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8 meal prep resources that will make weekly cooking a breeze

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The world of food preparation can seem like an uncomfortable tornado of portioning, instant pots and unseasoned chicken breasts. However, it doesn’t have to be with good resources – you just need to know which experts to trust.

First, preparing meals doesn’t necessarily mean cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a full week on a Sunday evening. There are plenty of smaller things you can do on Sunday to make your daily food search a little easier, even if you’re not making two types of soup, a kind of delicious mix of trails, and a whole chicken.

Here are six reliable resources to get you started on your food preparation journey. And remember, there is no such thing as a “diet” in food preparation. Prepare what the hell you want.

Budget Bytes is a food preparation lover’s paradise. The dedicated meal preparation section on the website has a useful guide for beginners. The recipes are organized by type (beef, chicken, vegetarian, breakfast and no reheat) to make it easy to find your ideal meal. Each recipe is also priced by batch and serving price, so you know exactly where your money is going – and how much you’re saving every time you open a Tupperware instead of ordering to take away. This website is also where you acquire some real cooking skills that will only serve you more in the future.

If you’re new to meal preparation and just want a full overview to get you started, turn to this extremely straightforward blog post from the Cleveland Clinic. It walks you through every step you should take to get started, from choosing storage containers to planning prep time to choosing recipes.

No, this is not the linchpin for meal preparation. However, if you are unsure of what meal preparation means, or want to make sure you are doing it in a healthy way, this is a good place to start.

An important part of preparing food is not to get poisoned. Fortunately, food storage guidelines help here. Refer to this extremely detailed (how it differentiates between commercial and homemade eggnog) food safety chart when you want to a) figure out how to keep a dish, or b) decide if the chickpea stew you kept in the refrigerator longer than expected is actually okay to eat.

Like any niche subreddit, this place is pretty intense, but it’s the best source for realistic meal preparation inspiration. Every day people post pictures of prepared meals, recipes in progress, and advice for people just starting out. Not every submission is Instagram-ready, and that’s a good thing. It’s useful to see what people are actually doing out there, whether it’s visually appealing grain bowls or frozen BBQ wraps with a mozzarella stick. Hey, food inspiration comes in all shapes – even if a disproportionate number of those shapes are grilled chicken.

You will also see users packing up everything that can help improve their own food storage game.

Are you looking for the best advice on how to prepare vegan meals? You can find some of these in all of the sources listed above. But the best vegan meal preparation content I’ve found was on Jenné Claiborne’s SweetPotatoSoul YouTube channel. (If you’re a vegan, you are probably already familiar with it.) There are at least two dedicated meal preparation videos, a comprehensive beginner’s guide, and tons of other vegan recipes.

Preparing meals can be a great tool for people trying to get a more balanced diet. Each person’s nutritional needs are unique, but there are some basic guidelines that everyone should be aware of. This is where nutritional guidelines come in handy.

The Harvard School of Public Health has a helpful guide to healthy eating plates that explains exactly how much of your plate to use on each type of food in order to build a balanced diet. TL; DR: Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate should be protein, a quarter should be whole grains, and healthy fats should be eaten in moderation. Some frequently asked questions about portion control and a healthier diet are answered next to the interactive plate guide and in the following video.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also has a full nutrition-based meal planning resource center that includes seasonal recipes, portion size advice, and more.

When you become involved in meal preparation, you want to stay organized as much as possible. An app to optimize your shopping list can help. There is AnyList that makes it easy for you to create, share, and organize your grocery shopping lists and recipes. Another option is Mealime, which is primarily designed for meal preparation. The app lets you plan your week’s meals in advance and create a shopping list for you (or your family) after you’ve completed your meal plan.

If you’re not a fan of these apps, there are a number of other grocery shopping and meal preparation apps out there – one of which will suit your needs.

8. Pyrex food storage containers

Part of preparing food is storing the meals you have prepared. If you are interested in meal preparation, it makes sense to invest in good food storage containers so that your food stays fresher for longer.

This 18-piece kit of Pyrex Simply Store Meal Prep Stackable Food Storage Containers was Wirecutter’s # 1 pick for Best Food Storage Containers in 2021 for good reason. The $ 34 kit includes a variety of containers of various shapes and sizes as well as different colored lids, which make the organization of the stored food even easier. The glass containers are oven safe, and the thought of eating your prepared meal out of a Pyrex container instead of a plastic container just feels classier, doesn’t it?

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Whole Grains Health

The Easy Ratio That’ll Make A Perfectly Balanced Kids Lunch

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Packing a nutritionally balanced lunch that your kids will actually eat can feel like shitty business at times – once you think you’ve got your lunch game locked up, the day is the day they go after the elaborate bento box Coming home that you have packed intact.

As parents, we feel responsible for the health of our children and that understandably means a lot of stress about what they or don’t eat.

“Your job as parents is to offer healthy, nutritious foods on a consistent schedule as often as possible,” said Aubrey Phelps, a functional perinatal and pediatric nutritionist. “But it’s up to your child to decide what to do with you.”

The best way to become a happy, healthy eater is to keep offering your child what you ideally want to eat – and not take it personally if they choose not to eat it. At school lunch, Phelps recommends keeping it simple: “Focusing on certain vitamins or minerals can miss the big picture,” she said.

If you use the following macronutrient formula to package your kids ‘lunch and vary each one’ s sources, you are almost guaranteed to have a healthy, balanced meal that will keep them focused and energized at school.

The formula

50% vegetables and fruits

25% lean protein and healthy fats

25% starch or whole grain products

+ Liquids

The ideal formula for school lunches is often called. designated the plate method – a visual representation of what a well-rounded meal looks like.

“Every child needs a healthy balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) and vitamins and minerals”, Nicole Avena, a New York-based health psychologist and author of What to feed your baby and toddler said HuffPost. “The plate method helps ensure that no nutrient overwhelms the rest.”

For example, if your child has a lunch that is mostly carbohydrates or whole grains and some protein, they will likely feel tired in the afternoon. Not only do carbohydrates make you drowsy by increasing tryptophan and serotonin levels in the body (both are sleep-inducing compounds), but they can also make your blood sugar levels rise quickly, and the subsequent drop can make you sleepy, called avena. A larger serving of protein and fewer carbohydrates can also make your child sleepy.

“Proteins and fats are often harder to digest than carbohydrates and nutrients from fruits and vegetables,” says Avena. “This can potentially lead to fatigue as your body has to use more energy during digestion.”

If you make sure the lunch box contains all of the elements of this formula, your child will get the nutrients they need to focus and enjoy their school day without feeling sluggish.

Let’s break down the formula.

Vegetables and fruits – 50%

Try: carrot sticks, pepper strips, grape tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, apple slices, watermelon, berries.

The largest portion or half of the lunch box should contain 2-3 different types of vegetables and fruits – ideally two types of vegetables and one fruit, as the daily vegetable intake of children according to a. tends to be lower than the fruit intake 2019 review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

This is actually an example of what NOT to do. Don’t eat more fruits than vegetables, as most children tend to eat more fruits anyway.

“Vegetables and fruits provide antioxidants for warding off disease, including vitamin A for skin and eye health, lutein for eye protection (from blue light), and vitamin C for immunity,” said Amy Shapiro, registered nutritionist and founder of Real nutrition.

The product is also rich in water to keep the children hydrated and contains fiber for continued energy and improved digestion.

Lean Protein and Healthy Fats – 25%

Try: Chicken, Turkey, Tofu, Edamame, Hard Boiled Eggs, Greek Yogurt, Cream Cheese, Nuts, Seeds.

“Protein is the nutrient that is digested the longest. So if your child eats it as part of lunch, they’ll stay full and their blood sugar stable, ”Shapiro said.

Depending on the type of protein provided, it may also contain amino acids for growth and muscle repair, zinc for immunity, and iron and vitamin B12 for energy supply.

Regarding healthy fats: “Fat helps you stay full, provides energy and enables the bioavailability and absorption of many vitamins that we ingest from other foods,” said Shapiro. “By including fat in your child’s meals, you will help them stay full longer and have more energy.”

There is often enough fat cooked in your food or part of the meal that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a separate addition, Shapiro said. (Eggs and nut butters, for example, offer a double punch of protein and healthy fats.)

Starch or whole grain – 25%

Try: Whole Wheat Bread, Granola, Muesli, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Crackers, Air Popcorn.

“Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars in the body, providing energy for immediate use and reserves for later use,” said Shapiro. “Ideally, whole grain or whole-grain bread should be included as it is rich in nutrients, digests more slowly, and is high in fiber to support balanced blood sugar and digestion.”

They also contain B vitamins, which are important for energy and metabolism.

But if your child isn’t the biggest fan of whole grains, don’t worry: “Vegetables and fruits also fit into the carbohydrate category so you don’t always have to think about bread or cereals when your child doesn’t like them,” Shapiro said.

Starchy vegetables and fruits include carrots, corn, potatoes, winter squash, and bananas.

liquids

Even slight dehydration can lead to a decrease in cognitive function.

“Dehydration can affect reaction time, alertness, memory, and thinking,” said Avena. “Children are potentially at a higher risk of dehydration because they are more dependent on someone else for their fluid intake.”

Send your child to school with a large water bottle to keep them hydrated during the school day – and remind them to keep them at their desk.

“Out of sight is out of mind,” said Phelps. “I also recommend a water bottle that will keep the water cold or at room temperature (whichever your child prefers) so that drinking warm water doesn’t turn it off.”

It doesn’t have to be pure water either: You prefer it with fruit, coconut or fizzy drink or a completely different liquid such as milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

“If your child is really struggling to drink enough, consider sending hydrating foods,” Phelps said. “Soups, smoothies, juicy fruits like grapes and melons, peppers, and even yogurt are all hydrating options that can help kids stay up to date.”

The easiest way to measure lunch box portions

Children are intuitive eaters – they eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full because the amount of lunches they eat fluctuates each day – so there really aren’t any perfect portions to pack.

The easiest way to make sure you are at the ballpark? Use your child’s hands as a guide.

Think of your child’s hands as a plate – palms up, little fingers together. Half of your “plate” (or one hand) should be vegetables and fruits. The palm of the other hand protein and fingers complex carbohydrates.

“With this method, the amounts you need will change as your child grows (and so will the portion sizes you need),” Phelps said.

She is also a fan of the Bento box style lunch boxesthat are already divided into child-friendly portions. You can fill a section with vegetables and fruits, one with protein and healthy fats, and one with starch or whole grains without guesswork. These ratios do not necessarily need to be adjusted if your child has special dietary needs.

“Appropriate substitutions are needed to ensure they have a filling and nutritious meal regardless of the dietary changes required.” Maya Feller, a Brooklyn-based registered nutritionist, told HuffPost. However, the general rule of thumb generally remains the same.

Ratios and formulas should only be used as guidelines, not as hard rules, as children should determine for themselves how much to eat.

“If parents find that their child is consuming 100% of the packaged food throughout the day, it could be a sign that they are going through critical stages of development and need more energy,” said Feller.

It’s also important to keep in mind that this is a full day meal – so when a lunch box comes home practically full, the game isn’t over. “We want to look at diet throughout the day, not a meal,” Shapiro said.

When in doubt, check in with your kids: find out how lunch was and make food and portion changes based on the feedback.

Remember: nutrition is cumulative

Look at your child’s diet over the course of a week, not a day – or a meal. “You will get what you need in time,” Shapiro said. “Some days are great and some are free and everything balances out.”

The most important thing parents can do is develop a good relationship with food. It’s more important than creating the perfect lunch.

“Children are more likely to be black and white thinkers, so I don’t recommend focusing on ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ or ‘funny’ foods,” said Krystyn Parks, a California-based Pediatric Registered Dieter. “All food is food. All food has a purpose. “

Perfection is not the goal, but routines that work for you and your child.

“Find your own routine, involve your children in the decisions and don’t measure yourself against another person,” said Feller. “No day – or meal – will be perfect in terms of nutrition.”

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Whole Grains Health

Do you fall for these slick food myths?

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In this week’s Ask the Nutritionist, Nonie De Long shares the first of two parts that explore popular beliefs about good and bad food

Dear reader, our question this week comes from Maya, who asks if she should have breakfast or skip it because she heard that fasting was good, but she always thought breakfast was super important. Given these and similar questions I get asked all the time, I want to go over the top 10 nutritional myths we need to be familiar with. I’ll tackle five this week and five next week. Let’s get straight to the point.

The 10 most important nutritional myths:

10) Oats are a healthy food

Many people have learned of the damage gluten does to our digestive system over time, especially since it is now being produced. This is because this grain is exposed to a lot as more and more people attribute their health problems to an intolerance. This is how more gluten-free products are made and more people are talking about it. It is understandable, therefore, that many people would think that oats are great substitutes for grains. After all, it is a whole grain product that is available in organic quality and unprocessed.

However, there are several problems with oats when it comes to optimal health. First, they are often processed in facilities that also process wheat and are often contaminated with gluten. Second, oats often have added sugars or sweeteners, and even when they don’t, they can raise blood sugar levels. Eat a large bowl and watch your blood sugar and see. And fourth, they are very heavily sprayed with the well-known carcinogen glyphosate.

To find out who is selling the least-sprayed grains, go here. A list of the grains that are sprayed in Canada and to what degree can be found here. For your information, the government is in the process of raising these levels if we don’t talk about them.

9) Vegetables are the healthiest foods to eat

Vegetables are often touted as the god of food: the only thing that can’t make us sick while eating. And many studies show increased health from consuming more of it. So what on earth am I talking about? Well the logic is flawed. The reason vegetables are hailed as so healthy isn’t because of all of the nutrients they contain. That’s because they don’t contain the things we’ve been told are bad for us – namely, fat or sugar. By eliminating them, they are then considered the gold standard. But food isn’t just what it isn’t. It’s also about what it really is.

Comparing the nutrients side by side shows that animal foods are far more nutritious than vegetables. And we know that a diet that excludes more nutritious foods can, over time, be very stressful to both physical and mental health. Check out these charts to better understand the nutrients in meat and vegetables compared.

In addition, some vegetables contain lectins, which make the digestive system difficult and provoke symptoms in a growing number of people. Lectins are more common in cereals and lentils, but they are still found in some vegetables. If we get just a little bit of it, we’re usually fine. When we get too much, we become sensitive to them. It is not uncommon for me to get calls from vegetarians who do not understand why they can no longer tolerate vegetarian proteins. To better understand lectins and their role in health, go here.

Vegetables also contain oxalates. This is a much more serious problem in my opinion. Some people are really symptomatic of oxalates and it’s hard to determine unless you know what to look for. Essentially, these are naturally occurring compounds in some foods that attach to calcium and minerals in foods that we digest. The crystals that form in the process cause kidney stones. And they can also cause sharp, glassy shards that circulate in the blood and can form in tissues throughout the body. There is a large correlation between this pathological response to oxalates and chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and autism spectrum disorders. You may be involved in other conditions as well. You will find more information on this topic here.

Essentially, if this is a problem, the foods we believe to be the healthiest – these leafy vegetables – are actually harming us. One key to understanding when this is at stake is a person who says, “I’m doing everything right, but I just feel terrible. What the hell is going on here? “

My analysis is simple: we should eat food based on the nutrient density of the food and, for certain people, vegetables should not be over-eaten.

8) If it’s natural sugar, it’s better for you

If you’ve read my column long enough, you know for sure that this statement is obviously untrue. Even organic, whole, raw sugar cane is still sugar. It will still do the same damage to your blood sugar regulatory systems. Ditto raw honey. Ditto molasses. Ditto maple syrup. Ditto date sugar. Ditto fructose. Ditto fruit syrups and fruit juices, also unsweetened. These natural sugars can on rare occasions be benign in very small amounts, but if taken regularly they will still fuel diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This does not apply to whole, unprocessed fruits, in small quantities as part of or after a meal so that the blood sugar does not rise so high. This is because fiber and nutrients throughout the fruit and protein and fat in the meal offset the metabolic damage from the sugar in the fruit.

Dr. Robert Lustig discusses this much better than I could ever do here.

Take away: Eat your fruit with or after your meal if you want fruit. Skip the sugar, no matter how pure it seems. Try monk fruit or stevia, or a mixture thereof, to contain your sweet tooth. These do not increase blood sugar at all.

7) Complex carbohydrates are better for you than simple carbohydrates

This myth was long maintained by the food industry so you are sure to have heard it. The logic goes like this: Complex carbohydrates / starches take longer to break down into sugar, so they don’t do as much damage because they don’t make blood sugar soar.

While this analysis is true, some other information is missing. It turns out that polysaccharides feed the “bad” bacteria in the gut and are very difficult to break down without a healthy gut microbiome. This leads to all sorts of health problems. And many, many people have unhealthy microbiomes, especially those with mental health problems of all kinds. For these people and those with autism spectrum disorders, these seemingly healthy starches can do a lot of damage and cause symptoms to worsen. The best breakdown of this problem can be found in the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD.

Essentially, these complex carbohydrates are not easily digested, and when intestinal permeability is an issue, as in the case of an altered gut microbiome, the improperly digested complex carbohydrate particles get through the gaps in the intestinal barrier and cause havoc in the bloodstream. This is certainly related to the self-stimulating behavior of ASD and carbohydrate cravings. Caltech studies now support the visionary work of Dr. Campbell-McBride. So if you are concerned with this topic, I recommend you read their books.

6) Eating eggs causes high cholesterol

Before we talk about your cholesterol, let’s talk about what else eggs contain. A medium-sized egg contains about 5.5 grams of protein and all 9 essential amino acids. They also contain choline – a very important B vitamin that up to 90% of the population is deficient in. Choline protects the brain and is important for brain function and health of young and old alike.

Eggs also contain selenium (a powerful antioxidant), lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids that are important for eye health), and natural vitamin D. And most of these nutrients are found in egg yolks.

I know we were taught to fear eggs because of the cholesterol in egg yolks, but cholesterol is tightly regulated by the body. The liver produces more when we are too little, and food intake has very little effect on it.

Then of course there is the idea that cholesterol is bad for us. This is a myth of epic proportions, but don’t take it off me. Read health writer Mark Sisson’s definitive guide to cholesterol for the complete picture. Mark is by far one of my favorite health and wellness writers.

The real takeaway here is that not all of the health information we receive is accurate. Tune in next week when I discuss the top 5 food myths and consider breakfast the most important meal of the day. Thanks Maya for writing! If readers have questions of their own, they can, as always, reach me at nonienutritionista@gmail.com and find me online at hopenotdope.ca.

Namasté!
Nonie nutritionist

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Whole Grains Health

Diet and exercises for diabetics: Your ultimate guide

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Diet and exercise are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle, especially for people with diabetes. Eating healthy and exercising have numerous health benefits, such as controlling blood sugar levels and making sure it is on target. In order to keep blood sugar levels under control, one must consistently eat a balanced diet and a practice regularly.

“People with diabetes often find it difficult to exercise regularly and eat a diabetic-friendly diet. However, you can control blood sugar levels by making small changes in diet and exercising. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, people with diabetes can also see positive changes in their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, ”said Dr. Santosh B, MBBS, MD General Medicine, DNB Endocrinology, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bengaluru

What foods can people with diabetes eat?

A healthy diet consists of foods of all food groups in moderate amounts. People with diabetes can include the following food groups in their diet:

Some good sources of protein for diabetics to start out with are nuts, seeds, and beans. (Photo: Getty Images / Thinkstock)

Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, vegetables, peppers and tomatoes
Fruits: oranges, melons, berries, apples and papaya
Grains: Whole grain products like wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa.
Protein: Chicken, fish, lean meat, nuts and peanuts, eggs, beans, dried beans like chickpeas and tofu.
Non-fat dairy products: oat milk, almond milk, yogurt, low-fat milk and cheese.

What foods and drinks should people with diabetes avoid?

“People with diabetes should limit their consumption of fried foods, foods high in trans fats or saturated fats, and salts like cucumber, papad, or excessive sugar like candy, baked goods, or ice cream. Besides these foods People with diabetes should avoid consuming beverages with high sugar content, ”added Dr. Santosh added.

Why is exercise necessary for people with diabetes?

Exercise plays a vital role in preventing and treating diabetes. Exercise also prevents depression. People with diabetes need to run for at least about 30 minutes each day and do moderate-intensity exercise regularly. Alternatively, people with diabetes can include some yoga exercises in their exercise regimen, he said when citing the study, “The Role of Exercise in Diabetes”.

How can people with diabetes be safely physically active?

While staying physically active is important for people with diabetes, here are some tips to make sure you stay safe while exercising:

* Keep yourself well hydrated
* Protect yourself from hypoglycemia as physical activity lowers blood sugar levels. Avoid long, intense workouts as this can lead to hypoglycemia.
* Wear comfortable, supportive shoes during exercise to avoid complications related to the diabetic foot.

“By eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, people with diabetes can improve their insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels, and reduce their dependence on medication or insulin injections. Regular moderate-intensity exercise and a healthy diet are recommended for people with diabetes, ”he concluded.

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