Sunday, September 1, 2013

Planning is the Key to Success

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With the school year starting, it is time to get back in the swing of things. We have been taking it easy with camp, so this week will be our first real lunch-making week. I have stocked the cupboards and refrigerator and made a batch of pasta for the freezer. Making quick lunches during the week is all about the planning. If you keep your refrigerator, freezer and pantry stocked with some essential lunch basics, it is be much easier to put together quick easy lunches. I recommend to prepare what you can over the weekend... boil eggs, make mini-muffins, freeze a batch of pasta and cut up fruits and veggies. Preparation will make lunches and healthy snacks so much more fun!

Keep these items in your fridge:
  • Fresh fruit, apples, berries, pears, oranges, kiwi fruit, bananas or grapes
  • String cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nut butter and jam
  • Sliced deli meat (nitrate-free)
  • Yogurt
  • Dips, such as hummus, pesto or ranch dressing
  • Raw or cooked vegetables, including carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, string beans, sweet potatoes, squash, olives
 Keep these items in your freezer:
  • Mini-muffins
  • Pre-made pasta*
  • Brown rice (I buy this frozen from Trader Joe's)
  • Turkey meatballs 
  • Pasta
  • Edamame, corn and peas
  • Turkey hot-dogs (nitrate-free)
  Keep these items in your pantry:

  • Whole grain sandwich bread (>3 grams fiber), tortillas or mini-bagels
  • Canned tuna
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pasta and brown rice (make ahead and freeze for ease)*
  • Whole grain crackers or pretzels
  • Baked organic corn chips
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts and dry fruit, including raisins, cranberries or mango slices
*How to freeze pasta for later
  1. Boil pasta (al dente) and drain in colander
  2. Lightly toss the pasta in olive oil, cooking spray or butter to prevent sticking
  3. Stir to cool thoroughly
  4. Bag it in small-sized freezer bags and freeze
  5. When you are ready to use it, thaw and reheat in the microwave on 50% power for approximately three to five minutes
  6. Enjoy!

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