By Amy Johnson, RD, CDE - Fall, like New Year’s Day, feels like a fresh start! Kids are heading off to school as a new academic year has begun. Along with new backpacks, lunch boxes, and school clothing comes the dreaded after-school question of “what’s for dinner?”
If you are like me, you want to feed your family healthy, tasty and easy meals. Yet, it can be a daunting task to get dinner on the table every night!
Here are a few tips that I hope will ease your dinner planning:
Instead of dumping the grocery flyers in the trash as you walk in the door, save them for your weekend planning. Come Saturday morning, after your coffee, spend a small amount of time looking through the grocery flyers and coupon apps in search of healthy choices that are on sale for the week.
Next, look through your favorite cook-books and recipe sites in search of recipes that you can simply prepare using the sale item ingredients. My favorite go-to recipe sites include Skinnytaste, Cooking Light, and The UltimateVolumetrics Cookbook.
If fish or chicken is discounted, try to make more than one meal using that ingredient for the week.
Go ahead and be daring! Try at least 1 new recipe a week to increase your go-to arsenal.
Once you have chosen your recipes, shop your kitchen. Find the ingredients you already have in your panty and then either write out or ask Alexa to create, a list of items that you still need to buy. Some recipe sites even provide a shopping list for you! This allows you to simply cross off the ingredients that you already have on hand.
If buying fresh fruits and veggies is a cost concern, go ahead and buy frozen and low sodium canned foods. Frozen or canned food have as much, or even more, nutritional value than the fresh because they are flash-frozen or canned quickly after picking.
If time allows, cut up the protein and veggies for your first recipe on Sunday as this will really help you get a jump on the week.
If you are going to prepare a crockpot meal for dinner the next day, you may want to consider filling your ceramic crockpot dish with the needed ingredients the night before and then store it in the fridge overnight. This way, come morning, you can simply pop it into the crock-pot and turn it on!
Here are a few of the recipes that I will be preparing this week:
Amy Johnson, RD, CDE, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with over 20 years of experience helping patients make healthy food choices. To schedule an evaluation with Amy Johnson in our Sterling office, request an appointment online or call 703-433-2500.