I love to read. Next to cooking, reading has to be my favourite pastime.
I sometimes think that reading has almost become obsolete. It seems to me that in today’s age of the information super highway and the sound bite, many people read headlines or quickly scan articles or blogs without actually reading the entire thing…and then pass judgment without reflecting on what they’ve not read. In the age of social media, anyone can post their opinion on any subject without really giving that subject much thought.
I like to read slowly, to devour books and try to grasp the meaning and understand the point of view the author is trying to represent. I may not agree with what the author is saying but I feel it is necessary to try to see things from their perspective and then make up my own mind about it.
I tend to read mostly fiction. I like the idea of escaping into a great novel. Yet recently, I’ve found myself reading a lot more nonfiction, mostly to do with cooking and food. Not just cookbooks but books about where our food comes from and where we are heading as a society as related to food, food production and meal planning.
Some of my favourite reads lately are: Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemna” where the author examines what’s at stake when we make our food choices at the grocery store. How what we buy and eat affects our bodies and our planet. Another favourite is “Trauma Farm” by Brian Brett where he chronicles the history of his small organic farm and the perils he faces trying to remain true to his vision. “Animal Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver is an excellent read about her families goal of eating only home grown or at the very least local foods for an entire year. And of course there’s Eric Schlosser’s groundbreaking work “Fast Food Nation” which examines the reality of North America’s obsession with fast food.
While all these preach a similar theme, they all approach their subjects from differing angles. What these books all have in common is the goal to make people think about where their food comes from be it grocery store or local farmer’s market. It’s only by educating ourselves that we can make informed decisions…and what we eat has to be one of the most important decisions we can make.
So, if you’ve got the time and want to learn more about where your food comes from and where it’s going, I strongly suggest you read any of these four titles, they could profoundly affect the way you look at what you eat. They will affect the way you look at your food, as well as your meal planning for healthy meal plans in the future.
I know it’s hard. As a dad to a soon to be four year old, I know how hard it is to find the time to “play, play, play”. But playtime, much like family meal time and healthy meal plans are very important in the development of children. For us, winter is especially difficult; I’d much rather spend time outside with my daughter than playing indoors. But sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. Going to the local park or riding our bikes are some of our favourite summer time activities. This latest report states that preschoolers need at least one hour of outdoor play time a day!
So how do we fit this one hour of pay time into our already hectic schedules? By planning. Signing the kids up to after school sports is all good, but you still need to bring them to the playing field or arena. And often, these after school activities start right at 5:30pm or 6pm…when are you supposed to eat dinner? What happens is, a lot of parents end up bringing their kids to the fast food joint.
Meal planning ahead of time means you can avoid the dreaded fast foods and ensure that your child is eating healthy and nutritious meals. If little Timmy has soccer practice on Monday nights at 6pm, why not plan ahead and make something on Sunday night that can be reheated for a quick dinner on Monday? Or have a staple of homemade frozen meals ready to go. There are always alternatives to fast food…all are healthier, more nutritious and some are even “faster”. Start meal planning ahead and get outside!
I used to drink sodas regularly and still do on occasion but I must admit, these occasions are fewer and fewer. I was never a big pop drinker; we rarely buy any for the house; my wife never drinks it and our 4 year old has never even tried the stuff.The only time I end up having a cola is when I am at a restaurant and the only drink options are alcoholic or colas. I never drink if I have driven or plan to drive in the near future so that leaves me with pop or tap water.
As I said, I used to drink colas almost every day but decided a few years back that, for my health and as a part of healthy meal plans, I should cut down on my consumption of pop. Now, the mere taste of a soda turns me off completely. I find that they are irritatingly sweet and frankly I can no longer stomach them. They are no longer apart of healthy meal plans for my family and myself.
Ditching cola was easy. And with mounting evidence that soft drinks, both regular and unsweetened, are really not good for you, I am happy I did get them out of my diet. And it’s not just soft drinks; sugar laden “energy drinks” that are hugely popular these days are equally unhealthy. Sure, pro athletes everywhere are promoting them regularly as a pick me up and a refresher after a hard work out but that’s just it…after or before a work out an energy drink might be okay. The fact is soft drinks offer “empty calories” and not much else.
You may enjoy the flavour and you may need the “pick-me-up” of soft drinks, but maybe now is the time to really consider your health and heed this meal planning tip: drop the pop.
Our new refrigerator arrived on the weekend!
This makes me very happy. We cooks love new kitchen stuff.
There was nothing really wrong with our old fridge; in fact it’s the kind of fridge most people want. Double door, fridge and freezer combo with ice and water dispenser but I disliked it because it lacked space for something that took up so much space. Don’t worry; we’re not throwing it out. We’ve donated it to a local charity.
What I like about the new one is that it’s all fridge! No freezer. We’ve got a chest freezer in the basement so having one upstairs as well, though convenient, was not necessary…at least that’s what I’m saying now…we’ll see in a few weeks if I’m still of the same mind.
The reason we went for the all fridge version is that I like having lots of shelves and not so many drawers and compartments. Because when we get home from the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, I like to process all the vegetables, meat and fruit before putting them away to begin meal planning. Sure, it takes time to wash the lettuce, clean the fresh berries, portion any meats, etc., but I save so much time during the week when I go to cook stuff. I like to wash the lettuces and spin them dry and then place them in a re-sealable container with paper towel on top and bottom to absorb any moisture. Then I always label the container with the name and date in order to make sure to use it for a healthy meal plan before using a newer container of lettuce or vegetables or whatever. This way I’m always on top of what’s going on in my fridge, nothing goes bad and nothing is purchased unnecessarily.
I find things often get lost at the back of drawers and compartments and before you know it you hear: “what’s that smell?” and you can’t answer: “it’s the cheese” because you ate it all. (A sous chef I once had said to me: “if anything else smelled this bad we’d throw it out…but not cheese”).
The new fridge will definitely make meal planning much easier and I can more easily create healthy meal plans with already prepared – but fresh! – foods.
With the incredibly unseasonal high temperatures we’re experiencing in these parts, it got me thinking about setting up the gas BBQ. We’ve so many fabulous grill recipes at MealEasy that I can’t wait to make a few. So last night, I went about getting the grill ready. It’s not simply a case of rolling the BBQ out of the shed; there are certain procedures that need to be followed especially if you haven’t used the grill to make healthy meal plans in a few months.
Cueing up the Q:
- First thing you should do is take it apart and give it a good cleaning. Get rid of any ashes left behind and give the cooking surface a good scrub.
- While you have it apart, carefully inspect the parts for signs of rust. You may need to replace a part or two.
- After sitting over the winter, the Venturi tubes may contain dirt, spider webs, water or other debris. These tubes should be cleaned by using bent pipe cleaners, a very small bottle brush, or a special Venturi brush which can be purchased from your local barbecue dealer.
- Check for any loose nuts and bolts in the assembly as well.
- Check your tank for any damage or excessive rust.
- Next, reassemble the barbecue and check your gas line. The best way to do this is by covering any connections with soapy water to see if bubbles form when the propane tank is opened. If bubbles do appear, check to see if it’s simply a case of tightening some connections or whether it’s a case of a break or a leak. If it’s the latter, turn off your propane and bring it in to be looked at by a professional.
- Assuming you’ve got no leaks in the line and all is clean, it’s time to spark it up. I like to put it on full gas for at least 20 minutes to burn off any residual dirt I may have missed
This may seem like a lot of work, but doing this properly will set you up nicely for the summer months of grilling. I don’t know about you, but our healthy meal plans in the summer consist of lots of grilling. Find BBQ meal planning recipes of your own on the site!
Let’s be honest, most of us would rather nosh on nachos than nibble on a veggie platter. Many of us hear the phrase “health food” and immediately turn up our noses. But healthy food doesn’t have to be bland or distasteful. In fact, it can be quite delicious if you have some good recipes, and that’s where MealEasy comes in. Working in conjunction with nutrition experts and chefs, we have created an expansive collection of more than one thousand tasty and nutritious recipes with the express goal of helping you and your family eat better – all without sacrificing flavor in the name of health.
Of course, you could visit with a nutritionist for assistance in putting together weekly or monthly healthy meal plans, but the cost of those repeated office visits can add up. Using MealEasy as your healthy meal planning will save you money while still providing diets created by expert advisors. You’ll also save time and money at the grocery store. With a clear idea of the food you’ll be eating, you’re less likely to buy too much at the store or buy the wrong ingredients altogether. That translates to much less wasted food. With MealEasy’s healthy meal planning, it’s easy to know exactly what and how much you need to purchase. Customized shopping lists can even be printed for maximum convenience.
Each dish includes a detailed recipe and easy-to-follow cooking instructions. Healthy meal plans are easily customizable by excluding unwanted ingredients or by choosing to work from one of the plans created for those people with particular dietary restrictions. Each of the more than one thousand recipes can be prepared in under forty-five minutes and many are freezer friendly too. Every meal has been tested to meet nutritional and caloric intake guidelines, so you know your healthy meal plans will be well balanced and nutritious, as well as delicious.
It is a struggle for many people to get and stay fit. Some turn to exercise. Some look to an improved diet. But the reality is that you need both. Exercise is particularly important for cardiovascular health and can play a key role in weight loss if that’s a goal. A healthy diet is important for proper nutrition and managing caloric intake.
At MealEasy, we don’t profess to be fitness experts, but we do know quite a bit about a healthy diet and what it takes to maintain one – and planning is paramount. Working with healthy meal plans helps take the guess work out of eating. Planning your meals out for the week helps ensure that you’ll eat a well-balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods. However, it can be a time consuming and tedious task to come up with recipes day after day and week after week that both meets your nutrition requirements and tastes great. So we’ve done the challenging work for you!
We’ve developed over one thousand great-tasting and nutritious recipes for our meal plans. Our meal plans were created by nutrition experts to meet nutrition and caloric intake guidelines and by chefs to make sure every meal tastes great. Every recipe is easy to prepare and can be made with common, affordable ingredients. Our meal plans can be customized to remove unwanted foods. Many of our dishes can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer to help save time. To make sure you purchase exactly what you’ll need from the grocery store, a shopping list based on your personal healthy meal plans can be printed.
That’s right! Simply pick and choose the recipes that you like to quickly build a weekly meal plan. When you’re done, it’s easy to print off a shopping list and you’re all set. Combine a well-planned healthy diet with an appropriate amount of exercise, and you’ll be feeling more fit in short order.
The modern world is extremely fast paced. Most people are so busy with daily routines and schedules that they do not have time to cook a healthy meal at home. Processed foods and junk food act as lifesavers for many throughout the day. People usually resort to eating unhealthy, calorie-laden foods instead of foods high in nutrients. However, this is all people can bring themselves to do when they get home at the end of the day tired and starving. Despite its convenience, processed foods and junk food provide more detriments to one’s health than benefits.
Increased consumption of processed food leads to obesity and other lifestyle ailments. It is then essential to develop healthy meal planning that allows one to plan and consume a healthy diet.
Meal planning software provides all the information required to create healthy meal planning. With the help of this software one can find what types of food to avoid and what food should be consumed more. Meal planning software also allows an individual to know the normal percentage of nutrients to have in a meal and the maximum levels of protein, carbohydrates or fats that a meal should have. These details provided by meal planning software allows an individual to create healthy meal planning. Meal planning software describes these components in detail. In addition to this, meal planning software creates customized healthy meal planning in accordance to one’s body type, activities, and metabolism.
However, using meal planning software to create meal planning by one’s self is not always an easy task. One should enlist the help of a qualified professional that can take individual health statistics into account and plan a customized meal plan accordingly. This help may be found online. Numerous websites provide effective meal plans, but the best option is to choose a reputable website with a positive record in the healthy industry.
www.mealeasy.com is one such website that has the credentials to help an individual create healthy meal planning with their constantly updated meal planning software. MealEasy company has over 600 chefs and is associated with health professionals that provide the best recipes. These personalized recipes are easy to cook and especially delicious to eat.
Some families and individuals decide at the last minute what to cook for dinner. While this spontaneity works well for some, there are considerable benefits to meal planning. The following are the top five reasons why a family or individual should create healthy meal plans.
- Save Money: One can save money when creating healthy meal plans. Meal planning ensures an individual does not waste money on unnecessary food. Meal planning makes sure an individual will not be tempted to eat at a restaurant because he already has a meal planned for the evening.
- Save Time: Families and individuals can save an enormous amount of time if they take time to create healthy meal plans. One no longer has to think about what to cook everyday and this also saves time grocery shopping because one already knows what ingredients are needed.
- Less Waste: When creating healthy meal plans it guarantees the right portions for an individual or an entire family. Meal planning helps one judge the correct amount of servings and portions for a meal. People are less likely to buy food from the market and let it rot in the refrigerator with efficient meal planning.
- Eat Healthier: Meal planning caters to the nutritional needs of each family member. Healthy meal plans fulfills the needs of a growing child, as well as adults. Meal planning is also beneficial if there is an elderly or pregnant person in the household.
- Reduce Stress: While some people enjoy cooking, others can find it quite stressful, especially when deciding what to make. Therefore, creating healthy meal plans for the week allows more time to relax since everything has already been decided for that week.
Healthy meal plans are not time consuming once an individual begins planning. There are various resources on the Internet to create healthy meal plans in only a few minutes. MealEasy is a reputable website that helps families or individuals plan meals quickly by just listing some of their basic needs.
For more information about creating healthy meal plans, please visit www.mealeasy.com.
Don’t worry, Chef Paul hasn’t gone on strike…I’m just hijacking the blog for a second!
I’m James, the Director of Marketing at MealEasy. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been hosting my parents, who are visiting from Wales in the UK (I emigrated here last year). During the first few days I introduced them to Fiddleheads. Chef Paul blogged about them a few weeks ago, and there was some contention on our Facebook group. Time to blog about them again!
Firstly, my parents had no idea what they were, and looked shocked at my description of ‘baby ferns’. Next came the inevitable ‘what do they taste like?’ question. Now, this threw me! The only way I could describe them was ‘like asparagus, but very different’.
It seems they just don’t get this wonderful vegetable in the UK, and what a gem they are missing out on! I served them one night with salmon – lightly fried in butter and garlic, and what a hit! Two more ‘Fiddlehead Converts’ in the world – they’ll be sure to include them in their healthy meal planning in the future.
It just proves – there are LOTS of interesting foods out there that we haven’t yet heard of, but other cultures are devouring by the ton-load. Get out there, explore and include them in healthy meal plans!
Okay, I’m handing the Blog back to the Chef now……you can catch his original Fiddleheads post HERE.