiasm I had planned. For most of us, time and convenience are the major factors for not eating better. It has become too easy to grab a high-calorie meal, that is lacking in real nutrition during the busy work week.

Meal planning is a good way to kick-start healthier eating habits. Meal planning can also be a good way to avoid the “traps” of stopping by a fast-food restaurant on the way home, or microwaving a processed, frozen meal for dinner.

Let’s face it though, some of us are planners and some of us are not, but most of us can take a few minutes a week (yes, even during the commercials of your favorite show you are watching) to plan a menu. A written menu can help you stay on your better eating plan. Make a list of 4 or 5 meals for the week. Start with the main item. It can be something as simple as a Zesty Italian Grilled Chicken Breast, a turkey meatloaf or lemon rosemary roasted chicken. You can make any of these items on your day off and you have several meals already made you can re-heat and use during the week.

Next, pick some fresh vegetables you like and that are easy cook like Swiss chard, baby carrots or Balsamic Grilled Brussels Sprouts. These are easy to sauté or roast in the oven and bring color to the plate, not to mention they are good for you. If roasting or sautéing is not your thing, frozen vegetables are easy to microwave. Avoid canned vegetables if you can, they usually contain high amounts of sodium which can increase blood-pressure and cause you to retain water.

Next pick a few carbs that compliment your meal. Rice, pasta and Herb roasted new potatoes are good choices when planning a quick week night meal. If you are cutting back on carbs, add another vegetable, such as low-carb Twice Baked Cauliflower or a nice garden salad.

If you are feeling regenerated and excited, try to take your lunch with you to work or school a few times a week. Use one of the chicken breasts you cooked earlier. Simply slice the chicken, spread a little hummus on a spinach tortilla, add a slice of cheese, a little lettuce, tomato and Dijon mustard and that’s it. Have left over turkey meatloaf? Make a sandwich using whole wheat bread; add some low-calorie mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. Throw together a salad or use some of the vegetables you made ahead of time and lunch is ready and out the door you go.

So even though March is almost over, it’s never too late to work on your resolutions to eat better. You will feel good and might even loose a few pounds as well. Happy Eating!