Each week, to help our readers with their meal planning, we invite an FBC member to put together a weekly meal plan based on recipes from their blog with a week’s worth of dinners from Sunday to Saturday. We include a printable shopping list so you can get everything you need and be ready to cook. And you’ll get introduced to some new recipes and meet some great new Canadian food blogs.
Today we meet Jennifer from Ricotta and Radishes and she's got seven colourful and healthy dinner ideas and some tips on planning and food prep.
Coming up with nutritious meals that you can feel good about eating is a challenge for nearly everyone. One strategy that can help make healthy eating easier is to concentrate on whole, mostly plant-based foods. From there, it helps to keep the cooking techniques quick and simple and to build flavours using fresh herbs, spices and international ingredients. A bit of planning and food prep are the only skills you need to master when it comes to healthy home cooking because the actual cooking part is easy! This meal plan includes a little bit of everything, from lightened-up comfort foods to grill-friendly recipes to enjoy while the weather still allows.
Sunday is a great day to focus on meal prep for the week. Cooking a few batches of staple ingredients like grains (quinoa, brown rice), proteins (meat, poultry, tofu, hard-boiled eggs) and vegetables (sweet potatoes, beets, winter squash), as well as prepping fresh ingredients like lettuce and chopped veggies, is extremely helpful in making sure you have nutritious, balanced meals to enjoy each day of the week.
When you’re making this grilled lemon chicken quinoa bowl, cook a few extra chicken breasts and save them for Wednesday’s salad.
Whether or not you participate in Meatless Mondays, you’ll love this Middle Eastern-inspired Israeli couscous salad. Chickpeas are the star of this dish, as are the grilled vegetables, but it’s the creamy tahini dressing that really takes it over the top in the flavour department. Feel free to sub in leftover quinoa from Sunday’s meal in lieu of the Israeli couscous.
Early fall always has us turning to our old friend butternut squash. If your experience with the vegetable has been restricted to Thanksgiving side dishes, there’s no better time than now to try it out as a taco filling! Its slightly sweet, mild flavour and creamy texture pairs really well with the black beans for a substantial vegetarian taco. Pile on your favourite toppings like salsa, crunchy lettuce and Greek yogurt and dig in.
Summer is long gone, but that doesn’t mean we have to bid warm-weather fruits and vegetables goodbye just yet! In fact, peaches are in season in Ontario well into September. Corn is also ripe for the picking right now, making this salad the perfect main course for early fall. This dish is also the perfect opportunity to use up any extra chicken leftover from Sunday’s lemon chicken quinoa bowl.
As the week progresses and our lives get busier, most of us start to lose track of our good intentions set earlier in the week. That’s why I like to focus on easy comfort foods as the week comes to a close. This vegetarian chili is super simple to throw together and tastes great thanks to the chunky vegetables, tomato-based sauce and rich spices. Beans are the star of the show rather than ground beef, which lightens up this classic comfort food considerably while adding extra fibre, vitamins and minerals.
TGIF! As soon as Friday rolls around, relaxing with a satisfying but still fairly healthy meal is number one on my to-do list. If you still have peaches leftover from Wednesday’s salad, why not put them to work in a stick-to-your-ribs grilled cheese sandwich? Yes, bread and cheese can have a place in a healthy diet!
If you’re curious about tofu but unsure how to cook it, this recipe is for you! It’s so simple and requires very little hands-on time. Make it a full meal by slicing the cooked tofu into strips and throwing them on top of a salad or in a wrap (like the whole grain tortillas from Tuesday’s dinner). You can even serve it over cooked quinoa or rice noodles along with some soy sauce and sriracha for added flavour.
Menu Plan Shopping List
Don’t forget to grab your downloadable shopping list (FBC Meal Plan - Ricotta & Radishes) that includes all your pantry staples as well as fresh foods and the more unique ingredients!
More Meal Planning Tips and Ideas
Jennifer Andrews has always been passionate about food and cooking, but it was during her master’s degree in nutrition that she fell in love with creating delicious, satisfying recipes that also happen to be good for you. The biggest thing she learned was that healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. So many foods, such as whole plant ingredients, lean proteins and dairy products like Greek yogurt and real cheeses, are rich in energy and nutrients and don’t need a lot of cooking or processing to be healthy and enjoyable. Through her blog, Ricotta & Radishes, she provides simple, nutritious recipe ideas to inspire readers to cook more meals at home. Many of her recipes are vegetarian, not because she don’t eat meat (she does), but because there are so many nutritious meatless dishes and cuisines out there waiting to be explored.
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