How To Keep Healthy Eating Simple
Confessions from a non-foodie Dietitian on easy meal plans
Sometimes, Food is JUST Food
When you look at food through the eyes of a person who calls them self a “foodie”, there is often excitement and emotion tied to the food. There has been thought and effort in the planning of that food. That person is hopefully very excited for the food in front of them. And that is great!
But not all of us look at food in that same way.
Now don’t get me wrong, do I love good food? Yes.
Do I enjoy many different flavors and enjoy trying new foods? Absolutely.
Do I plan my meals and snacks ahead of time and make sure I have lots of food around me that I enjoy? Yes.
Didn’t I go to school for 5 years just to learn about food and how it affects the body? Absolutely, and I continue to learn!
So aren’t I a foodie too? No. Not in my eyes. I still wouldn’t call myself a foodie.
I know that I am not the only person who wishes eating food that fills me up and makes me feel good could just be a little more simple.
Maybe it is the fact that I love a busy schedule. I jam-pack my days with things to do and fun to be had. And cooking usually doesn’t make the cut. I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time cooking elaborate meals. I struggle going to upscale restaurants because I always leave hungry or feel like I spent too much money. I get annoyed taking the time and effort to go through cookbooks because it feels like work to me.
I am just a hungry person who needs to eat. And sometimes, food doesn’t have to be the right thing or the tastiest thing. Sometimes, FOOD IS JUST FOOD.
Tips for keeping meal planning simple
1. Embrace leftovers! Cook once, eat 2-4 times. Whether it is a large pot of chili or just bulk amounts of simple ingredients, make more than you need. Then portion that extra food into smaller portions for the freezer or upcoming meals before you sit down to eat. Some of my favorite items to batch cook this way are: soups, chili, rice, meat, tofu, and roasted veggies.
2. Change it up. I like to keep seasoning mixes and flavorful sauces handy for when those leftovers start to feel boring. This way I can re-purpose them into something that feels totally different. For example, my baked chicken can be made into a Mexican inspired rice bowl by adding salsa, cheese, black beans, and roasted peppers. Or, it can be kept simple topped with honey mustard and served with rice and veggies. My current favorite flavors are spicy salsa, “everything but the bagel spice“, salt-free Greek seasoning, and spicy barbecue sauce.
3. Keep simple or prepared foods around. There will be times when life happens and you just run out of time or pre-planned food. In those moments, I fall back on my simple go-to meals. These are the meals that I can make without any planning or prep work, because the ingredients are always in my house.
Simple meal options with easy to stock foods:
- Eggs on toast with a piece of fruit – To spice this one up, I will add salsa to my eggs or I will use a spread like hummus or guacamole on my toast.
- Quick-cooking rice, frozen vegetable mix, and a frozen black bean burger patty or edamame beans.
- Canned low-sodium soup, that I can add lentils or frozen vegetables to when I heat up for some extra oomph.
- Canned pasta sauce, beans or meat (if you have some thawed), shredded or frozen vegetables and pasta noodles.
If nothing else, on the way home after a long day, I will quickly stop at the grocery store to buy a roasted chicken, fresh dinner rolls, and a bagged salad to make a quick and healthy dinner.
Try making a list of your top 3-5 go to meals using items that are always in the house!
Need some additional help for meal planning for busy weekdays?
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Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating & Sports Nutrition
Fitness enthusiast and lover of all things food, Jana is passionate about helping her clients improve their relationship with food and their body. She is a strong, motivational leader. Jana also offers the balance of a warm, supportive coaching style to nudge her clients from their comfort zone while feeling safe and supported. She specializes in mental health, eating disorders, body image and sports nutrition.