Healthy Meal Planning
I'm in need of ideas for weekly meal planning that is not too much for just 2.
I am okay with having leftovers for the next day only or a dish that I can freeze & my husband can take it to work & reheat.
I am trying to reduce my waste & lose a few pounds.
I would suggest you go to the farmers market weekly and buy what looks good to you. Most of what is sold is fresh, organic and healthy. I do this, take it home and then meal plan based on what i purchased. It is a creative outlet and, during the summer months, there is always plenty of vegetable variety and options abound.
I try to limit meat for health and budget, but my SO is more meat and potatoes. If I make a meat sauce for spaghetti I use 1/2 lb of beef or sausage and make up the difference in mushrooms. A add beans and increase the number and type of veggies to everything. I also cook with minimal amount of olive or canola oil, and then add a small amount of butter at the end just for flavor. I never feel deprived, because it isn't really "diet" food.
By healthy do you mean low fat and low carb? I get Cooking Light magazine and have found many recipes that we enjoy. To cut down on carbs, you need to avoid starchy vegetables like winter squash, peas and potatoes. One of our favorite quick meals used to be steak, peas and potatoes (with lots of butter). A revised quick meal would be grill fish, broccoli or green beans and brown rice (for fiber). I like the Lundberg brand that has a variety of rices. To jazz it up I might saute some chopped onion and mushrooms in olive oil. I recently found the Umbrella brand of Thai brown jasmine rice that cooks in 19 minutes in the microwave. Lundberg takes 40-50 minutes. My husband's nutritionist said pork tenderloins are ok. A tenderloin is usually pretty small with just enough meat for 3 servings. Meat serving should be 8oz or less, about the size of a deck of cards. We splurge on dry scallops when they are on special at $9.99/lb and 3/4 pound is enough for two. I also recently spotted a bin of swordfish end pieces, fresh not previously frozen. 2 pieces were enough for two of us and the price was either $2.99 or $3.99/lb when usually the best price is not lower than $6.99 for fresh swordfish. My husband prefers simple grilled fish.
Learn to like fresh fruit. It is a healthier alternative to cookies! My morning snack is an apple and one piece of stick cheese. Buffalo burgers are pricey but a lb package makes 4 burgers. We tried turkey burgers and just didn't care for them. Use whole wheat/whole grain breads but limit how much bread you eat each day. Instead of a sandwich I now have salad for lunch, mostly romaine lettuce. Salad dressing is 2T orange juice, 1 T wine vinegar, 1 T olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt. This kind of salad could be a dinner side dish. I usually add sliced red onions, tomatoes, chopped raw broccoli.
I had to learn to stop making casseroles and doing more grilled or roasted meats but we are also now eating more vegetables and hardly any potatos. I like the Moosewood Low-Fat cookbook and Daily Special cookbooks for soup and salad recipes.
You can have plenty of food in a 1600 - 2000 calorie/day diet if you eat the right things.
So many wonderful and healthful options to experiment with! Here are some ideas:
- chilli (I make it with either kidney beans or cannelini beans, chopped tinned tomatoes, garlic, red chillies, cumin, paprika, carrots, bay leaves, black pepper and mushrooms but you can add/substitute for any other veggies)
- stir-fry with brown rice or wholewheat noodles, mixed vegetables, toasted cashew nuts and chicken/shrimp
- Eggplant parmigiana using low-fat mozzarella and tinned tomatoes or passata
- Roasted butternut squash and ricotta pie with a bulgur or chickpea crust
- Turkey or chickpea burgers
- Barley risotto (a favourite of mine is with roasted butternut squash that I mash and mix into the cooked barley like a sauce with garlic and other mixed vegetables)
You say you want healthy meal planning, so the easiest way to accomplish this on a regular basis is to make green, orange, red and yellow vegetables the star /main ingredient of each meal. Use fats and meats and nuts sparingly, and starches in moderation. Let's say broccoli is on sale. You can peel & chop it into bite size pieces and steam, then toss half in butter & lemon juice and serve on pasta or a small baked potato with some toasted pine nuts or walnuts and a sprinkling of salty hard cheese. Pan fry/sautee a piece of meat and slice thin and use half of that. The other half of the steamed brocoli, can be tossed/marinated in an asian-flavored salad dressing along with the remaining sliced meat and added into a tossed green salad with cashews and shredded carrots for lunch the next day.
Roasted green beans can be chopped into 1" lengths and made the centerpiece of a Thai style lettuce wrap, or part of a salad Nicoise, or wrapped up whole in a thin slice of ham, set atop some garlic mashed potatoes with a lemon-butter-caper sauce drizzled over. Or same thing with asparagus.
I agree with cimui...we need more information please. What do you like? What DON'T you like?Any food allergies? Etc.... Thanks! (my standard response to those who are trying to lose weight is to: #1--eat smaller portions #2--move around or exercise more.) But you may be seeking out delicious ways to eat healthy, also...hopefully, we'll be able to help out!
i'll answer your question with a question, if you don't mind: what do you guys LIKE?
i live in a three person household (my SO, dog and me) and common everyday meals for us are:
1. grilled fish / chicken / beef / pork / calamari served over salad. toss in a baked potato or roll if you need starches. the meat can be marinated in any number of ways. we do lemon chicken/fish/calamari, teriyaki anything, korean sesame beef, cider and brown sugar pork... LOTS of options for preparations. instead of grilling, you could of course pan fry or bake. slice meat into thin slices. it should be a salad garnish, not the main event.
2. lettuce wraps. boston lettuce leaves wrapped around rice (make a pot at the beginning of the week, reheat throughout the week) and ground chicken or pork stirfried with veggies and herbs. google "thai chicken wraps" for a recipe you like.
3. noodles. take the same ground chicken or pork prep and toss with rice noodles (wide, celophane, anything).
4. spaghetti / fettucini. we've been tossing it with just barely pan-cooked tomatoes, garlic, fresh shredded basil, olive oil. it's wonderful. (i eat with rice noodles since i'm wheat intolerant)
5. there's always the classic vat of soup if it's not too hot to make a batch where you are, or make a cold soup. just serve that with a good loaf of bread, follow with a cheese and fruit plate for dessert. i freeze about half of the leftovers and have it once a week for the next month. the other half goes in our lunch pails.
6. when i make risotto, i make a big ol' pot and serve it as a side throughout the week. some people dislike leftover risotto because of the softer texture, but i love it! you can make pretty healthy, low fat versions. (not healthy, of course, if you need to cut back on carbs... we need them so for us, risotto is a good thing.) also very freezeable.
7. since you're in the SW where it's easy to find tortillas, you could always prepare a simple filling for soft tacos or fajitas and wrap you own. up the veggie to meat ratio for something healthier.
8. i make corn tortilla doohickys in a pan or the oven with sliced tomato topped with some sort of cheese (shredded mozarella, queso blanco, etc...), sprinkled with some sort of herb (cilantro, basil, etc...) right before serving. pan cook (dry heat, no oil) or broil until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted. eat ASAP. a southwestern corn and bean salad would make a good side.
a lot of these are kind of cop-out meals as you can see, but it keeps us fed!