Tips for Healthy Meal Planning

Is cooking, especially cooking "healthy" foods a real hassle? Do you find a recipe that looks good, only to discover you don't have all the necessary ingredients? Or you do, but the recipe is so complicated that you simply do not have the time? Do you get frustrated at the end of the week when you have to throw away all those expensive, spoiled vegetables that you didn't use? Have we got help for you!

At the World's Healthiest Foods, we understand that keeping up with the hectic pace of life leaves little time for meal planning and preparation. And in today's economic melt down, every food dollar has to count. That's why the founder of the World's Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan, has developed more than a hundred quick, easy and truly delicious recipes using easily available, fresh, organic, foods—and focusing on foods in season since this is when each food is at its nutritional peak and lowest price.

To find these recipes on the website, follow this link to our Recipe Assistant. It can be a tremendous help in meal planning that maximizes your food dollar and minimizes the time you spend preparing meals.

Take a few minutes before you go grocery shopping to make a detailed list of what you will need. We all have our favorite, standby meals, so you will know what's needed for those. (In fact, most of us only serve those same four or five old standbys every week, over and over, which can be pretty boring, not to mention, provide little variety in the nutrients in our meals.)

This week, in addition to your standard fare, pick two or three new recipes that look good, and add any ingredients you don't have on hand to your grocery list. When buying ingredients that will spoil within a week, try to purchase only the amount your recipes actually require.

If you know you will end up buying more than necessary—say you've chosen a recipe that calls for cabbage, but won't use an entire cabbage—try to find another recipe that will use cabbage as well (as is done below).

If you have a good idea of what your schedule will be like for the week, you can lay out a possible plan for which recipes you will cook on which days. To get started, let's just focus on dinner, the meal most of us have the most time to prepare and enjoy during the week.

Following are 5-days' recipes, along with accompaniment suggestions, and a grocery list to give an example of how to plan, so you'll get the most for your time and money:

Monday: Italian Navy Bean Soup with Rosemary. Serve with brown rice.

Ingredients:

To prepare brown rice: rinse grains under running water to remove any debris, then add to your pot in the proportion of 2 cups water for each cup of rice you wish to cook. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of iodized salt, bring to a boil, cover, turn down the heat to simmer, and let cook 45 minutes. Remove cover and fluff lightly with a fork. Transfer leftover rice to a glass container, cover, and place in the refrigerator where it will keep for 3-4 days.

Tuesday: 15 Minute Salmon with Mustard, Dill Sauce. Serve with sweet peas and leftover brown rice.

Ingredients:

Wednesday: Black Bean Burrito, Indian Style. Serve with a tossed green salad.

Thursday: Sesame Braised Chicken and Cabbage Serve with tossed green salad, steamed carrots.

Ingredients:

Friday: Spicy Cabbage Soup Any remaining chicken can be added to this soup. Serve with any remaining rice and/or salad vegetables.

Ingredients:

As you can see from looking over the ingredient lists, several recpies share ingredients in common, and many ingredients are items you may already have on hand in your pantry, including the olive oil, spices, sesame seeds, broth, canned beans and canned tomatoes.

Furthermore, the majority of these "staple" items appear in a wide variety of the World's Healthiest Foods recipes, so by stocking up on them, you will be in great shape to try other recipes that appeal to you without having lots of ingredients you'll need to put on future grocery lists.

Following is a list of these staple items. All except the sesame seeds, which should be kept in your refrigerator or freezer, can simply be stored in your pantry, where they will keep for months. If you see these items on sale, by all means, stock up!

Staples to Have on Hand

Fresh Items Needed

Happy Healthy, Delicious Eating!

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