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Thread: Simple Meal Planning

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Simple Meal Planning

    I feel like we have breakfast and lunch down to a science, but not supper.
    Breakfast: We have certain things available and eat some combination of them: toasted naan, toasted bread, cereal, oatmeal, whole fruit, hard-boiled eggs, nut butter.
    Lunch: I have a salad and DH gets lunch at work. I am someone who can eat the same thing for lunch every day, but DH doesn't like to do this. He usually buys something in the cafeteria, although sometimes he brings a sandwich.
    I would like to come up with a supper array similar to breakfast that we can just easily "graze," if nobody is in the mood for ambitious meal preparation. I realize it could be the very same foods as breakfast, but DH needs more variety than I do. Here is what I have so far: hommus, corn chips, all kinds of nuts, cheese, avocado (we like the "Wholly Avocado" cups), canned salmon or sardines or mackerel, olives, healthy crackers, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, artichoke hearts. I am obviously looking for fairly healthy options. Any other suggestions to add to the lineup? Does anyone else do this kind of supper successfully and avoid just snacking on crap?

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    Fresh veggies and dips - I like hummus, which has made your list, but dh likes French onion or ranch. Chips with salsa can be filling yet light.

    Are you wanting these suggestions instead of cooking?

    Prepared salads can be ready in the fridge, and then topped with an easy protein for dinner fare. Salmon or chicken breast come to mind - perhaps extras from when you do cook, and served cold in the salad?

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Interesting that you want to 'graze'. I can't graze as I eat too much.

    Even as one person, I want a sit-down with flatware and napkin for each meal. That said, I prepare meals where I ensure that there is a mix of a protein, a starch and lots of veggies and fruit. I make regular sized dishes of lasagna or pizza or chicken drumsticks and freeze portions. Easy to defrost and reheat adding veggies on hand and a starch if needed.

    That is how I keep it simple.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    It looks like a subtext to your dinner-grazing choices is spontaneity -- most of the foods you chose can hold quite a while before consumption. Is that correct?

    If variety is desirable but spontaneity is not necessary, I could see expanding the dinner selection to building-block proteins like quality ground beef, cooked chunks of chicken, and hardboiled eggs; and perhaps the availability of portions of sauces (like sun-dried tomato/olive oil, a tapenade, or salsa; a jar might not last as long as it takes to use up so pre-portion them; many freeze OK). These are more "meal" than "grazing snack" but it might be an option if grazing feels unsatisfying.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Lmerullo: Yes that's right, grazing instead of cooking. Salads are good on occasion, but DH isn't a big fan of salads. I could almost live on salads.
    Razz: DH does do some batch cooking of things like soups and stews and spaghetti sauce that can be reheated for an easy dinner. I think you make a good point that there is value to a sit-down meal together, even if it's more of a graze. Let's say tapas for dinner.
    Steve: Yes, I want it all - healthy, easy, lasts a long time! I like the idea of adding something like tapenades to the lineup. We bought a rotisserie chicken today which I think fits well into the mix. We don't buy them often because we never see any on offer that are humanely raised. Hopefully we'll see that in the future. I remember talking about the lack of humanely sourced meats on an earlier incarnation of the Forum, and now I have a few options right at my regular grocery store, so there is progress.

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    Maybe sundried tomatoes, or roasted red peppers in jars.

    I mean with some turning on the oven: there are things that can be prepared ahead, like brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc. and kept for several days. Salads aren't just green salads but lentil salads, qunoia, etc.. Soups are always useful to make once and use for several days. Tacos are easy. I find organic rotisserie chickens at whole foods, I hate that place, but they have some decent products.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    We bought a rotisserie chicken today which I think fits well into the mix. We don't buy them often because we never see any on offer that are humanely raised. Hopefully we'll see that in the future.
    Realizing that the trip to pick one up would be quite long (1000+ miles), my food co-op offers rotisserie chickens daily, one of the same brands sold in the refrigerated cases. Do any food co-ops or natural food stores near you have them (I don't know how far markets like Fresh Thyme or Sprouts radiate from their original locations)?
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    I cook dinner every few days. I always make enough to last at least 2 days. Typical meat, potatoes or rice and vegetables. I also make homemade spaghetti sauce and rotate between 5 casseroles.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I tend to batch cook, and meal prep is a lot easier when you're only eating one meal a day. I haven't yet managed to buy the correct amount of groceries; I always want to cover any contingency.

    If I were going to snack, I'd go for charcuterie, cheese, and pickled/fermented vegetables. Berries and ricotta or mascarpone, with cream. Maybe melon.

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    We have occasional cheese, pickle, salmon or herring and hearty bread or cracker plates, sometimes accompanied by chutney (I make my own) or mustards. We also have homemade soups in the freezer.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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