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Tips for Healthy Meal Planning

Is cooking, especially cooking "healthy" foods a real hassle? Do you find a recipe that looks good, only to discover you don't have all the necessary ingredients? Or you do, but the recipe is so complicated that you simply do not have the time? Do you get frustrated at the end of the week when you have to throw away all those expensive, spoiled vegetables that you didn't use? Have we got help for you!

At the World's Healthiest Foods, we understand that keeping up with the hectic pace of life leaves little time for meal planning and preparation. And in today's economic melt down, every food dollar has to count. That's why the founder of the World's Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan, has developed more than a hundred quick, easy and truly delicious recipes using easily available, fresh, organic, foods—and focusing on foods in season since this is when each food is at its nutritional peak and lowest price.

To find these recipes on the website, follow this link to our Recipe Assistant. It can be a tremendous help in meal planning that maximizes your food dollar and minimizes the time you spend preparing meals.

Take a few minutes before you go grocery shopping to make a detailed list of what you will need. We all have our favorite, standby meals, so you will know what's needed for those. (In fact, most of us only serve those same four or five old standbys every week, over and over, which can be pretty boring, not to mention, provide little variety in the nutrients in our meals.)

This week, in addition to your standard fare, pick two or three new recipes that look good, and add any ingredients you don't have on hand to your grocery list. When buying ingredients that will spoil within a week, try to purchase only the amount your recipes actually require.

If you know you will end up buying more than necessary—say you've chosen a recipe that calls for cabbage, but won't use an entire cabbage—try to find another recipe that will use cabbage as well (as is done below).

If you have a good idea of what your schedule will be like for the week, you can lay out a possible plan for which recipes you will cook on which days. To get started, let's just focus on dinner, the meal most of us have the most time to prepare and enjoy during the week.

Following are 5-days' recipes, along with accompaniment suggestions, and a grocery list to give an example of how to plan, so you'll get the most for your time and money:

Monday: Italian Navy Bean Soup with Rosemary. Serve with brown rice.


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups kale, minced
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh oregano, or 2 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/3 tsp dried
  • 2 15 oz cans navy beans, drained
  • salt & pepper to taste

To prepare brown rice: rinse grains under running water to remove any debris, then add to your pot in the proportion of 2 cups water for each cup of rice you wish to cook. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of iodized salt, bring to a boil, cover, turn down the heat to simmer, and let cook 45 minutes. Remove cover and fluff lightly with a fork. Transfer leftover rice to a glass container, cover, and place in the refrigerator where it will keep for 3-4 days.

Tuesday: 15 Minute Salmon with Mustard, Dill Sauce. Serve with sweet peas and leftover brown rice.


  • 1½ lbs salmon filet cut into 4 pieces, skin and bones removed
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 1 + 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
  • salt and white pepper to taste


Black Bean Burrito, Indian Style. Serve with a tossed green salad.

  • 1 medium onion cut in half and sliced thin
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1½ cups sweet potatoes cut in ½ inch cubes
  • 1 cup green peppers, thin julienne
  • 1 cup red peppers, thin julienne
  • 1 tsp garam masala (can be found in the spice section.)
  • 1 TBS + ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • *optional 2 oz Chevre goat cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • Topping *(optional) prepared salsa
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded (remove outer leaves and discard)

Thursday: Sesame Braised Chicken and Cabbage Serve with tossed green salad, steamed carrots.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • 4 cups green cabbage sliced thin,
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 medium sized onion cut in half & sliced thin
  • 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup + 1 TBS chicken broth
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion tops
  • 1 TBS sesame seeds
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Friday: Spicy Cabbage Soup Any remaining chicken can be added to this soup. Serve with any remaining rice and/or salad vegetables.


  • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced thin
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp minced fresh chili pepper (serrano, or jalapeno)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 TBS dry mustard
  • 5 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 medium sized red potatoes cut in ½ inch cubes, about two cups
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups thinly sliced Savoy or green cabbage
  • salt and black pepper to taste

As you can see from looking over the ingredient lists, several recpies share ingredients in common, and many ingredients are items you may already have on hand in your pantry, including the olive oil, spices, sesame seeds, broth, canned beans and canned tomatoes.

Furthermore, the majority of these "staple" items appear in a wide variety of the World's Healthiest Foods recipes, so by stocking up on them, you will be in great shape to try other recipes that appeal to you without having lots of ingredients you'll need to put on future grocery lists.

Following is a list of these staple items. All except the sesame seeds, which should be kept in your refrigerator or freezer, can simply be stored in your pantry, where they will keep for months. If you see these items on sale, by all means, stock up!

Staples to Have on Hand

  • Brown rice
  • Vegetable and/or chicken broth
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Prepared salsa
  • Canned navy beans
  • Canned black beans
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Garam masala
  • White pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Iodized salt
  • Dijon mustard
  • Extra virgin olive oil: buy in a large can and transfer just enough for a week or so to a small, preferably opaque, bottle to minimize oxidation.
  • Honey
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame seeds: store in your refrigerator or freezer.

Fresh Items Needed

  • 4 medium onions: buy a bag full and store in a cool place in your pantry;l you'll use onions in many recipes.
  • 1 small bunch scallions
  • 1 medium carrot: buy a bag full, cut some up for carrot sticks, use some in mixed green salads, try some steamed as a side vegetable, try some baked for a suprisingly sweet treat.
  • 2 stalks celery: use the remainder of the bunch for celery stalks, dice and add to tuna and other salads, green tossed salads, soups, rice.
  • 16 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 fresh chili pepper (serrano or jalapeno)
  • 8 cups kale (about 2 bunches)
  • 1 medium-sized green cabbage
  • 1.5 pounds salmon filet
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp fresh dill: dried dill is also very flavorful.
  • 2 lemons
  • fresh ginger: wrapped in a paper towel, ginger will keep for several weeks. Try fresh ginger tea. Use ginger in stir fries, soups, salad dressings.
  • 1.5 cups sweet potatoes (about 3 medium-sized potatoes)
  • 2 medium-sized red potatoes
  • 1 cup green pepper (about 1 large green pepper)
  • 1 cup red pepper (about 1 large red pepper)
  • 2 ounces Chevre goat cheese
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce or 1 head romaine, 1 bunch mixed greens or other lettuce you enjoy (use 2nd head of lettuce for mixed salads)
  • 1 box cherry tomatoes (for mixed salads)

Happy Healthy, Delicious Eating!

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