I invited my friend and colleague, April, from ThisRDEats Blog to post on how she creates a menu for mealtime success. April has a great planner she uses to keep her weeks organized with healthy and balanced meals.
Hello, this is April Graff from ThisRDEats.wordpress.com. Like Jen, I am a registered dietitian dedicated to helping people enjoy good food and nutrition. I am excited to be a guest this week and visit Jen’s blogosphere!
If I had to choose one aspect of my job as a supermarket dietitian that I am the most passionate about, it is, without a doubt, menu planning. A healthy diet and lifestyle become much more difficult when you are left to the whims of busy schedules, drive thru lanes and convenience foods. So each week I plan out the meals for my family (me, husband and my two children ages 2 and 4).
As a dietitian, people are always curious as to what I feed my family (no, we don’t have tofu and green smoothies every day). When I dutifully recite my menu for the week, many people are surprised when I list a beef dish among those that made the cut. “You mean you eat beef?” they ask. At which point I take advantage of the education lesson and teach them about how lean beef can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
If you are one of those individuals avoiding “red meat”, then read on. I’m about to blow down the barriers to beef!
I am always amused by recipes claiming to be healthier because they use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Take for example an article I was reading that told readers to use ground turkey instead of ground beef for sloppy joes. The health benefits (less saturated fat and calories) are only true if you are using extra-lean ground turkey instead of a fattier beef option. Much ground turkey is 85/20 (meaning 85% protein, 20% fat). Plus, beef offers necessary nutrients including iron, zinc and B vitamins. So, to make over your next recipe, using a lean meat like a 93/7 ground beef will cut the fat and calories while adding a host of nutrients to keep you at your best.
Also, a recent study demonstrated that as part of a heart-healthy diet, lean cuts of beef helped lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10 percent. Changes in the breeding and feeding of steers have led to beef now being 34 percent lower in total fat and 17 percent lower in saturated fat than previously thought. They key to including red meat into your diet is to choose lean cuts.
There are 29 lean cuts of beef including top sirlion, T-bone and 95%-lean ground beef. To meet lean criteria, a 3-ounce serving must have less than 10 grams total fat, less than 4.5 grams saturated fat and less than 95 mg cholesterol. As part of a lifestyle rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans, lean beef can be an effective way to reduce the risk of heart disease at 150 calories per 3-ounce serving.
One of my favorite, go-to meals is stir-fry. It has everything that a busy mother-of-two and dietitian needs in a recipe.
It is quick (total cook time is 20 minutes), loaded with lean protein and vegetables and most of all, is DELICIOUS! Stir-fries are a great way to use up those random leftover vegetables in your fridge. The other day I made up a delicious Mongolian Beef recipe that was both sweet and spicy and was a hit with everyone.
All you need:
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 lb lean steak, cut into bite-sized pieces (sirloin, flank or round steak)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths
- 4 cups diced vegetables (peppers, carrots, celery, mushrooms)
All you need:
- In a large bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients. Add the steak and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together 4 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar and water. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add seasoned beef, cooking for 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Push the beef to the outer edges of your pan.
- Add cut vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the sauce mixture and stir to combine.
*Great served over cooked brown rice.
Thanks to April at ThisRDEats for this great post!! Be sure to visit her blog for more great ideas.