Friday, April 6, 2007

Meal Planning

One of the things that my lifestyle coaching clients quickly discover is that without meal planning their weight loss goals are close to impossible to achieve. Here is an interesting article I received in a newsletter today that covers off why meal planning is so important.

Know What’s for Dinner! by Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

If you don’t know what’s for dinner today, welcome to the club—it’s a big
one! 90% of America will not know at 4:00 PM today what they will be
serving in just a few hours. Out of that 90%, some will opt for heating up
a frozen pizza or calling the pizza guy for delivery, some will battle the
crowds and snag a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, others will
choose the drive thru or go out and the last few will try in vain to put
something together with the odds and ends ingredients in their pantries
and fridges. All of these options have STRESS written all over them.

I’m not saying you can’t do any of these things occasionally; it’s just
that when this becomes the way you do dinner, it’s more haphazard, less
nutritious and way more stressful than it needs to be.

The easy button is your pantry and fridge being properly stocked, your
grocery list being filled out and used when you go to the grocery store so
you can keep your pantry and fridge stocked and of course, having a menu
that reflects your week, so you know what days you can cook and what days
you need help (the days you’re schlepping kids to sports, dance, music
lessons, etc.)

Let me define “help”. Help to me comes in the form of my crockpot, a
frozen dinner that I’ve made thawing in the fridge for that night,
leftovers, sandwiches, breakfast for dinner and a last resort, take out or
the pizza guy. The rest of the time, I make dinner and although it rarely
takes me over 30 minutes to make a meal, the other options I just listed
take half that time and really save me on the busiest nights.

It is just as simple as I’ve outlined it. The very first place to start is
with a menu that reflects your needs, a grocery list to reflect the menu
and a trip to the grocery store!

Today is the day you turn from the world of fast food and repent! Become a
convert…a crock pot convert that is. Use this wonderful apparatus
regularly and watch what happens to that face of yours when your kids ask,
“What’s for dinner?” You will smile because you have an answer! Here is a
great crock pot dinner you will love, and so will the rest of your family!

Crock Moroccan Chicken and Veggies
Serves 6

4 skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 (16 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper, de-ribbed, seeded, cut into 1 inch squares
1 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Hot cooked couscous or brown rice

Place garbanzo beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, raisins, tomato paste,
water, garlic, chicken bouillon and cumin in 5 quart slow cooker. Mix
until well combined.

Place chicken pieces on top of bean mixture. Cover and cook on low heat
setting 6-7 hours, or until chicken is tender.

Before serving, stir in peanut butter. Serve over couscous or brown rice.

Per Serving: 385 Calories; 10g Fat; 27g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 9g
Dietary Fiber; 49mg Cholesterol; 670mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain
(Starch); 2 1/2
Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Add a green salad and some whole grain pita bread.

VEGETARIANS: Skip the chicken and add an extra can of garbanzos.

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