“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Once a week, I am going to start sharing a tip, trick, or some interesting information about meal planning. I believe meal planning is critical to any long term and effective healthy living or weight loss goals. For me it was the single thing that finally made permanent weight loss achievable. The quote stood true, when I failed to plan, I failed, and I don’t want that to happen to others.
Additionally, I believe that meal planning is a skill that takes time to master and we can all use some help! When I first started meal planning it took up countless hours pouring over recipes, calculating nutritional info and/or points, and creating elaborate calendars. It was painful. Anything I can do to ease that pain for someone else is a win-win in my book.
Finally, I hope by sharing meal planning strategies, it will help you find a system that works for you. Whether it’s using our meal plans, scratching one into your weekly planner, or creating your own meal planning system – I hope this feature inspires you to start planning at least a few meals every week. It will save you time, money, and it truly will help you reach your weight loss and healthy living goals. So with that, on to this week’s tip!
Meal Planning Made Easy: Summer Sides Made Simple
As we talked about here before, sometimes side dishes can actually make meal planning even harder. Finding quick and easy side dishes, especially during hot summer months, is hard. To make things easier, consider adding some of these easy summer sides to your next meal.
- Grilled Corn: Probably my all time favorite summer side dish is grilled corn. You can either wrap it in foil or place in directly on the grill depending on how charred you like things. Delicious and only about 80 calories or 2 PP per serving.
- Grilled Vegetables: Similar to grilled corn, I love grilling vegetables in the summer months. For hearty vegetables, you can place them directly on the grill and for smaller veggies, consider using a grill basket or some foil. Mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, eggplant, broccoli, and even cauliflower are all delicious on the grill with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Grilled Potatoes: In the mood for baked potatoes but don’t want to turn on the oven. First pierce the potatoes and then microwave until just tender. Then wrap them in foil and throw them on the grill. The skin will crisp up and they’ll be ready in a quarter of the time since you microwaved them first.
- Bean Salads: Consider making bean based salad during hot summer months for a cool and fiber filled side dish. Black beans are a popular starting place but chickpeas, white beans, and pinto beans also make delicious salads with fresh greens and crunchy veggies.
- Corn Salads: Just like bean salads, corn salads are also a perfect summer side dish. Pair the corn with tomatoes, basil, and some balsamic for a simple salad everyone will love or add cilantro, red onion, jalapenos, and your favorite green for a southwestern version.
- Hearty Grain Salads: Like bean salads, grain salads are also a great way to add fiber and filling power to your side dish. Buy precooked grains from the salad bar to completely avoid the stove or use the simple microwaved versions instead. Brown rice, quinoa, farro, and couscous all make great options.
- Rice noodles: Rice noodles don’t need any heat to cook. They are just soaked in water until tender making them the perfect no cook side. Add your favorite dressing and some chopped veggies and your side dish is ready.
- Fresh fruit: Lastly fresh fruit makes a perfect summer side dish in my opinion. having barbecue? Serve watermelon on the side. Craving Asian? Serve some pineapple on the side. Making something on the grill? Consider fresh berries. If you want things a bit more savory, drizzle the fruit with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Love the idea of meal planning but don’t want to do all the work? Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen.
Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:
- Slow Cooker Korean Beef Tacos
- Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Tomato Pasta
- Grilled Citrus Chicken Drumsticks
- Overnight Chocolate Banana Oats
- Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes (low carb plan)
- Pan Seared Pork Chops
- Blackened Tilapia
- Citrus Quinoa Salad (vegetarian plan)
- Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Baked Ranch Fries
- Grilled Pizzas
- Cauliflower Crust Pizza (low carb plan)
- & more
Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.