Many people assume that all dietitians must be foodies… therefore, many believe that I am a foodie. But, I am not a foodie. A “foodie” is one that has an avid interest in the latest food fads and trends (as defined by the on-line Merriam-Webster dictionary). Using this definition, I am not a foodie. However, I do love food. I love the fact that it gives my body fuel for my everyday life and activities. I love sharing meals with others. I love that food is a way we care for ourselves and others. I love the conversations that happen at mealtimes. I love teaching others about nourishing their bodies. But… most importantly, I love keeping foods and meals SIMPLE and TASTY.
Having the time and making time to meal prep and plan meals can be just as hard for me, as it is for many that I work with. Since time is a precious commodity that there doesn’t seem to be enough of – I signed my family up for a meal delivery service about 3-years ago. YES, we started using one of the many meal delivery services (examples include, but not limited to: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Dinnerly, Home Chef, etc.). Even with more time at home recently… thanks to the pandemic… we have continued to use our meal delivery service because it not only helps us fix foods we enjoy, but it meets our needs outside of that mealtime. It’s a tool that enables us to be mindful and intentional with our meals as a family.
Why I enjoy using a meal delivery service:
TIME. It remains important to us. I enjoy the meal delivery service we use because it helps me prepare a meal from start to finish with food on the table in about 30-minutes. It helps me know exactly how much time dinner will take and exactly when it will be on the table.
VARIETY. We have a small family. Utilizing a meal delivery service allows us to have a variety of meats, starches, fruits, and veggies available to us weekly vs. the same few items or a couple of meals each week.
FOOD WASTE. It’s always been important to me. However, trying to keep a refrigerator stocked with a variety of foods, balancing our after-school and extracurricular activities, homework, and managing two FT-careers… we had a lot more food waste than I realized because our menus and dinner plans are always changing at the last minute. Often, would not get all of our fresh produce consumed before it went bad. Using a meal delivery service has significantly reduced our food waste and that is something that makes me happy and satisfied.
FLAVOR. I have come to really appreciate that the reason my favorite foods are my favorite foods is because of the flavor. I’ve come to appreciate that flavor adds to the satisfaction of a meal instead of the volume or portion sizes of a meal filling me up.
With that being said, do you notice how the top 4-things I named about my meal planning and eating freshly prepared meals at home has nothing to do with specific foods? Nutrition is more than just about the food. To really enjoy your meals, don’t make menu planning and meal prep complicated – keep it simple. There are many, many other ways to achieve your food and nutrition goals at home without using a meal delivery service. This just happens to be the tool we have chosen to help support our simple, tasty, and health.
At the end of the day, that is also what my job is about -- helping others figure out how to simple, tasty health this in their own lives. I tell people all the time that we make nutrition a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Let’s figure out how to keep food and meal prep simple and tasty in your life.
Speaking of flavor, tricks I've learned eating meal delivery service recipes that make meal prep simple and tasty:
- Season as you prepare your food vs. seasoning food at the end of preparation. Season before cooking when the food is raw. Season again after it is cooked. Season as you add other ingredients/combine items during the cooking process. Seasonings should be incorporated and layered throughout the process of food prep. It truly makes a big difference.
- A little bit of oil, lemon or lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and/or vinegar (white wine, distilled, balsamic, etc.) goes a long way to dress a salad, marinate chicken or fish, coat vegetables before roasting, or pickle other vegetables in (radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.). These cabinet staples make for such a tasty dressing for fresh, cooked, roasted, or marinated foods. These basic and simple ingredients enhance the natural flavors of food, making them very tasty!
- Incorporate more nuts and seeds into your cooking – but more importantly, taking a couple of extra minutes and toasting the nuts or seeds further enhances the flavor. It only takes a couple of minutes to heat 1-2 Tbsp of oil in the pan, add pine nuts or sliced almonds (or other nut/seed of your choice), toast until golden. This quick extra step further enhances the flavors at your meal, as well as add a delightful crunch.
- The more confident you become with meal prep through practice, the more open you become to trying new and different items. With that being said, don’t over “healthify” your recipes. For example, if you modify the recipe too much by taking out the salt and/or fat, you will lose the flavor of that food item.
Flavor should not be underestimated in the role it plays in our satisfaction (both physical fullness AND thoughts) at mealtimes. The more you experiment with foods and menus in the kitchen, the more confident you will become in leaving the recipe alone to experience the flavor. The more you will appreciate the nutritional value of your meal from what is included and added to your meal. When the confidence in cooking increases and is accompanied by satisfying flavor, it becomes easier to make more intentional and mindful decisions both at meals and outside of mealtime.
Health and flavor are delivered through the whole meal and not just individual food items. Nutrition, health, and wellness should not be judged by what is not included in the meal prep, or what is left off of the plate. Nutrition, health, and wellness should provide enjoyment by what you are adding and including on your plate.
At the end of the day, this is also what my job is about. It’s about helping others understand what simple, tasty health look like in their own lives. I tell people all the time that we make nutrition a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Let’s figure out how to keep food and meal prep simple and tasty in your life.
No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.