This post continues the series ‘What does a Nutrition Coach eat?’, this time focusing on dinners. Unfortunately the post cannot leave out the very unsexy, but crucial part of this – planning!
So, in order for anyone to be successfully on top of what they eat, be it for general wellbeing, a specific diet, weight loss or improved energy, the key is the planning. In order to be in control of what you put in your mouth, some planning is inevitable. It doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds! Incorporating the weekly dinner planning can be fun, exciting and will save you money.
Personally, I prefer to do the planning on Sunday while enjoying a slow breakfast and cup of coffee. This is a great opportunity to get the whole family involved and will allow you to plan the weeknight meals according to your schedules for the week. Also, if you do online grocery shopping, adding the things into your cart as you plan takes another thing off your list. For us, we do planning on Sunday and our weekly grocery order comes in on Tuesday morning. Conveniently, this leaves Monday for leftovers, which in our house usually means pasta of some sort, whatever veggies are left in the fridge.
The easiest way to do the planning is to think of your routines, do you have typical nights for exercise or going out? If you do, you can easily plan the weeknight meals to complement this existing schedule. So, if you exercise on Tuesday and Thursday, make sure to have a simple, yet filling recipe ready for those nights. For us, we choose to make one bigger meal that can be reheated for these days. Usually this means making a filling, steamy soup on Tuesday and eating the rest of it on Thursday. Soup might not sound like your ideal post workout meal, but it all depends on what you like and what you’re used to.
By deciding dinner themes for each weeknight, you ease the process of choosing what to make immensely. Here’s an example of our weeknight dinner themes.
Monday – Pasta (usually leftover veggies before the grocery order comes in)
Tuesday – Soup (big pot of pureed vegetable soup with lots of lentils to keep protein levels up. This is my husband’s favourite.)
Wednesday – Tortilla/wrap (usually with beans, tomatoes, avocado and other greens)
Thursday – Soup (often means the leftovers from Tuesday’s pureed veggie soup)
Friday – Risotto (we often enjoy a risotto to mark the end of a busy week)
When it comes to food, weeknight planning and everyday choices, you have to keep in mind that what works for one, might not work for another. When thinking of what to make for dinner during the week, here’s a short summary of important things to keep in mind when planning;
Pick a theme
Choose your carbohydrates (vegetables and wholegrains)
Pick the protein source (pulses, fish or lean meat)
Select the source for good fats (unsaturated fats from plant sources)
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, here’s an example. Soup with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, ginger and lentils is packed with good quality carbohydrates from the vegetables and lentils. Protein and fibre from the lentils and if you sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top, you’ll ensure a great source of unsaturated fats for your meal. Healthy, colourful, satisfying and filling!
If you want help with planning healthy and filling meals for you and your family, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org