Potatoes and green beans
Food For Better Health,  Healthy Eating,  Meals For Two,  Pork,  Recipes

How To Create a Healthy Habit of Meal Planning

Strategic meal planning is a healthy habit which can also save you money.

Have you integrated any of the healthy habits from last week’s blog post?

If so, your 2020 is off to a great start!

If not…you really should consider adopting at least two of those habits; especially the water consumption concept.

This week, we are going to focus more on specific meal planning for better health.

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Brainstorming Your Meal Plan

weekly meal strategySitting down and taking time to plan your meals is a crucial step towards better health.

Decide which day you can do your food shopping and make a list based on the meals you plan for the week.

Consider your weekly schedule and plan every meal.  If you make supermarket trips every two weeks, plan accordingly.

Make sure to utilize leftovers and incorporate different proteins.

As mentioned in How To Battle Food Waste, this meal plan not only helps you stay on track towards a healthier new you, but also helps avoid throwing away wasted food.

Breakfast is the First Step

Incorporating breakfast EVERYDAY, is the most crucial change you will make towards a more healthy lifestyle.

Studies show those who skip breakfast, have a higher BMI (body mass index), than those who eat a regular breakfast.

Those eating breakfast tend to eat more regularly throughout the day, which stabilizes your metabolism.

What you eat every morning is just as important as when you eat.

fiber in the morning with oatmeal and coffee

Begin your day with high-fiber cereals or whole-grain bakery goods and you will be less likely to snack throughout the day.

Breakfast should be a good-quality carbohydrate, a protein source and some fat.

It is a good idea to pair your breakfast with some fruit.

A high-fiber breakfast will help you stay satisfied longer.

A slice of whole-wheat toast, with an egg and a fruit selection is a great choice.

Keep your breakfast cereals under 150 calories, full of fiber and low on sugar.

 I start every weekday morning with 1/3 cup of dried oatmeal; microwave for one minute – stir. Microwave and stop when oatmeal almost overflows – stir again. Continue till oatmeal almost overflows again – DONE! Less than 2 minutes. 

Do I Include Lunch In My Meal Planning?

YES!  As with breakfast, lunch should be a good-quality carbohydrate, a protein and a healthy fat.

An excellent suggestion for lunch is:  a whole wheat wrap sandwich, using lean ham, turkey or roast beef. 

 A gradual change in my house;  we are eating a white, whole-grain bread right now. 

Add a reduced-fat cheese, lettuce, tomato, green peppers, cucumbers and as many veggies as you want.

Spread only ONE tablespoon of reduced fat mayo OR mustard.

A salad is another great idea! Choose ingredients high in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

Make sure to use a salad dressing that has less than 50 calories per serving and be conscientious of your serving size.

Healthy Eating Tip: Make sure the greens in your salad are very dry; you will use less dressing – it clings to the leaves better.

Dinner Time!

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Pay attention to ALL your ingredients, especially at dinner time.

Look for ways to reduce calories without compromising flavor.

If making a Fettuccine Alfredo recipe, (I will have a healthy, delicious recipe in February) make sure your Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil are of high quality.

Because fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese has a more bold flavor than regular Parmesan, you will need less of it.

The same holds true for extra-virgin olive oil.

Buying higher quality ingredients may cost a littler more, but you should use less of it.

Use these healthy ingredients to make the Center Cut Pork Chops with Veggies included in this post.


Your dinner plate should consist of a protein, a carbohydrate and a vegetable; totaling about 500 calories.

This is the area where I have the most difficulty.

Throughout my childhood, my mom performed meal miracles with a very strict budget.  We did not waste food – EVER!

Therefore, as a child, it was drilled into me – CLEAN YOUR PLATE!”  Well, I continue to live by that motto, even today!

Which would be fine, but my initial helping is larger than it should be.

My solution – designated measuring devices, just for my dinner plate.

Using these devices, I am able to weigh everything on my plate, as I put it on my plate.

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Designated Plastic Measuring Cups
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Your protein should weigh about 4 ounces.

All carbohydrates contain varying caloric counts, therefore, it is imperative to weigh them.

Each carbohydrate serving should generally equal somewhere between 150 – 200 calories.

Make sure to make a high-fiber carb choice, such as whole wheat pasta, yams, or brown rice.

For the vegetables, eat whatever you like. Most are low in calories, 25 to 100 calories, per serving.

Meal Total = 325 – 550 calories


JoAnn's Food Bites Portion Plate

No need to abandoned dessert!

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Strawberries and whipped creamEven in a healthy food plan, you can eat dessert, HOWEVER, it should not be a normal habit.

Reserve it for special occasions or once a week

Try to keep a portion under 200 calories

Consider tossing the fruit of choice, with about a teaspoon of sugar, then place it in the refrigerator for about an hour. 

Top with a spritz of canned whipped cream and you will have a healthy dessert for about 125 calories.

Meal Planning Using Healthy Snacks

Are you a sweet snacker or a salty/savory snacker?

Knowing which you are, can help you manage your healthy habit plan.

Make sure you have snacks on hand that will be satisfying for you.

Research shows those who are fruit lovers eat sweet snacks more often and those who are veggie lovers will choose salty or savory snacks.

I always have those 100 calorie microwaveable popcorn bags on hand.


Center Cut Pork Chops with Vegetables

Center Cut Pork Chops with Veggies for Two

Simple, healthy sheet pan dinner that you can prep and have to the table in under 50 minutes.
Course dinner, Main Course, Pork
Cuisine American
Keyword Healthy, pork, vegetables
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 Servings
Calories 408kcal
Author JoAnn's Food Bites


  • 1 lb. Center cut pork chops
  • 3 T. Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 6 ozs. Asparagus stalks
  • 15 ozs. red potatoes cut into halves
  • 1 t. ground thyme
  • 1 t. Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 t. Salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400º
  • In a bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, cheese, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Place pork chops on a baking sheet, lined with non-stick foil.
  • Take a teaspoon of the mixture and place on top of each pork chop. Using the back of the spoon, or a basting brush, spread the mixture on top of each chop.
  • In the bowl containing the remaining mixture, drop in your potatoes and asparagus. Using a spoon, stir to coat the veggies with the mixture.
  • Spoon vegetables onto sheet pan, in one single layer. Making sure veggies do not touch the pork chops.
  • Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pork reaches 145º.
  • Remove pan from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve.


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