One pan meals are my absolute favorite! Nothing is easier than doing all of the cooking in ONE pan or pot, it makes for the easiest clean up and perfect for busy moms needing to get dinner on the table with minimal attention (on the […]
Is “what’s for dinner?” a question you are often asked? Are your grocery bills higher than you would like them to be? Do you find yourself throwing out bad produce and expired goods? If yes, then you need to devise a plan, that’s right, A MEAL PLAN!
We have all different needs, different family sizes, different diets, different schedules, but the one thing we have in common, is that we need to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, how do we do that, you ask? I am going to break it down for you.
Find a planning tool.
Are you the old school type, you know, the type that prefers paper? Then grab a meal planning pad like this one from Amazon.
If you’re tech-saavy, then you can use Pinterest as your main planning base, to collect and sort your recipes for the week.
If you’re type-A, then you would LOVE this friendly binder to organize your recipes and make meal planning easier for you. It seems like a lot of work initially, but once it is all filled out, it will make the task of planning easier.
Pick a day to plan.
Now that you figured out HOW you are going to plan your meals, the next step is to figure out WHEN. So ask yourself this:
- Which day of the week do you go grocery shopping? Aim to have your plan completed before you go to the store. Example: I go to the stores on Monday, so by Sunday I will have my meal plan completed.
Narrow down what is important to you? Is it your diet, budget, ease, minimal food waste, etc.?
Once you figure out what is most important to you, you will use those factors when structuring your plan. I personally don’t like to waste food, so I try and think about which meals I can make with what I already have in my house first, then I will think of stuff I need to buy.
As a dietitian, I always have health in mind, so that kinda comes natural to me.
Budgeting has been a struggle for me lately. I set a specific amount I would like to spend each week. To stick to this budget, I look at the local weekly ads to see where I can find the cheapest stuff and plan meals based on sales. I also keep tally of how much I spend by writing it down on the white board on my fridge.
Being a mother to a toddler makes cooking a challenge at times, so ease is also an important factor for me. I need meals for all three of us, and ones that I can cook quickly. There are days when I have to prep early on and then cook a little later because I just don’t have the time to do it all at once.
We all have different schedules and different priorities, so we have to find what works for us as individuals, this is usually achieved by trial and error.
WHAT do you need to plan?
Do you work and bring breakfast and lunch with you on a daily basis? Do you stay at home and can eat leftovers the day after for lunch? Do you travel at work and need something on the go? Do you eat together as a family every night for dinner?
Sit down and figure out which meals you need to plan for. For me, the more I plan, the better I can keep within my budget.
I run a *FREE Meal Planning FaceBook Group, join me here for more meal planning tips and recipes.
As a breastfeeding mom, I had to eliminate dairy from my diet because my daughter was colicky and had bad spit up. A lot of people tend to mistaken dairy sensitivity with lactose intolerance. I am going to briefly explain the science. Lactose intolerance is […]
I was in Target the other day, and I came across Plum Organics chicken, quinoa and veggie meatballs. They were in the frozen section for kids, but they looked like they would be good in this leftover pasta and veggie dish I had at home. […]
As a dietitian and a mom, I get asked “what do you feed your daughter?” a lot. I’m going to call this the Kaylie method to feeding, why? Because it’s unique to Kaylie and what works for her may not work for your baby and that’s okay. Hopefully it does, but if it doesn’t then you can tweak it to fit your baby’s preferences!
Breastmilk or formula?
Yes, I breastfeed. She probably had 7 bottles in her life but that’s because I stay at home. I am not bashing anyone or their choices. Again, you do what works for you and this is what worked for us. I set small goals and a plan. If I can’t breastfeed then I’ll pump, if I can’t pump then I’ll give formula. Breastfeeding was challenging to say the least but it did get easier.
When did I introduce solids?
I started introducing solids at 6months, per AAP recommendations (see here). Now the next question, baby led weaning (BLW) or traditional??
I actually went the traditional route. I researched day and night and really wanted to do BLW. Her first food was avocado and I offered it in strips (true BLW style) and I freaked out. I had this overwhelming feeling of anxiety and I just couldn’t do it. So I mashed it and mashed it and mashed it and added some breastmilk. And right there, in that moment I said screw this! I’m doing purees!! After working with dysphasia patients for the past 3 years, I couldn’t handle the fear of choking. There was a study published not too long after I started introducing foods regarding BLW and the risk of choking, you can check it out here.
Did I make my own food?
You betcha. But again, this is what worked for us. Sure, at times we had pre-made stuff because let’s be real, life happens. Did I use organic? I try to 99% of the time, but again, life happens. Is this ideal for everyone? No, that’s why it’s the Kaylie method, it’s ideal for her.
My arsenal of tools include:
- Party bullet (no judging), I was given this as a bridal shower gift (thanks, Kel!) and it worked wonderfully in making purees. You really don’t need any fancy tools, a blender, magic bullet, immersion blender, or food processor will all work.
- Metal steamer basket
- Stainless steel pan and pot (my preference)
- Nuby masher
- Silicone tray with lid (ice cube trays will suffice)
- Freezer bags (breastmilk storage bags could work too)
First foods included:
- sweet potato
- oatmeal (see below)
- butternut squash
Why did I give oatmeal and not rice cereal?
Simple. Arsenic. (See here and here) After doing my research, this is what I felt was best. The baby oatmeal provided her with iron and other nutrients that are minimal in breastmilk. I didn’t want to give her a supplement and she wasn’t eating meats/eggs just yet so I felt this was best choice for her. Since I was all about the theory behind BLW, I didn’t want Kaylie on purees for too long, so I got creative.
Next step: mashed food
I started incorporating mashed food around 7 months. I had a lot of frozen purees and needed a way to re-purpose them. I didn’t want to give Kaylie purée meats because lets be real, that’s gross. So, I boiled chicken legs and salmon (not together, separate meals) and added pieces of the boiled meat/fish to a pureed vegetable and added cooked quinoa for added texture and nutrition! Then mashed it up using the Nuby masher.
I introduced all of the allergens, except dairy, as early as possible. My husband was out of town a lot for work, so I planned these introductions when he was around, just in case. I didn’t introduce as early as I wanted to but before a year was my goal. She has had eggs, mashed, chopped, scrambled, banana egg pancakes and in recipes. She had peanut, almond, cashew, pecan butter all individually mixed in oatmeal, banana, and apples. She had shrimp, lobster, and salmon. She had tofu and edamame. She had corn and wheat. I have yet to introduce dairy due to her sensitivity via breastmilk, but I plan on introducing it as she starts to tolerate it more (through breastmilk).
Preparation and storage
The freezer has become my best friend. I prepare enough food for a few days if not weeks and freeze it! This helps me increase variety in Kaylie’s diet without being a short order cook. I freeze (all cooked) meatballs, pasta, beans, meat crumbles, mashed potatoes, eggplant, and even meat from chicken legs. I also keep frozen fruit like watermelon sticks and banana for teething!
Remember, EVERY SINGLE BABY is different, what worked for Kaylie MAY or MAY NOT work for your baby, that is why this is the Kaylie Method. Feeding our babies is exciting and should be fun, ENJOY!
I LOVE pasta but pasta doesn’t love me! Pasta can be a part of a healthy balanced diet by having smaller portions and choosing whole grain varieties. On National Pasta Day, which was October 17th, 2016, I shared on Instagram and Facebook my dinner. I decided to forgo the whole grain pasta and sink my teeth into some SPAGHETTI SQUASH! It is such a great substitute for pasta. Don’t get me wrong, it is not pasta by any means, but it is delicious! I like eating it with marinara sauce, chili, or when I get creative, veggies and shrimp! See below for one of my creative recipes!
Roasted Garlic & Lemon Shrimp with Broccoli, Asparagus & Spaghetti Squash
1 medium size spaghetti squash- roasted (cut in half and seeds scooped out)
1 bag (10oz) thawed medium raw shrimp (tail removed and deveined)
1lb asparagus (cut up)
1/2 cup raw broccoli florets
1 head of garlic (roasted with olive oil, crushed red pepper and s&p)
2tbsp of olive oil (may need more)
1 medium lemon
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop seeds out and place it cut side down in a Pyrex dish and place in oven. Spaghetti squash has a pretty tough skin, microwaving it for a few minutes can make it easier to cut.
While the squash is roasting, make the garlic. First, cut the top off of a head of garlic and add some olive oil, salt & pep, and crushed red pepper and wrap it in aluminum foil and toss it in the oven!
The squash can take about 45minutes or so, use this time to prep the broccoli and asparagus then put both aside.
During the last 15 minutes until the squash is ready, take the garlic out of the oven. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the roasted garlic, spices and sauté the veggies. Once the veggies become slightly tender, add the shrimp. If you are like me, I like my veggies on the crunchy side, so I add my shrimp around the same time my veggies are cooked to my desired likeness.
Serve and enjoy!!
‘Tis the season for pumpkin! The stores are infested with pumpkin spice flavored EVERYTHING!! Pumpkin has become so trendy and synonymous with Fall. The leaves change and everything turns into a pumpkin! Are pumpkin flavored things healthy? Overall, no. Is pumpkin healthy? Absolutely! How can […]