Meal Planning for Picky Eaters

meal planning for picky eaters

Meal planning for picky eaters can be a nightmare! How do you meal plan when the members of your family have different eating restrictions or preferences? Maybe you have kids who are picky eaters, a family member with a food allergy, or you’re the only vegetarian in your house.  This can create extra work for you, but most of the time it’s not necessary for you to cook two completely different meals.  Here are tips to ease your frustration when you’ve got family members who don’t want to eat the same thing.

4 Tips for Meal Planning for Picky Eaters:

 

  • Focus on the common denominator. Does everyone love pasta, tacos, or baked potatoes but not exactly the same kind?  Set up a pasta, taco, or baked potato bar!  Make several sauces or toppings on the side and let each person customize their own plate.

  • Make the “disputed” ingredient on the side. Since I eat mostly vegetarian, many times I will heat up cooked, diced chicken breast in a separate small skillet for my husband.  I will make our main dish vegetarian (Stir Fried Cashew & Broccoli, Cheese Ravioli with Artichoke Hearts, Veggie & Grain Bowls, etc.) and Nick can add in chicken.

  • If you’ve got kids who only eat 3 or 4 things, meal plan those out on your calendar alongside the adult meals.  See if you can at least correlate some side dishes.  For example, if your kids love hot dogs and mac & cheese, make the adult meal something that will pair well with the mac & cheese. Or make the grown-up version of their meal. In this instance, maybe some gourmet sausages sautéed with green peppers and onions.

  • Use freezer meals for the “odd man out.”  Sometimes there’s a meal that everyone – except one holdout – loves.  In this case, have the odd person out choose a freezer meal that they like and heat it up for them.

 

By using the above tips, meal planning for picky eaters doesn’t have a to be so stressful! What do you do to make mealtime with picky eaters easier for your family?

 

Mindful Meal Planning Book Cover 2

Get more meal planning tips and family friendly recipes with my new e-book,

Mindful Meal Planning: Eat Healthy While Saving Time, Money, & Stress! 

 

Summer Meal Planning Tips (Video)

Summer Meal Planning Tips

Like me, do you dread turning on the oven to cook dinner when it’s sweltering hot outside? Sure, you can use the grill and we do use ours quite a bit during the summer.  But what if it’s raining?  Here are some meal planning tips to keep your kitchen cool this summer!

 

  • Pan Frying Meats or Stir Frying Veggies on the Stovetop

  • Toaster Oven – Bake a single piece of salmon, a small batch of sweet potato fries, or a few dinner rolls.

  • Crock Pot – Use it year round!

  • Veggie Steamer

  • Of course, the grill!  Try batch cooking a whole bag of frozen chicken breasts.  Dice up the extras and toss it onto salads for those nights you don’t want to cook at all.

Can I Freeze Dairy Products? (Video)

Can I Freeze Dairy Products

Some dairy products freeze well and others will curdle and separate. Here’s the rundown of which ones make good freezer candidates:

• DO NOT freeze half-and-half, sour cream, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. They have a tendency to separate, become watery, and sometimes curdle.

• Milk – 1 month. Make sure you take 1 cup per gallon of milk out of the container since it will expand when frozen. Milk should be consumed in a week once thawed.  Whole milk and 2% freeze better than skim milk.  If your family goes through multiple gallons of milk per week, stocking up when it goes on sale and freezing it could save you a bundle!

• Cheese – Up to 6 months.  Yes, you can freeze cheese! The National Dairy Counsel suggests freezing cheese for six months or less. Freezing can change the texture of some cheeses, making them crumbly once thawed, and the firmer varieties (cheddar, Gouda, and Swiss) seem to hold up best. As I like to say, “The firmer the cheese, the better it will freeze!”  Stock up on shredded cheeses that you’ll be using for cooking and freeze – you won’t notice a difference in taste or texture in your recipes. You can even freeze cheese slices!

• Butter – up to 12 months. I frequently stock up on sticks of butter when it goes on sale in November and December during the holiday baking season. Spreadable butters also freeze very well, too. I pop them directly in the freezer, no need for a freezer bag or container!

Meal Planning Leads to Weight Loss (Video)

Meal Planning Leads to Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight or just eat healthier, meal planning is essential for lasting success! Planning your meals in advance ensures that you are heading to the grocery store with a detailed list. Shopping with a list curbs impulse buys which is good for both your wallet and your waistline!

If you’re meal planning on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to eat out. Restaurant dishes have an average of 30% more fat and calories than the same dish prepared at home. You’re more likely to eat at home if you know you’ve got everything ready for a meal that will take 30 minutes or less to put on the table.  Even better if dinner is in the crock pot waiting for you! Preparing meals at home also means that the rest of your family is eating healthy along with you.  The bonus is that you’ll have quality family time around the dinner table.

Meal Planning helps you to become mindful of your food, which means you’ll be making healthier choices. Check out my website for upcoming Mindful Meal Planning Webinars.

Cleaning and Organizing Your Deep Freezer (Video)

Cleaning and Organizing Your Freezer

Your freezer can be your best friend when it comes to meal planning – but only if you keep it properly maintained. It’s important to keep your freezer organized so you can make the most of the space available and find the items you’re looking for. I suggest that you put the heaviest items on the bottom of your deep freezer. This will ensure that more delicate items, such as loaves of bread and other baked goods don’t get crushed or otherwise damaged. It’s also a good idea to put meat on the bottom of your freezer, so if something happens to leak before it’s frozen, you don’t have chicken juice leaking on all of your other containers. This will be less likely to happen if you properly package your food for freezing.

Be sure to clearly label EVERYTHING with the date and contents.  Arrange your items in the freezer so that you can see labels and expiration dates. This will make it easy for you to identify and grab the item with the closest expiration date. This is especially important for your freezer cooking meals. If you don’t know what’s in a container, chances are it will languish at the back of the freezer and not get used.

It’s also a good idea to keep an inventory sheet of what you have in your freezer. You can write or type in your items and meals and check them off as you pull them out. This will also tell you when you’re about to run out of something. There’s nothing more frustrating than planning a meal around bone-in chicken breasts you swear you’ve got in your freezer – only to find out later you used the last of them several weeks ago.

It’s a good idea to defrost your deep freezer at least annually. Depending on the humidity where you live, you may need to do it more often than that. Any time you notice frost/ ice starting to build up, it’s time to defrost. If you don’t defrost on a regular basis, you are running the risk of increased freezer burn, plus your freezer won’t be working at optimal efficiency. I usually do this in January or February, when it’s freezing cold outside. I borrow a few extra coolers, load them up with my food, and put them out on the back deck (or in the garage if it’s cold enough) for a day or two while I let my freezer defrost. I scrub out the freezer really well before I load my food back into it. Certainly, you could let your freezer inventory get nice and low before you defrost. Or if you have friends or family with extra freezer space you could borrow for a few days; that will work too.

Want a copy of my Freezer Inventory sheet? Email me at Christine@ChristineLuken.com and I’ll gladly send it to you!

Best Foods for Strong & Healthy Joints

Best Foods for Health Joints

Today’s post is by Katleen Brown.

Most people recognize exercise as a great way to strengthen the bones and joints. In addition to exercise, the food eaten by an individual also contributes to the general body strength right from the bones, joints and muscles. Exercise for strength can be useless if there is no consumption of power-giving foods. Therefore, as you work on strengthening your joints and bones, consider adding energy providing foods to your diet in addition to exercise. Below is a list of the best foods for strong bones and joints

1. Natural Organic Oils

Natural oils including coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil are great for general body health. Coconut oil is excellent in reducing inflammation and pain, plus hydrating the body tissues hence keeping the skin ever moisturized.  It also works against fungi, bacteria, and viruses that can attack the joints and the bones. Olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that are beneficial for joint and bone health. These oils can be eaten as a part of your daily diet, or applied topically to the skin.

2. Bananas

Whether the bananas are cooked or  raw, they yield the same nutrients to the body. They are rich in potassium, an essential substance for the joints and bones. Bananas are also rich in fiber which is good for digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Fiber helps prevents weight gain which in turn prevents joint pain as a result of excess weight. It is also a pure substance for overcoming cravings for unhealthy, sugary foods.

3. Onions

Surprisingly, onions play a significant role in strengthening the bones and joints. They contain sulfur which works against pain and inflammation hence right for joint relief  Also, it helps us to reduce the amount of salt that we put on our meal using its flavor. Ordinary table salt contains sodium which can cause arthritis and high blood pressure. Garlic and leeks also have a high Sulphur content. Therefore, consider adding more of them to your regular diet  to strengthen your bones and joints.

4. Pepper

Pepper is an American spice rack staple and most of us use it regularly with our meals. Did you know that pepper contains vitamin C, which is great for removing spots on the surface of the skin and well known for pain relief? It also contains vitamin K and A that play the role of the antioxidants for joint relief and shielding the bones against damage by bacteria. All these vitamins work together with the immune system to protect the body against diseases.

5. Ginger and Turmeric

Both ginger and turmeric have the anti-inflammatory properties. It makes both of them effective natural substances to work against arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by inflammation of the joints accompanied by pain. Turmeric is also known to shield the body from heart disease and cancer. Curcumin is the substance that gives the turmeric the yellow color and is the main healing agent. Ginger, on the other hand, can also prevent nausea and plus adds a bright flavor to your meals.

6. Green Vegetables

Kale, a flavorful and healthy leafy green, contains manganese and vitamin C which reduce joint pain and repair damaged bone tissues. The presence of copper in the kale makes it great for building collagen, the primary agent in cartilage and ligaments. Kale has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These two properties are required for general bone and joint health. Vegetables are great for controlling weight gain; hence prevent arthritis due to excess weight. Spinach is also another green vegetable that is known for building strong bones.

7. Avocado and Papaya

These two fruits contain antioxidants that prevent the joints from damage. Papaya is rich in Vitamin A and C that possess antioxidant properties and reduce the risk of arthritis respectively. Avocado contains omega-3 fatty acids that protect the joints against inflammation and reduces joint pain. Also, it contains potassium compound that is great for the general health of the bones.

8. Milk and Dairy Products

Milk is a good source protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Drinking a glass of milk every day is a perfect way to build and maintain strong bones. Dairy products like yogurt are also great for the health of the bones. Therefore, taking them in moderate amounts can help you build your bone strength and avoid arthritis at the same time.

Conclusion

Whenever you think about healthy bones and pain-free joints, exercise and energy giving foods should be top of mind. Consuming food with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties is the best for joint relief. Additionally, food rich in vitamins, potassium, manganese and calcium is great for stronger bones. Healthy food alongside exercise is perfect for strong, healthy bones and joint pain relief. They are also great for controlling weight gain.

 

About the Author

Katleen Brown

Katleen Brown is a health, beauty and fitness writer. She loves to publish her articles on various health related websites. In her spare time, likes to do research to bring awareness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and outlook, she helps empower women to tune into their innate & inner wisdom to transform their health and truly flourish. 

 

 

Meal Planning Helper: Rotisserie Chickens (Video)

rotisserie chicken

 

One of my favorite meal planning tricks is to go to Sam’s Club (or Costco!) and purchase several rotisserie chickens for $5 each. We’ll eat some of the chicken for dinner that night. Then I will strip the meat off of the bone for all of the chickens and freeze it for later use.

 

 

I will take some of the chicken and mix it with either BBQ sauce or gravy and put it in the freezer. I’ll chop up the chicken breast meat and freeze it in one-cup portions. This makes it easy to thaw out and toss into soups, casseroles, stews, etc. I can hardly buy a whole uncooked chicken for $5 at the grocery store, so Sam’s rotisserie chickens save me money as well as time!