Monday, September 29, 2014

Meal Planning Made Easy!

Eating healthy meals can be easy even when you're busy. All you need is a good plan. Spend a few minutes each week to plan your meals and snacks. This will help get meals on the table faster and save time and money.

Take the stress out of your meal planning and have the peace of mind that you are giving your family all the nutrition they need for lasting energy.

Tips for a well-stocked kitchen
A well-stocked kitchen is the best way to cook fast, healthy meals. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with healthy foods that are lower in sodium and fat.

Vegetables and fruit:

Fresh fruit and vegetables - keep a colourful variety on hand
Frozen vegetables (without sauce) - peas, carrots, leafy greens (spinach, kale), broccoli, cauliflower
Frozen fruit - berries, mango
Canned vegetables - buy ones with less sodium and rinse well with water
Canned tomatoes - choose ones without added salt, or compare labels to find cans with the least amount of sodium
Jarred pasta sauce - look for sauces that are tomato-based with less than 15% DV of sodium per serving
Canned fruit (packed in juice, not syrup) - mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, pumpkin puree, pineapple
Dried fruit (without added sugar) - apples, raisins, dates, prunes, figs, cranberries, apricots

Grain products:

Whole grains - pasta, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, bulgur, oatmeal, pot barley
Whole grain bread - tortillas, sliced loaf, buns, pita
Cereal - choose ones that are whole grain with at least 4 grams of fibre per serving

Milk and alternatives:

Milk - lower fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%) or fortified soy beverage
Yogurt - Choose lower fat yogurt (2% or less) or Greek yogurt, which has double the amount of protein
Cheese - choose ones that are less than 20% milk fat

Meat and alternatives:

Canned or dry lentils and beans - buy different kinds to add to soups, stews and chili, and rinse canned varieties to reduce the sodium
Canned fish (packed in water, not oil) - salmon, sardines, tuna
Nuts and seeds (unsalted) - almonds, pistachios, walnuts,  pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Hummus - great as a dip or sandwich spread
Nut butters - buy natural nut butters with no added salt or sugar
Eggs - they can be hard-boiled and kept with their shells on for up to one week in the fridge
Tofu - buy calcium-set tofu for bone-building benefits
Fish and shellfish - buy it plain, without breading
Ground beef, turkey, or chicken - keep for up to one month in the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge
Meat and poultry - freeze in small portions for easy defrosting
Edamame - delicious soybeans that can be eaten as a snack or added to soups and stirfrys for extra protein

Spices and other flavour boosters:

Broth - select no salt added, or reduced sodium varieties
Oil - canola, olive, vegetable
Herbs, spices, and seasonings - basil, cayenne, chili powder, coriander, cumin, curry powder, oregano, paprika,  rosemary, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, onion powder, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, sodium-reduced soy sauce

Condiments/flavour enhancers - Dijon mustard, fresh salsa

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