Diane May Nutrition Blog

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How To Meal Plan

June 4th, 2020

The term meal planning is thrown around all the time, but rarely is it explained how to do it. It may seem daunting, but once you get the hang of it, it is an extremely useful tool and can significantly reduce food waste. As food costs rise and availability of food items you may want decrease, meal planning can be a savior. I feel more and more people are cooking and now is the optimal time to learn to meal plan.

  • Pick a day that you can sit down and plot your meals for the week.  I plan my meals on Sunday, which takes me through the whole week ahead.
  • Look at the recipes that you would like to use. Try and find at least a few that use similar/same ingredients.
  • Create a grocery list to incorporate all the ingredients you will need. The more similar the ingredients, the less you will need to stock. Consider how you might repurpose food items into other meals, for example-Day 1: Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli (leave off stems), cabbage slaw and quinoa. Day 2: Chinese chicken salad w/ leftover rotisserie chicken on a bed of shredded cabbage and broccoli stems and side of quinoa with chopped up leftover broccoli. Great salad dressing-low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh minced ginger and garlic. Day 3: Last of rotisserie chicken and bones-make a stock. After it has cooked, remove bones and add any/all leftover vegetables and some frozen vegetables and seasonings of your choice, and if there is any leftover quinoa, add at end.
  • Think of all dry goods, condiments and extras you may need for the week. Do not over purchase snacks, but include enough for the week.
  • Do NOT overbuy. Keep healthy, more perishable items, such as berries and yogurt, towards the front of the fridge to reduce spoilage and so that you will not forget you have them!
  • Once you get your groceries, prep vegetables and chop up as much as you can to reduce some of the daily prep time.
  • Most important….Stick to the meal plan. If you have healthy options in the house, use them! No need for takeout or unhealthy options.  If it is not in the house, you will not eat it.

As people have been in their homes, the temptation to wander into the kitchen and snack and pick has increased. By meal planning and sticking to your food list, you reduce temptation and have a better ability to create a safe food environment. If you don’t bring it into the house, you can’t eat it. If you really hate cooking, investigate healthy frozen meal options and steam fresh vegetables. Stock up on fresh produce, low fat/non fat dairy, lean proteins and whole, complex grains. Planning your meals leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups

Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time 20 Mins
Total Time 20 Mins
Yield Serves 4 (serving size: 3 filled lettuce cups)

Crisp, delicate butter lettuce leaves have a cup shape that’s perfect for holding the sweet-and-savory ground turkey mixture and crunchy, colorful vegetables. The key is not to weigh down the cups with too much filling so they don’t tear. Add some heat with crushed red pepper or a diced red Fresno chile. The sugar here not only balances the vinegar tang; it also helps the meat caramelize and develop wonderful crispy bits in the pan. You could use ground pork or a tofu scramble in place of turkey. If you can’t find butter lettuce leaves, you can cut romaine leaves crosswise, removing the wide part of the rib.

Sleep During a Pandemic

May 2nd, 2020

Sleep is a critical aspect of health and wellness. When we sleep, our body repairs the damage caused by stress and environmental factors, it gives us energy and invigorates us for the day ahead, keeps us alert, helps with memory and most importantly, especially right now, helps to fight infection. When we do not get enough sleep, your immune system is weaker. Optimally, we need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. With people’s schedules being off, nightmares and levels of stress and anxiety being high, sleep has become a mystery lately. So what are things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene?

  • Keep your routines. This may be the most critical right now. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Even if you may not have work or school, it is important for your body to have a consistent routine.
  • Try not to watch too much news and detox from TV, social media and phones for at least an hour before bed. Give your brain a chance to slow down.
  • Have a cut off time for fluids, approximately 3 hours before bed so that you do not have to wake frequently during the night. Even if you go right back to sleep, you are breaking a REM cycle. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake as they can impact sleep as well.
  • Make your room as dark as possible. Daylight savings brings light for longer hours. We get the deepest sleep in the darkest room possible. Cover electronics that may shine into the room.
  • Keep it cool. 60-67 degrees promotes optimal sleep.Take those socks off!
  • Avoid naps during the day, especially in the afternoon. This can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. If you really need a nap, make it no more than 20-30 minutes.
  • Get in daily exercise. This can help with quality sleep. Pay attention if afternoon exercise makes you “wired” as this would decrease your ability to sleep.
  • Try meditation before bed. Happify, Headspace, calm and 10% happier all make good Apps that can provide guided programs. You can also just focus on your breathing. Think to yourself-inhale and exhale.
  • Do not eat for at least 3 hours before bed. we do not want to be digesting while we are trying to sleep.
  • Consider Melatonin. This is not a supplement to use long term, but in the short term, can re adjust your cycle. I recommend 3-5 mg 90 minutes before bed.

These are difficult times, and sleep should not be overlooked, as it is so important to our overall health. Reach out if you really need help. Sometimes, just talking about whats on your mind can go along way to having a better nights sleep. If you are struggling, talk to your doctor or therapist about alternatives that may help get your sleep back on track. Sending love and prayers to those that need it right now.

Rating: 5 stars    

Eat this thick and creamy smoothie bowl with a spoon! Banana and frozen berries whip together with a little nut milk for a toppable vegan breakfast. We use fruit, nuts and seeds for topping, but feel free to experiment with whatever you like.

 DEVON O’BRIEN
Active:
10 mins
Total:
10 mins
Servings:
1
Ingredients
 
Ingredient Checklist
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Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Combine banana, berries and soymilk (or almond milk) in a blender. Blend until smooth.

  • Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with pineapple, kiwi, almonds, coconut and chia seeds.

Nutrition Facts

338 calories; 9.6 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 46 mg sodium. 940 mg potassium; 64.3 g carbohydrates; 12.1 g fiber; 36 g sugar; 8.6 g protein; 393 IU vitamin a iu; 82 mg vitamin c; 60 mcg folate; 231 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 94 mg magnesium