From a very young age, I have enjoyed transforming simple ingredients into delicious treats. Whenever I could, I was in the kitchen helping my mom cook supper or bake recipes. And if I could make something completely from scratch? Even better.
In my new blog series “Making Meal Planning Manageable,” I’ll be posting bimonthly with tips and tricks to take the stress out of (and possibly put the fun back into) planning meals.
We all experience it from time to time — that dread of trying to create a weekly menu that satisfies every palate in the house. Even as a dietitian I suffer from lack of inspiration in this area at times. (And I only have three mouths to feed!) Then the other day as I was researching new recipes to try, I came across some of the meal plans created by Maryann at Raise Healthy Eaters. In her home, she assigns dinner or food themes to certain days of the week to simplify the meal planning process.
I decided to give it a go, so here are the food themes we’re going to try:
I don’t know about you, but I think beans (the legume kind) are pretty great. Black beans, being one of my favourite varieties, are packed with 7.5 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of dietary fiber in every 1/2 cup. They contain both insoluble and soluble fiber — which means beans are not only good for keeping your bowels regular but can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. Also, that fiber helps you feel full quicker and keeps you satisfied between meals. Black beans are also a very good source of folate and iron, among many other vitamins and minerals.
That being said, I wasn’t always a bean-lover! Growing up in the Midwest, I was a huge fan of anything baked beans (you know — the canned navy beans swimming in brown sugar and bacon). But other than that, beans hardly ever made it to my plate. I even remember picking through bowls of chilli to eat the meat and leave the kidney beans behind. Well times have changed, and now I can’t get enough of them. (And neither can my toddler Liam!)
Black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black-eyed peas, pinto beans… there are so many different ways to add these gems into your diet:
Last week while visiting the grocery store, my little Liam was up to his usual antics: sneakily hiding behind food displays, dramatically “running” down the aisles in slow-motion, and playfully throwing my grocery list out of the cart so I would continuously retrieve it. Anyway, we made our way over to the home good department to pick out new serving dishes for some upcoming recipes. Liam, being his usual helpful self, saw me placing dishes in the cart and decided to assist me in this task. Soon enough the “E-um help-a you” and “I need this” phrases came out, and he started to want to touch every plate, bowl, or cup in sight. This was nothing new so I crouched down to explain to him why he couldn’t touch the dishes — which instigated another customer to loudly exclaim to her shopping partner something like, “See, this is why I never took my kids to the grocery store!” And then she directed her attention to me and passionately told me how her husband wouldn’t even let her take the kids shopping. Although I’m not sure if the lady intended to be judgemental or helpful, I laughed it off being the non-confrontational person I am and finished my shopping.
I get it. Sometimes I dream of the days when I could quietly peruse up and down the grocery aisles or take my time looking at dish-ware. And some days I do get that luxury — after Liam’s bedtime or if my husband takes him on errands. I also understand that for some moms and dads, taking one, two, or more children to the store is not worth the stress or anxiety. However, if you never take your little ones (or older children) to the grocery store, you’ll miss out on some excellent learning opportunities as well as memories!
Here are 3 reasons why I recommend taking children to the grocery store (at least once in a while):
There is one constant as a 20-something year old – people are always having babies. If it’s not someone in your family, then it is a coworker, a friend’s sister, or your aunt’s dental hygienist. Before I had my little Liam and was just studying nutrition, I would get the occasional “I’m pregnant! What should I eat?” or “Do I really have to eat for two?” Now that I’m not only a Registered Dietitian but an “experienced” mom (though some days I feel like a complete amateur at this motherhood thing), I get these questions all the time. And it’s not that these women don’t know how to eat. I think questions are asked because as soon as that positive pregnancy test is staring back at you, your motherly instincts kick in and you want to do what’s best for your growing baby.
So you just found out that you are pregnant. What should you eat?
Hello, I'm Erin – a Registered Dietitian, loving wife, mommy of one, and self-proclaimed foodie. Welcome to my blog where I hope to inspire others to make nutrition, health, family and faith more than just good intentions.
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