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Researching key strategies for meal planning methods has paid off for my family.
I have been able to adapt our strategies to fit our different seasons of life: pregnancy, two small kids, being a WAHM mom with my husband working a whole lot of hours, etc.
Diabetics use key strategies to keep their insulin levels under control, such as understanding the glycemic index.
Bachelors learn how to use small appliances to create variety and better nutrition their diet.
A family on a small grocery budget is served well by learning how to stretch expensive meat in multiple meals.
Empty nesters face a different challenge. Mothers have had years of cooking for active children and sometimes find it difficult to learn how to cook just for two adults.
I came up with a few strategies that will make this transition much easier to implement.
Prepare for Variety
Given most people’s tendency to reach for convenience foods or go out to eat, planning and preparing ahead to create variety is a key strategy to cook healthy and appealing meals at home.
Eating the same things repeatedly is not appealing!
Some examples of how to achieve this are:
- Freeze small portions of crumbled bacon, cubed grilled chicken, shredded cheese, and caramelized onions. These flavorful ingredients can be used in quick and easy meals or on sandwiches without wasting food!
- Use small appliances to keep the method and variety of your meals more exciting.
- Monitor the triggers that have you reaching for fast food and cost you money every month.
The Right Tools for Cooking for Two
Using small appliances is a convenient way to prepare smaller portions with a minimum of fuss and cleanup, but they are not necessarily as fast as the larger appliances. Nonetheless, they are perfect tools when you are no longer cooking for a household.
This handy little appliance is quick to heat, a cinch to clean, and very versatile.
A short list of meals you can prepare in a panini press are:
Grilled chicken- the press makes quick and easy work of cooking chicken breasts!
Grilled cheese sandwiches- these classic sandwiches have been seeing a revival in restaurants and TV food shows. They are nutritious, delicious and quick to make. Try out endless combinations of breads, cheeses, and fixings! The fixings (remember those frozen bacon, grilled chicken and caramelized onions?) become even easier when you prepare them in advance!
Kabobs- these can be made with nearly any meat and vegetable- Grab your leftovers, skewer and grill them before they go to waste! What a great way to bring new life to leftovers!
Quesadillas- another winner in our house. Same methods to add ease and variety that will save you a trip to the drive thru!
A decent sized toaster oven is an investment, but purchasing the correct pans to use in your toaster oven creates versatility to your cooking that is second to none.
Here is a short list of what you can cook in a toaster oven with an eye to portion control:
Frozen biscuits- Even if it’s not the most nutritious choice, it’s still better than wasting the money on eating out.
Cookies- when you learn how to freeze cookie dough, popping a few pre-rolled balls in the toaster oven can be a sanity and mood saver and there is no waste! Add in the ease of cleanup and being able to make just the small portions you want, and you’ve got a winner.
Meatloaf- with the correct pans, you can make a meatloaf for two! And that’s just one of the main dishes your toaster oven can do for you.
A Tip and a Trick
I just want to say again that the correct tools will save you a lot of work and money. Check out these pans for the toaster oven. TheSix Piece Personal Size Baking Pan Sets comes with 2 Pizza Pans, a 8.5 inch by 6.5 inch Cookie Pan, a 8.5 inch by 6.5 inch Cooling Rack, a 8.5 inch by 6.5 inch Broil Pan, and a 8.5 inch by 6.5 inch Fat-A-Way Bake Pan.
Have you noticed that on most large recipe website, there is a feature that allows you to “scale” a recipe? You can change the servings from 4 to 2 and automatically convert the recipes for just the size you need! A lot of scaled-down recipes that use the oven can be converted to use the toaster oven.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Focusing on feeding yourself well takes some practice. I strive to provide you with actionable tips that you can implement immediately to help you on your new course! Whether smaller meals, avoiding the
Use these actionable tips and implement them immediately to help you on your new course! Whether smaller meals, avoiding the
Whether learnng how to prepare flavorful smaller meals, avoiding the drive-thru, or preparing ingredients in advance, any small step is a step in the right direction.
As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, I will always answer or help you find an answer!