Let's Dish about Meal Planning
By Beth Taschuk, RD LD
Meal planning often times is an afterthought, on your way home from work or on your way to a soccer game? One crucial skill to support your success after weight loss surgery is meal planning.
Tip #1: Make a grocery list and stick to it
Planning meals for the entire week will help you to save time and money. It will also give you more control when you are in the store to avoid impulse shopping. Sit down with a weekly calendar. Use fresh meats and produce for meals at the beginning of the week and canned/frozen foods for the end of the week.
Tip #2: Keep staples in your home
Canned beans are rich in protein and fiber (refried, refried black beans, kidney beans, chili beans, chick peas etc.) and can be added to pastas, eggs, baked potatoes, salads, and tortillas. Hummus can be used with vegetables or baked pita.
Eggs are rich in protein and can be prepared hard boiled and used to top salads. Try making an omelet for breakfast or even dinner.
Frozen chicken can be thawed and added to salad, tacos, stir-fry, and fajitas. Try mesquite flavored chicken strips.
Ground sirloin can be used to make hamburger patties, chili, meatloaf, and stuffed green peppers
Tip #3: Prepare in advance
Take frozen meat or chicken out of the freezer the night before you plan to use it. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Wash and cut produce immediately when you arrive home from the store. Place produce in airtight containers.
Tip #4: Think leftovers
What you prepare for dinner may be used the following day for lunch. If you are making chicken breast for dinner make extra chicken and dice it up for a healthy chicken salad (with low fat mayo) for the next day. Or, simply add diced chicken to mixed greens with low fat feta cheese, a few Greek olives, and lite salad dressing.
Tip # 5: Keep it simple
Plan easy meals for the nights that you are busy. Crock-pot cooking, bagged salad and vegetables, and frozen entrees will ensure healthy eating even during your busiest times.
A little planning will go a long way for you to reach and maintain your weight loss goals.