Monday, February 14, 2011

MPM # 41 - A Guide to Good Eating!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sure many of you are preparing yummy meals for your beloved partner and family… We did our celebration yesterday (more or less). Although we don’t usually make a big deal, my wonderful husband (who claims to think Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark Holiday) bought me a beautiful card anyway. So I made him one of his favourite desserts! I’ll post that recipe on Thursday…

This week is a simple menu and this coming weekend is a LONG weekend for some of us Canadians (It is “Family Day” in Alberta where I live). I’m trying something new this week with the Layered Meatball Casserole, but I’m substituting homemade meatballs for ready made. I don’t like buying ‘pre-made’ food when I can help it. Yes, I’m sure it makes things a little more convenient, but with convenience comes a price… A box of 30 meatballs was around $12 (on sale) at my local grocery market. Buying a little more than a pound of extra lean ground beef from the same store was $5 (it would have been more like $4 from our Butcher – but I didn’t make that trip on Saturday). Also, if you read the Nutrition Label, I’m sure it will frighten you too… The sodium content in most prepared foods is up to three times what the homemade equivalent is.

The one thing I learned early on in my life is the importance of menu planning when it comes to maintaining healthy eating habits. When you come home tired, fed up and hungry (from school or work, etc) it is very easy to toss in a frozen pizza or cook up a box of Kraft Dinner and scarf a cold hot dog or two. I’m not perfect but let me show you an example.

My recipe for “Gramma’s Homemade Mac & Cheese” breaks down nutritionally like this: 1 serving (about ¾ of a cup) has 371 calories and 768 mg of Sodium. “Healthy it up” by omitting the salt (flavor using other spices), using reduced fat cheese, skim milk and whole wheat pasta makes it 297 calories per serving and only 348 mg of sodium!

Comparatively, a similar sized portion of Kraft Dinner has 520 calories and 1200 mg of Sodium!

Most people need only 1200 mg of sodium EACH day. When you make “homemade” you have options – prepackaged food doesn’t give us those choices.

Makes you think, doesn't it???

Here is our menu for this week… (some will be updated later - I left for work and forgot the menu)... :)

February 14 to 20

Monday Crispy Baked Chicken & Corrie's Spanish rice
Tuesday Tuna Melts w/ veggies & dip
Wednesday Ravioli w Rose Sauce
Thursday Layered Meatball Bake
Friday Burgers & chips
Saturday Easy Hot wings & coyote fritters
Sunday Pulled Pork Roast

Want to learn more about healthy eating? Check out these fantastic links…

Canadian Government endorses Menu Planning

Print you own Food Guide

More Good Stuff from Health Canada

Choose My Plate

More good info from the US Dept. of Agriculture

For more links, tips & tricks of Menu Planning and so many more great menus, check out the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

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