The Healthy Meal Plan
What is a healthy dinner and how to plan for it
I am aware that it must seem that I’ve got it all worked out. That I have every dinner thought out, shopped for and prepped. Wrong! It is difficult to balance eating healthily with the demands of everyday family life, especially if your children are little. Here are a few suggestions for strategies I have found useful when it comes to healthy dinner recipes and balanced meals:
- Don’t think you have to be a top chef. Keep it simple and fresh and allow the food to help you rather than feeling you have to tame it. Also, forget rules…..who says you can’t eat this with that? If you think it sounds appetising then it probably is. Try it.
- Give what you eat as much brain space as is available as for sure “we are what we eat” Just try to include the main macro nutrients in the meal, so some protein, some carbohydrate and some fat….Over the course of the week this will probably balance out to the right amount for your body. I do not count calories as that way madness lies, but if you always opt for the quality of your food, then the calories you ingest will be valuable ones. By that I mean…..eating a bag of crisps for example is gaining you very little but empty calories. Much better to eat a potato….If your goal is to lose some weight, don’t start missing meals and excluding food groups. Just cut down and up the quality.
- A low carb diet does not mean you have to have a high protein one.
- Variety is indeed “the spice of life” Opt for your macro ingredients to come from as wide a palette as nature provides. So today eat fish, tomorrow chicken, the next day tofu, the one after that mixed beans and nuts. Same with carbs and fat.
- Get a handful of recipes that you have tried and keep them as “go to” for quick dinner ideas
- Keep it simple! Most of what I cook requires very little prep and has few ingredients. It is driven by its freshness. When shopping for food let the freshest, least processed inspire you. I realise that this is not the most economical way to shop, but it is the best, if you can afford it. For example, there is nothing better than a fresh piece of fish cooked for 10 minutes in the oven or on the stovetop with a squeeze of lemon/lime or splash of vinegar, some olive/toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper. How about a can of chick peas/canellini beans with the same dressing topped with cheese?
- Always try to add green/orange to your plate. This could be any fresh or steamed vegetable like beans, spinach, kale, butternut squash.
- Avoid pre-prepared sauces as there is a reason they taste so good and usually it’s sugar and bad fat.
- Have a starting point in your brain for the meal. So if its the piece of fresh fish, then think up a green veg and add a quality carb like simple boiled potatoes, brown rice, lentils etc. If all you’ve got in your head is lentils, then place them on top of brown rice, steam some spinach and crumble cheese (goat/feta) on top.
- Keep some basic ingredients on hand and for me these are: Olive oil, toasted sesame oil, garlic, onions, fresh ginger, capers, fresh chilli peppers frozen, lemons/limes, fresh herbs (coriander and parsley mostly)
Pork tenderloin with smoked paprika & cayenne rub (A great healthy dinner idea for two)