How to Create a Weekly Meal Plan for Your Family

How to Create a Weekly Meal Plan for Your Family

Do you find yourself struggling to find a recipe at the last minute? Never seem to have what you need from the grocery store? Have no fear! Creating a weekly meal plan can make after-school evenings run much more smoothly!

 

Choose the Meals Your Family Loves

Start by making a list of all the meals and snacks your family likes to eat on a regular basis. Pro-tip: get some sticky tabs or magnets and write the name of each meal on a tab. Place them all in a notebook or on your refrigerator, spread out so that they’re easily accounted for. These meals will be the building blocks of a weekly meal plan for your family. 

 

 

Chart It UpSticky notes on refrigerator.

If you went with sticky tabs, create a chart with a column for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Add rows for each day of the week. This layout allows you to easily account for each meal and snack you’ll be responsible for throughout the week. Although there are often occasions where you’ll go out to eat, it’s always better to have a plan that you stray from than to have no plan at all.

 

 

Organize the Days

Meal calendar.Now, decide which meals should fall into which slot. When this process is completed, you should have a planned dish for every meal and snack throughout the week. When you get home from work, it’ll be so easy to just check the meal chart and start cooking. You also won’t have to worry about changing the meal halfway through preparation, as your family can see the meal plan. You can even collaborate on the plan before the week begins to avoid any arguments. As a bonus, this is an excellent way to teach the kids about balance and nutrition!

 

Check the DietFoods for well balanced breakfast.

Ever wondered if you’ve been giving your kids enough nutrients? This meal planning system makes it easy to keep your family’s diet (or, more often, dietsin check. You can easily outline and implement your family’s dietary needs with a structured meal plan. Also, seeing the meal plan spread out before you will make it easy to find places where leafy greens can be best disguised.

 

Shop and Prep

Healthy meal prep.No more opening the fridge on a Wednesday night to find an empty milk carton! When you know what dishes you’ll be preparing a week ahead, you can easily buy everything you need from the grocery store in one go. Go through your meal chart and make a grocery list of all the items you’ll need for the week. After purchasing them, you can even prep for the meals ahead of time. Maybe a lot of your meals require chopped veggies or peeled fruit. Maybe you have to soak some lentils for another dish. Finishing the prep work for multiple meals once or twice a week is a huge time saver.

 

Of course, not everyone has time to meal prep or plan. That’s where Market Table comes in! Our freezer meals and prepared dishes offer options for the whole family — just pop them in the oven and have a healthy, delicious meal in no time. Stumped when it comes to lunch? We’ve got you covered there, too: you can pre-order and pick up our Light Lunchboxes, saving you time and sanity.

Food in Focus: Greek Dishes and Flavors

Food in Focus: Greek Dishes and Flavors

Greek food established its popularity long ago. Due to its healthy nature and flavorful taste, Greek food is a genre that many are sure to love.

Greek salad on a table

Typical Ingredients

Greek food is considered a healthy cuisine because of its typical ingredients. Many Greek dishes center around a type of lean meat or fish. You’ll commonly find pork, lamb, mussels and shrimp mixed with spices and herbs in different types of Greek recipes. You’ll also often find feta, the national cheese of Greece, in Greek dishes. Feta cheese can also only be produced in Greece, so it’s always 100% Greek. Beans are also another healthy ingredient found in Greek dishes. Because of the fertile wet soil in northern Greece, beans are popular for gardening and for cooking.

 

Tzatziki sauce in bowl and on breadTypical Dishes

One of the most common Greek dishes is Moussaka. This widely-recognized casserole consists of eggplants and potatoes layered with a spiced meat filling then topped with a creamy sauce. A popular Greek soup found on the menus of most Greek restaurants is Chicken Soup Avgolemono. This creamy soup typically serves as the first course for Greek holiday celebrations. A popular appetizer that can also be used as a condiment is Tzatziki. This yogurt-based cucumber dip is the perfect dip for grilled meat, veggies or pita bread.

 

Baklava dessert slices on plateTypical Desserts

Baklava, a classic and popular dessert, consists of flaky phyllo dough layered with a cinnamon-spiced nut filling. Another delicious dessert consisting of flaky phyllo dough is Galaktoboureko. This custard pie is covered with a lemon and orange infused syrup. Shortbread cookies, known as Kourabiethes, are a classic at Greek family celebrations. These light yet rich-in-flavor cookies melt right in your mouth.

 

Greek cuisine is one that the whole family is sure to love. With the various ingredients used, there is something out there that will satisfy every member of the family. 

3 Easy and Healthy Frozen Summer Treats

3 Easy and Healthy Frozen Summer Treats

With the kids out of school and summer in full swing, we put together a few healthy frozen treats to cool everyone down on any hot summer day. These treats are easy to make and utilize natural sugars and healthy sweeteners. Enjoy!

Frozen Strawberry Blend.

Strawberry Watermelon Homemade Popsicles

Homemade pops are a favorite healthy treat on those hot summer afternoons. The key to any good ice pop is the mold. You can find a popsicle mold just about anywhere, but we love Nopro’s ten-pop mold (Amazon, Walmart, Target). The pops look store bought and are easy to remove. For the strawberry watermelon pops, you need two cups of strawberries, two cups of watermelon and one the juice of one lemon. Combine all three ingredients in a blender and blend until they are liquified. Fill the molds and freeze for four to six hours. And there you have it – a sweet summer treat with only natural sugars. This will make 10 pops.

Healthy frozen Fruit Bark.

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bark

Here’s another frozen treat to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. You will need a sheet pan that can fit in your freezer. We suggest lining it with wax paper before you begin for easy cleanup. Grab a large container of your favorite plain yogurt and mix it with a tablespoon of vanilla. Pour the yogurt directly on to the pan, evening it out slightly with a knife or spoon. Add fruit directly to the yogurt. Get creative with your combinations! Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries make a good combo as does kiwi, pineapple, blueberries and strawberries. Freeze the bark as-is for four to six hours. Slice and enjoy! For a fun twist, add granola and raisins or used flavored yogurt.

Easy Raspberry Sorbet.

Lemon Raspberry Sorbet

This easy sorbet recipe doesn’t even require an ice cream maker! Simply blend together one cup of frozen raspberries, one-half cup of water, and one-half tablespoon of lemon juice (add a bit more if you like it tart). As these are blending, slowly add up to one-third of a cup of raw honey. This will add a natural sweetness. Taste it regularly as it blends until you reach the desired flavor. Then freeze until the desired consistency is acquired. This only makes one serving but the recipe is easy to double (or triple!).

And there you have it: three quick, easy, and healthy desserts your whole family will love — even the picky eaters! Wondering what’s for dinner, now that dessert is covered? These frozen desserts are the perfect treat to complete a meal begun with one of our fully-prepared freezer meals or meal kits. The One Pan CBG (Chicken, Bacon, and Green Beans) meal kit and the Vegetarian Lasagna freezer meal are both staff family favorites.

Text by Amy Haupt

The Whole Story About Whole30

The Whole Story About Whole30

You’ve probably seen posts about the Whole30 Diet circulating on social media. That’s because Whole30 encourages participants in the diet to share their stories. Not only does this keep them accountable, but it also helps them to find encouragement from fellow dieters. But what exactly is Whole30? And why is it all over your social media feeds?

 

Bowl of grilled chicken, asparagus, avocado, limeWhat Is Whole30?

This program revolves around 30 days of clean eating. The program promises that if you try clean eating for just 30 days, it’ll change your relationship with food. According to Whole30, certain foods negatively impact your mental and physical health. Some of these food include sugar, grains, dairy and legumes. So, rather than counting calories, you simply focus on eating foods that are good for your health.

 

What Can I Eat?

Tray of fresh root vegetables

There are pretty specific rules as to what you cannot eat. The number-one food group on the list is sugar, whether real or artificial — including substitutes like stevia and honey. The program also doesn’t allow for alcohol or tobacco. Grains, legumes, and dairy? Also not allowed. Don’t panic, though — that’s just for 30 days. If you feel stuck and unsure of what you can eat, Whole30 has a list of approved foods and brands, as well as their own meal plans.

 

What Are the Benefits?

This diet sounds a little extreme, but the program promises a vast variety of benefits. For one, it’s only 30 days to clean out your body and allow yourself to start fresh with a new mentality with food. After those 30 days, it’s not necessary to be as restrictive with your food choices, but you can keep the lessons learned from Whole30 in mind. Some of the benefits listed on Whole30’s website are weight loss, improvement to body composition, high energy levels, improved athletic performance, better sleep, improved focus andmental clarity, and a sunnier disposition.

 

Salad with chicken and tomatoes

If you’re struggling to get started on your Whole30 journey, you can try one of Market Table’s salads, Light Lunchboxes, or frittatas — just ask for it without cheese. We even have meal kits to help you cook healthy food at home. If you see anything else on the menu that looks good but doesn’t meet the Whole30 requirement, we can help you find a substitute.

Text by Katherine Polcari

Food in Focus: Why We Love the Avocado

Food in Focus: Why We Love the Avocado

The international avocado market blew up from 2012-2016. In fact, the exports increased as much as 30% in some areas — and no, it’s not just because of Millennials and their avocado toast. Here’s why the fruit (yes, we said fruit!) is so sought-after.

First: A Little U.S. History

In 1914, the US banned the import of Mexican avocados into the continental United States as a way to stop the seed weevil from destroying American farms. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange began growing and selling the fruit instead. However, they couldn’t keep up with the demand of the whole country. For decades, only states on the west coast with fresh fruit markets were able to enjoy the creamy fruit.

What’s in a Name?

In the years following the ban, the fruit became known as “alligator pears.” The thick skin was bumpy and various shades of green, like the reptile, and the shape was that of a pear. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange worked to change the name to avocado, thinking that the exoticism of the name would lend to its reputation as a luxury fruit.

 

Touchdown, Guacamole!

In 1997, the US started to slowly lift the ban. But there were still hurdles to overcome. Many Americans didn’t understand how to properly eat an avocado. So, the growers launched a campaign to educate Americans. One of the best facets of this campaign was the Super Bowl/Guacamole Bowl recipe contest. The growers’ PR firm asked various NFL teams for their best guac recipes. The firm suggested that the best recipe might predict the winner of the Super Bowl. The plan worked, and Americans fell in love with guacamole. In fact, we consume 8 million pounds of it every Super Bowl Sunday.

 

Health Benefits

Study after study confirms that the avocado is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Just a 3.5 ounce serving contains Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, E, A, B1, B2 and B3. It also contains other nutrients, like folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus. There are 160 calories in this one serving, with only 2 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of healthy fats and 2 grams of protein.

All of these nutrients lead to different health benefits. Avocados promote weight loss. They contain low amounts of saturated fat and curb hunger. The fruit improves overall heart health by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Avocados also have anti-aging benefits from being packed with antioxidants. And they even improve eye health.

 

Let’s Have a Toast

Chefs love to use avocados in recipes. Their creaminess is great for balancing acidity or spice. The avocado flavor is delicate enough not to overwhelm any other ingredients.

And, of course, there’s avocado toast. It’s a simple, filling snack or breakfast food that is quick to prepare and scrumptious to boot. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and whatever other topping you’d like. A fried or soft-boiled egg would be perfect. Or if it’s too early to think about making your own, swing by Market Table for a breakfast featuring  our tasty avocado toast.

 

From the way sales have increased each year, it is clear that, when it comes to the avocado, Americans have no problem in making up for lost time.

 

Text by Jennie Tippett

Meal Prep: It’s Good for Your Health

Meal Prep: It’s Good for Your Health

What’s meal prepping? The idea is simple: you plan and prepare ingredients for the coming week’s meals. This could be as small as cutting veggies or as much as making a whole meal beforehand. It’s a simple and easy way to make meals effortless — and it’s easy to get started. 

Plan ahead

If you want to start meal prepping, planning is key. Put together recipes for the meals you want to eat this week. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. Go grocery shopping in advance, perhaps on a Saturday so there’s no pressure. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your ingredients. For instance, if you get a can of beans that’s more than one serving, try finding a good way to use the rest. This article offers ten options for leftover beans.

 

Cover the basicsChopped veggies in white bowls.

Once you have recipes and ingredients, do as much in advance as you can. Cut vegetables, season meat and put whatever you can into food storage containers. A good rule of thumb: prepare the ingredients enough so that the actual meal only takes ten minutes to make. That way, you’re not taking up too much time or effort and you’re eating well. Ideally, you can just microwave one bowl and eat it. Sometimes that doesn’t work out, but as long as your meals are easier to make, then you’re benefiting from meal prepping.

 

Woman wearing athletic shoes eats lunch.Prep for your health

Prepping is a great way to make cooking easier, but also to make meals healthier. Try making a larger meal for lunch. Make your dinner simple and healthy. This is a great way to stay fit. Your body is better at digesting and burning off what you eat for lunch since you do more after eating. Use a template to keep yourself motivated and prevent burn-out while scheduling recipes. Also, plan for nights you want to eat out or to use leftovers from another meal. Try to have a few back-up recipes that you can make with no hassle in case your meal prep gets ruined. It happens to everybody!

 

Make the most out of itBusy woman eats healthy lunch at desk.

The great thing about meal prepping is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Here at Market Table, we do the prep for you with our Light Lunchboxes. Not only are they delicious, but they can fit any diet. Our Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowl is packed with flavor and it’s gluten-free. The Cilantro Lime Chicken with Cauliflower Rice makes for a tasty paleo or Atkins-friendly meal. You can pre-order our Light Lunchboxes by Wednesday at 6 p.m. and pick them up on Sunday. And if you need a fast, last-minute meal fix, we’ll always have some options in-store.

 

Text by Cameron Sullivan