Simple Meal Planning Tips

Hey there Beautifully Nutty readers! My name’s Rebecca, and I blog at Soft Serve and Squats. I’m a long-time reader of Beautifully Nutty and adore Melanie’s recipes and advice, so I’m extremely excited to be the blogger behind today’s guest post!

In my little corner of the blog world, I show that streamlining sensible eating and fitness into a busy lifestyle is truly attainable. So, this morning, I’m going to share with you some strategies and tips that I’ve found helpful as I strive to prepare homemade meals, being a college student on a limited budget.

rebecca soft serve and squats guest post

The college years can be notorious for late-night fast food runs and endless cups of ramen. The smart planning strategies that I’m sharing today make it easy to combat that stereotype, and implement healthy eating in spite of the craziness of everyday life!

rebecca soft serve and squats guest post

 

1. Grocery list. Making a list of groceries and taking a weekly trip to the grocery store to purchase basic supplies is a small investment of time, but is the first step to ensuring that I’ll have easy, healthy meals on weeknights.

list photo

2. Keep pantry staples on hand. While I don’t believe it’s necessary to plan a weekly menu, keeping the basics on hand is key. With a few staple ingredients, there are endless meal possibilities that come together without much thought at all. Some of my staple items include shrimp, chicken, green vegetables, rice, pasta, and sweet potatoes!

3. Make meals in advance. If I know I’ve got a really busy week coming up, I sometimes do a week’s cooking on Sunday night, and reheat leftovers for the week. That way, I get four nights of cooking out of the way in the amount of time it would take me to prepare one meal! While eating the same thing a few nights in a row can be monotonous, it’s not a bad trade-off for the convenience.

4. Take advantage of the Crock Pot. The Crock Pot does literally all of the hard work while I’m out and about at class, the library, or the gym. One of my favorite Crock Pot recipes is Salsa Chicken, which is is quite literally foolproof! By placing a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker in the morning and pouring a jar of salsa on top, I come home to perfectly cooked and seasoned pulled chicken that I can stuff inside a tortilla with toppings, lay on a salad, or simply eat plain!

5. Don’t forget about frozen ingredients. Ingredients like frozen chicken breasts, frozen shrimp, and frozen broccoli have a much longer shelf life than fresh ingredients, allowing me the flexibility to make them whenever I need them. By having a small stock of frozen meats and vegetables, I don’t have to worry about planning precisely when I’m going to make something. If it’s in the freezer, it’s not going anywhere!

rebecca soft serve and squats guest post

 

6. Have basic seasonings on hand. I have Mrs. Dash seasonings for every flavor profile, from Mexican to Italian. This makes it super simple to transform basic ingredients like beans, ground beef, chicken, and vegetables, no matter my mood!

 

So, there you have it: a college girl’s quick-guide to making homemade meals in a pinch! I hope you find some of these tips and tricks helpful in your busy lifestyle.

Thanks, Melanie for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to guest-post! Have a wonderful day!

Redundant Summer Meals

I know I’m not alone on this one…when the summer rolls around, I tend to struggle with maintaining my creativity in the kitchen. The grill and I become B.F.F. and I wind up tossing a protein food source with a bunch of veggies and calling it a meal. Hence the reason I haven’t had too many food photos to share with you all.

You’ll see the pattern…

Salmon and veggies

salmon and veggies

Pork loin and veggies

pork and veggies

Ground beef and veggies

beef and veggies

A little redundant, right?

Less time in the kitchen means more time to be spent outside enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

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dana and melanie

 

However, I would like to step up my game just a little bit because I am getting pretty bored with my eats. So that is going to be my goal for the next couple of weeks: to amp up my food creativity level. The grill can still be my B.F.F., but it can serve for a more creative cooking vessel versus just grilling a piece of meat and calling it a day.

I am hoping to make up a batch of hippie loaf with a few modifications this week. Here’s to hoping!

What are your favorite meals to make in the summer? Do you feel your meals get a little redundant like mine?

Meal Planning for Vacation

Hello hello from Turks and Caicos! How’s everyone doing? I’m sending warm weather wishes your way.

While we are away in Turks and Caicos, we are staying in a villa complete with a full kitchen. This is our first time ever staying in a villa and are super excited about it. We usually go to all-inclusive hotel resorts which typically entail lots of great food, fruity cocktails, too many desserts, and an unhappy tummy.

dominican dessert

dominican dana pina coladas

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy an all-inclusive hotel as much as the next guy, but given my digestive system has been “off” for a while now, it’s a good idea for me to try to stick to more typical food and beverages as much as possible while I’m away. The last thing I want is to regress with my progress because I a feeling gooooood!

Being that we do have access to a full kitchen while we are in Turks, we have decided to prepare most of our own meals while we are there. We were told that groceries are pretty spendy over there, so we did A LOT of food planning, and brought the majority of our food from home. The only food that we are not allowed to bring from home is fresh produce, so we will be going to a local farm/farmer’s market while we are there to stock up on the fresh fruits and vegetables. I can’t wait to see what they have!

We packed all of our food in a cooler, which was duct-taped shut after inspection. The meat we brought was packed frozen solid, and stayed cold enough (and in the safe zone) until we reached our destination. Once we got to the villa, it went right into the fridge and freezer.

turks and caicos food turks and caicos food turks and caicos food

turks and caicos food

We plan on going out to eat a couple of times while we are there to enjoy some of the local food, and we plan to purchase some fresh seafood and cook it in our villa couple of nights as well.

Here is what our meal plan looks like for the week:

 

Weekly Meal Plan for Turks and Caicos

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Thursday x x Turkey Burgers
Friday Banana w/ peanut butter Chicken Caesar Wraps and veggies Lentil Tacos
Saturday Eggs w/ turkey bacon and fruit Leftover tacos or pb wraps Fresh seafood and veggies, quinoa
Sunday Oatmeal or eggs Leftover chicken caesar Out to dinner
Monday Banana w/ peanut butter, eggs, or oatmeal PB banana wraps Veggie hash
Tuesday Oatmeal or eggs Salad Veggie something?
Wednesday Eggs w/ turkey bacon and fruit Leftovers Seafood and veggies
Thursday Leftovers PB wraps x
Snacks Dried fruit, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, pistachios, Chex Mix, date/nut bites, chips and salsa
Beverages LOTS of water, wine, tea, coffee, fresh juice?
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I’ll be excited to fill you in how all it all turned out!

Catch up with you later gators!