What’s for Dinner?
An innocent enough question, but do you ever catch yourself realizing, ‘Wait, I am the one making dinner.’ You are sometimes on your own finding a solution to world hunger right in your very own home. Well, let’s see if there aren’t a few suggestions that might help speed a solution to the nightly conundrum called ‘dinner.’
“Start with the protein!” Suggests Tammy Manse a registered dietitian at Inspired Life Nutrition, in San Marcos California. Look at your options, and decide what sounds good to you. Whether it is chicken, beef, eggs, or tofu whatever you have on hand is better than making a fast food run. Not to mention, usually a cheaper option.
Once you have a protein chosen, decide, “what grain sounds good with it today?” Again, this is an individual answer. While professionals, such as Tammy, recommend against overly restrictive diets, there are legitimate health concerns that can lead individuals to steer clear of using particular food groups, such as grains (rice, pasta or bread). Unless you are one of this crowd, continue reviewing your options, what do you have on hand? What sounds good? If you have some ground beef, maybe pasta sounds good with it. Or rice.
By the time you have a grain chosen, the hard part is over. Your brain can often naturally pair a sauce that can combine the two ingredients tastefully (eg, alfredo, stroganoff or a tomato based sauce.) If not, simply season the meat with your favorite seasonings and cook the pasta as directed.
You are not done, its time to add some color! While proteins and grains provide necessary nutrients, vegetables are essential to providing a balanced nutritious meal. Easy to prepare, they can be cleaned, sliced, and enjoyed eaten fresh. Or they can be added to cook with the meat, or sautéed on the side. Personally, there hasn’t been a vegetable I haven’t liked roasted at 425 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes with one tablespoon of oil salt, and pepper–and maybe some garlic.
By the end of your nightly meal labors, (IDEALLY =) your plate proportions would ideally look something like this:
Hope that helps take some of the stress and potential redundancy out of the nightly feeding routine. Keeping your mind open and flexible to options can help you discover some quick and easy, yet satisfying, meals. This strategy, like any meal prep strategy, is not foolproof. There may be some last-minute ditched efforts and quick trips to KFC, but stay curious and willing to have fun with it to hopefully avoid some dinner burnout! Sometimes the easiest way to judge if your meal is healthy enough, is to look at the colors.
This post was brought to you by guest blogger Julia