All Recipes How to Add Flavor to Healthy Meal Planning | ShesGotFlavor

Published on January 11th, 2015 | by utokia

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A Few Tips on How to Add Flavor to Healthy Meal Planning

What is the number 1 New Year’s Resolution?  Yep you got it to either lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle!  My husband and I have been on a fitness journey since September of 2014 to lose 20 pounds between us. While exercise is extremely important in reaching our goals, so is eating healthy. I was willing to over haul my daily diet but I am not willing to give up on the flavor. One of the easiest ways to eat healthier without it being too stressful is to meal plan. Meal planning not only helps you choose better food options it also takes the stress out of “What’s for dinner tonight?” for the entire family. Ya’ll know those McDonald’s and Burger King nights when you only have 30 minutes to get the kids home, changed into their team uniforms and to practice on time! Well meal planning removes McDonald’s and Burger King, the kids eat a healthy meal and you keep the money you would have spent in a fast food restaurant! BAM!!

What is meal planning you ask? Well it is simple, it is you cooking food in bulk and storing it in separate containers the size of individual meals or family size meals. You would then pull the containers out of the refrigerator and heat in a microwave whenever you are ready.

Some of the most popular healthy meal planning dishes include fish, chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and some type of green veggie. I thought umm ok no problem, I can meal plan and I can choose healthy foods. BUT again there is that small issue of flavor and the variety thereof. My food has to taste good and I CANNOT eat the same dang thing every day for a week!

So I came up with a few tips below on how to flavor up healthy meal planning. It does consist of a few not so healthy items; however, a little naughty love atop my healthy won’t hurt us as long as we are also exercising consistently. With that said, my suggestions do not mean you should over indulge, for example, I recommend no more than 1 – 2 tbsp. of sauce per 4-6 oz. of meat/fish. This worked because hubby and I have not only reached our goal of losing 20 pounds together but we have surpassed it and lost 37 pounds together. We are so pleased with these results that we are continuing our journey to see where it takes us.

TIPS: Marinade, Season, Top & Add

  1. MARINADE your meat/fish with different marinades to achieve a unique flavor profile with every meal. You can still bake/grill/pan sear in the same baking dish/pan. 
  2. Use different spice blends to SEASON your meat/fish prior to cooking to achieve different flavor profiles with every meal.  You can still bake/grill/pan sear in the same baking dish/pan. 
  3. Make several different sauces and store in containers in the refrigerator so you can TOP your meat/fish before warming the dish up in the microwave to give it a different taste with every meal. 
  4. ADD coconut milk, beans or raisins to your brown rice as you cook it to change up the flavor profile with every meal.

BELOW ARE HELPFUL RECIPES TO HELP YOU EXECUTE THE ABOVE TIPS WHILE HEALTHY MEAL PLANNING:

SAUCES:

ALFREDO SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus optional ¼ cup parmigiano reggiano cheese)
¼ cup chicken stock
*if sauce doesn’t thicken add 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 4 tsp. water

READY, SET GO:

  1. Add butter to skillet pan over medium heat
  2. Once butter has melted, add heavy whipping cream, parmesan (and optional parmigiano reggiano) cheeses and chicken broth
  3. Turn heat up to medium high and whisk until sauce thickens and bubbles, remove from heat and allow to stand 5 – 10 minutes or until set
  4. *add corn starch mixture if it isn’t thick enough

BARBQUE SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
½ stick unsalted butter
1 cup ketchup (I use Heinz)
¼ cup Country Dijon mustard
¼ cup honey
¾ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper

READY, SET GO:

  1. Add butter to skillet over medium heat
  2. Once butter has melted, add ketchup, mustard, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and ground black pepper
  3. Turn heat up to medium high and whisk until sauce thickens and bubbles, remove from heat and allow to stand 5- 10 minutes or until set

CURRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
2-4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2-3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup sherry cooking wine
4-6 tbsp. curry powder
1-2 tbsp. Sea Salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. granulated garlic
2-4 tbsp. dried thyme
1-2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tbsp. corn starch + 1 tbsp. water mixed together

READY, SET GO:

  1. Add butter to skillet over medium heat
  2. Once butter has melted, add heavy whipping cream, sherry cooking wine, curry powder, sea salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, dried thyme, ground ginger and corn starch mixture
  3. Turn heat up to medium high and whisk until sauce thickens and bubbles, remove from heat and allow to stand 5 – 8 minutes or until set

MARINADES:

DIJON MUSTARD LIME MARINADE INGREDIENTS:
1 tbsp. country Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper

READY, SET GO:

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and then pour all over meat/fish, allow to marinate for at 30 minutes and up to 24 hours (24 hours will produce best flavor concentration
  2. Place meat/fish in oven or on grill and enjoy

SWEET AND SASSY MARINADE INGREDIENTS:
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 tsp. powdered cloves

READY, SET GO:

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and then pour all over meat/fish, allow to marinate for at 30 minutes and up to 24 hours (24 hours will produce best flavor concentration
  2. Place meat/fish in oven or on grill and enjoy

SPICES:

CHIPOLTE FIRE INGREDIENTS:
4-6 tbsp. chipotle chili powder
2-4 tbsp. sea salt
1-2 tbsp. ground black pepper
1-2 tsp. cumin
4-6 tbsp. dried thyme
4-6 tbsp. dried oregano

READY, SET GO:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then season your meat/fish or veggie
  2. Cook per recipe instructions

ITALIAN BLEND INGREDIENTS:
4-6 tbsp. sea salt
2-4 tbsp. ground black pepper
2-4 tbsp. granulated garlic
4-6 tbsp. dried thyme
4-6 tbsp. dried rosemary
4-6 tbsp. dried oregano
1-2 tbsp. dried basil

READY, SET GO:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then season your meat/fish or veggie
  2. Cook per recipe instructions

LEMON PEPPER RUSH INGREDIENTS:
4-6 tbsp. lemon pepper
2-4 tbsp. sea salt
2-4 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. granulated onion
1 tsp. ground celery seed

READY, SET GO:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then season your meat/fish or veggie
  2. Cook per recipe instructions

FLAVOR UP YOUR BROWN RICE WITH COCONUT MILK, BEANS OR RAISINS

RED KIDNEY BEANS & BROWN RICE INGREDIENTS (you can also use black beans):
1 lb. can of red kidney beans (or black beans)
¼ cup coconut milk
1 cup brown rice – 2 ¾ cups water
2-3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. sea salt (+ 2 tsp. after cooked)
Unsalted Butter (to taste after rice is cooked)

READY, SET, GO:

  1. Add water to medium sauce pan over high heat and allow to heat until boiling
  2. Add rice, beans, sea salt, unsalted butter and stir gently, turn heat down to medium and cover with a top
  3. Allow to cook covered 20 – 25 minutes (uncover and stir at least once) or until most liquid is absorbed and rice is fully cooked
  4. After cooked, add sea salt and butter and stir gently

RAISINS & BROWN RICE INGREDIENTS:
1 cup brown rice
2 ¾ cups water
1 cup raisins
¼ cup coconut milk
2-3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. unsalted butter (after rice is cooked)

READY, SET, GO:

  1. Add water to medium sauce pan over high heat and allow to heat until boiling
  2. Add rice, sea salt, unsalted butter and stir gently, turn heat down to medium and cover with a top
  3. Allow to cook covered 20 – 25 minutes (uncover and stir at least once) or until most liquid is absorbed, add the raisins and another ¼ cup of water, cover and allow to cook an additional 15 minutes or until rice is done and liquid is absorbed
  4. After cooked, add butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and stir gently

GRILLED MEAT/FISH INGREDIENTS:
Meat/Fish
Spice blend
3-4 tbsp. equal mixture of extra virgin olive oil and canola oil

READY, SET, GO:

  1. Preheat indoor grill pan or outdoor grill over medium heat
  2. Add oil to indoor grill pan or if outdoors lay aluminum foil and add oil to it
  3. Clean meat/fish, pat dry, season and grill about 8-10 minutes on each side for fish and 10 – 15 minutes on each side for meat or until fully cooked, flip periodically for even cooking and to prevent burning

BAKED MEAT/FISH INGREDIENTS:
Meat/Fish
Spice blend
3-4 tbsp. equal mixture of extra virgin olive oil and canola oil

READY, SET, GO:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Add oil to a baking dish or aluminum pan
  3. Clean meat/fish, pat dry, season and bake about 10 – 20 minutes on each side for fish and 25 – 40 minutes on each side for meat or until fully cooked

Utokia ~
Sizzle Sizzle Baby

 

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About the Author

My name is Utokia Langley. I come from a family of great cooks, none of them professional chefs but trust me some of the best flavors came from the kitchens in my family! Flavor has always been a priority with any meal, whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or just a snack.



2 Responses to A Few Tips on How to Add Flavor to Healthy Meal Planning

  1. Claire says:

    I love your idea! I never thought of doing that. I always cook them before serving. Having them done in batches and pre-planned for the week makes it much easier and the kids and hubby can heat the containers up themselves even if I can’t get home in time. Thanks for this!

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