Back to the fall routine with meatless meal ideas Courtney Masey
As summer comes to an end, now is the time to prepare for getting back into a fall routine. You’ve likely heard many times how important meal planning can be when it comes to healthy eating. Planning ahead and organizing meals makes grocery shopping and meal preparation much easier, especially if you’re challenged with a busy week.
Think about what works for you when it comes to your routine and then introduce more small changes gradually. For example: meal prep on days that you have more time; when you can, make extra food at suppertime to have on hand for the next day or to use in another meal later in the week. Some foods freeze well, so take advantage of this by freezing extra soup, lasagna, homemade sauces, cut-up vegetables or shredded cheese. Keep healthy foods on hand, like pre-cut vegetables, fruits, hard-boiled eggs or trail mix for quick snacks or to add to a meal.
Challenge yourself to include more meatless meals in your routine this fall. Meat alternatives have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Even if you are not following a vegetarian diet, including a couple meatless meals each week could benefit your health. Meat alternatives not only contain protein but some are high in fibre and many are low in saturated fat. They are also more economical and environmentally friendly.
Start by picking a meat alternative that you haven’t tried or would like to try in a new way. Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a versatile choice. Soft tofu is great in smoothies, dips and dressings and firm/extra firm can be used in casseroles, stir-fry, on the grill or in soups. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is made from soybeans and can be used as meat substitute in almost any recipe that calls for ground beef/turkey. Try it for tacos, meatloaf or chili. You can even cook a double batch of TVP and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze for later.
Tempeh, which is made of fermented soy beans, is another meat alternative. Try Tempeh steamed, marinated, grilled or even crumbled into casseroles or soups, to add a nutty flavour and source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh takes on whatever flavour it’s cooked with.
More meatless meal ideas for busy weekdays
• Whole grain pasta salad – add veggies, beans/chickpeas and a simple vinaigrette. (Try canned No Salt Added or new PC Blue Menu frozen kidney beans or chickpeas that are ready in minutes!)
• Stir-fry – Steam frozen mixed vegetables and serve over brown rice, topped with marinated tofu.
• BLT Sandwich – Use already-marinated PC Blue Menu Bacon Maple Flavour Tempeh s strips.
• Lasagna – Prepare with lentils and TVP instead of ground beef. Make ahead and cut into individual servings to store in the freezer.
• Vegetarian Chili – Try using TVP, lentils, beans, and even crumbled tofu or tempeh along with an abundance of vegetables. Make a large batch and freeze in individual bags.
Drop by my dietitian booth at the Truro Atlantic Superstore on Sept. 6, 2 to 5 p.m. to help ring in the new school year. Don’t miss the chance to taste samples of easy recipes using PC Blue Menu products.
Have a nutrition question? Want to book a free appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at email@example.com.