Nutritious Meals Prepared Simple
Take Your Time at the Grocery Store and Refer to Your Grocery List
My Opinion on Nutritious Meals
First, let me say that I have no degrees in nutrition or dietary consulting. What knowledge I have is an accumulation of over 40-years of nursing. In addition, our family worked closely with a renowned medical doctor for over 20-years whose focus was nutrition and holistic approaches to health and wellness. Much of what I write about is what I learned over the years from a number of different sources, research and many patient assessments related to disease in correlation with nutrition. Much of what I have to say is how I have come to practice good nutrition within my own family.
Good nutrition and meal planning start at the grocery store and what you chose to put in your grocery cart. Eating healthy is not just for the rich and famous. Those who live on a limited budget, do have the choice of eating healthy and preparing their food choices in a healthy manner. First, you must understand what you are eating and this comes easier with time.
It does not matter if you are an excellent cook and think you know everything about food preparation possible or you are just starting to venture into the cooking arena and have a lot to learn, just believe you can make better meals for your family and try to give yourself a chance. Even those cooks who are well-seasoned foodies can stand to learn something new and different.
- Read food labels and understand what you are putting into your body.
- When you have made all the right food choices with the help of the NuVal System spoken of in one of my prior articles you will just instantly recognize what food choices offer the best nutritional value for you and your family.
- Use common ingredients to stock your kitchen.
- If a recipe calls for peas or beans and one member of your family does not like these foods, then pick out a smart substitution or leave out that ingredient and replace it with another protein ingredient within the meal choice. Do not serve something to the family that someone does not like because this is no fun and it defeats your purpose.
- Utilize coupons if you really have the time to clip. Many stores offer coupons where all you have to clip the coupon on the internet and it goes onto your store card. Make a list of what you clip. I forget what I have on my card so a quick list is what helps me.
- I always make sure I have the basic foods in my kitchen. I make sure I always have the following; eggs, milk, butter, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, eggs (when I can afford it, I use Eggland's Best eggs), King Arthur's Flour, sugar and Stevia sweetener.
- Another thing you will have to understand is, making amount that are just right for you and your family.
- Rule of thumb is to leave the dinner table feeling a tad hungry. This is the art of eating until you feel sufficiently full.
- Practice these principles to save time and money at the checkout and to make some good nutritional changes.
Encourage Family Involvement
Take Time to Make Your Weeks Worth of Meals
Never Try to Put a Meal Together at the Last Minute
I have found one big thing that helps me save when I grocery shop, but it does take a bit of time. I go through my recipe books and talk to my family about what sounds good for meals during the following week. This will take a bit of time and patience and becomes easier as the months go by. What I have found is that the busier my family is, the more helpful this system becomes. I try to pick out nutritious dinners and then I make a list of the ingredients I need to get to prepare that specific meal. Last minute ideas for meals are not a good idea.
This is a good way to rotate and introduce new types of meals and foods to the family. This system introduces varied and interesting ways to new ideas for using ingredients in new and interesting ways that I would not have thought of, and remember, no recipe is written in stone. We all tend to get into a rut when preparing meals. I think sometimes I find it easier to rely on the old standbys, such as goulash, chili and spaghetti .This is OK and these old standbys can be made very nutritious or they can be made full of empty calories and nutrition. It is all in how they are prepared and cooked.
If I have an ingredient, but I am getting low, I will add it to my grocery list, even though I may not be using it that week. This assures I never run out of that item. When I am in the store I train my eyes not to wander to other items that are not on my grocery list. This hurts my budget and waistline. (Never grocery shop when hungry, everything not good for the body looks exceptionally good to the eye when you are hungry).
I do not pick any meals that require pan-frying or deep-frying or recipes requiring a heavy batter. We make it a point to bake or broil meats and to limit the number of meals per week using red meats. We enjoy chicken, fish and turkey. I do fry ground chuck if I am going to make a recipe calling for hamburger. I may add a bit of olive oil if the meat has less fat content.
In Conclusion I Save Time By
- Preparation of foods such as dicing up green peppers or onions so that all I have to do is get what I need. If I have a lot of these foods I dry them well and put them in freezer bags in the freezer
- I always get my family involved in the preparation of foods and in the cooking of meals
- I generally go to the store alone, so that I can concentrate on what I need to buy in the way of the most nutritious food items
- I used to hang a calendar in my kitchen when the kids were home. It seems that with games and church activities I needed to keep track. This is when prepared food items came in handy and saved me time. I still list a week's worth of meals so that everyone knows what to expect for dinner
- I rotate my groceries at least twice a year to make sure I use the oldest dates first.
- Plan quick and an easy meals or take one or two days a month to prepare an abundance of meals and place them in the freezer. All you have to do is to pull that nutritious meal from the freezer and heat it up
- I always take one day a week to clean up the leftovers. Sometimes Friday or Saturday is a potluck meal where we eat up all the leftovers or I remake food items into some other meal. I utilize my crock-pot a lot when I am busy.
Is It Going to be The Food Pyramid or MyPlate?
Food Pyramid or MyPlate?
Fill your kitchen, and meal plates with the best nutrition possible
- There is a new way in which to calculate proper nutrition stemming through the Obama administration, called MyPlate. This system is supposed to take the place of the Food Pyramid that most of us have known and used for many years. I still refer to the Food Pyramid as I could never get accustomed to this new system. Either system you decide to use, MyPlate or the basic Food Pyramid will be fine. I feel either system is according to what you want to use.
Include a Variety of Fruits in Your Daily Diet
- The food choices are endless as far as choosing the right nutritious foods for meals. MyPlate says that one can use all fruits and 100 percent fruit juices. You can use fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits and they may be used any way you desire.
Because of my prior experience with my son and his hypoglycemia, I feel that most canned fruits have too much hidden sugar. His hair analysis proved this fact true many years ago. Yes, things do change within the medical industry, however sugar always remains sugar, and this ingredient never changes. I chose not to use canned fruits and most canned vegetables. I use fresh or frozen. I also find that fresh and frozen is less costly, and when frozen vegetables are steamed, they are more nutritious.
Vegetable Varieties are Essential to the Daily Diet
- MyPlate says that all vegetable sources count, including 100 percent vegetable juices. All is good, canned, fresh, frozen, raw or cooked on the stove. I personally disagree with this because if someone cooks vegetables too harshly one can easily cook all nutrients out of the vegetable. I feel raw or steamed is by far better. Again, I do not trust canned vegetables due to the hidden sugars and sodium content.
Many Products Rely on Grain
- The grains include rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, wheat, all breads, pasta, cereal, tortillas, grits, rice and other grain products. MyPlate says that whole wheat breads and pastas are best and they have more fiber in them, which helps to keep the digestive system healthy.
Ever notice that some things in life that made a mark in your mind never ever leaves your thoughts. One such example was when I was in grade school many moons ago the teacher arranged a tour of the local bread factory. This is where they made the loaves of bread and wrapped each loaf with a specific label. I remember seeing many skids of bread in that factory all labeled differently. Some were whole wheat, some were white bread and many labeled with different brands. I remember becoming really confused. I remember raising my hand to ask what made the different brands different and what was the difference between the brown and white breads. The answer I received was, "Young lady, bread is bread. The brown bread is the same as the white bread with a bit of food coloring". I believe that this is one of the things that has changed over the years, just because the way in which bread is made and the type of flour and process the bread goes through to get to the market shelve.
Cows Supply the Necessary Dairy Products
Anything made from milk is considered dairy products, such as cheese, milk and yogurt. If a product has a low calcium level, they are not considered dairy, such as butter and cream cheese. People who are watching their calories need to consider eating low fat or fat-free daily products.
The groups of foods containing protein include meat, poultry, beans, eggs, peas, seafood, soy products such as tofu, seeds, nuts and some dairy products are high in protein. Use MyPlate or the basic Food Pyramid to guide you to the right amount of protein servings every day.
Learn to Push Yourself Away from the Table
Learn Correct Individual Servings of Food
Always check the recipe to see how many people it serves. If you are cooking for six and the recipe, feeds four then you may need to double the recipe. I had an aunt who when invited us to dinner prepared exactly what she needed. For instance, if she had six for dinner, she had six pork chops and six baked potatoes.
If someone took more than their share, you may not get yours when the plate got to you. We all learned not to take more than one of anything. This is not a good way to serve friends and family. You want enough servings for everyone if they should want more. However, remember, it is good to leave the table a bit hungry.
You want your family and friends to be able to take more if they still want more servings. Just create a sufficient amount of food that sufficiently feeds everyone so that all leaves the table sufficiently full. One food item a piece or one spoonful for each person is not sufficient and can be embarrassing to you and your family and guests!
Years ago, our family had one of the last practicing traditional doctors that made house calls with his black bag. This doctor told me that if I wanted to lose weight the easy way was to eat anything I wanted to, but in moderation and to learn to push myself away from the table while I was still a bit hungry.
Nutritionally speaking the food labels certainly help to adjust amounts eaten. Be sure to have servings of different foods, such as, including a grain, two vegetables, two fruits, a protein and a dairy.
Dietary Fibers, Calcium and Vitamin A
These nutrients tend to make the belly feel full quickly. Do not be afraid to go overboard on fiber, calcium and vitamin A at mealtime. In this case, more is better. These three things tend to fuel your body and fill you up during the meal.
Pay Attention to the Bad Boys on Food Labels
What I call the "Bad Boys" on food labels is the saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and Tran's fat in a food product. Ingredients on food labels are based on a regular 2000-calorie meal plan. You will always want these ingredients to be lower, much lower. For instance salt is savory, it adds wonderful flavor to foods; however, when eaten in abundance is harmful to the kidneys and the heart. Sodium increases blood pressure and dehydrates the body. Never overdo a good thing.