(Isabel Williams, Registered Dietitian, Brown’s Your Independent Grocer, Stittsville)
Over the past year, you’ve probably spent more time in your kitchen than ever before, and let’s be honest, it’s exhausting. While you may have dabbled in some of the latest food trends – sourdough starter or TikTok feta pasta, anyone? – answering the age-old question of “what’s for dinner?” every day has started to wear us down.
As we continue to attempt to maintain some form of routine and manage the changes in our day-to-day lives – juggling working from home along with the end of the school year – I’m sharing a few tips that I’ve found helpful, to kick your kitchen fatigue and inspire you to keep cooking.
Grow your own food
Gardening is a great way to breathe some excitement back into the kitchen, while also reducing stress and giving you a reason to spend more time outside. As you begin to plan your garden, a planter full of herbs or veggie patch, think about the basics like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, as well as herbs like basil, rosemary, chives, and cilantro to kick start a delicious summer of fresh salads and herbs to be added to marinades, dips or even infused into your water or cocktails.
Take dinner outdoors
Barbecue season is in full swing so let’s take mealtime outside. Bring meatless Monday to the grill with grilled halloumi and veggie skewers or try marinating chicken in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, fresh rosemary, and garlic and serve on a bed of grilled zucchini, eggplant, and peppers. If you can’t cook outdoors try having a picnic in a local park with an assortment of snackable treats – if your local health guidelines allow it.
Meal planning is your friend
Taking 30 minutes once a week to plan out your lunches and dinners for the week can help relieve much of the daily mealtime stress. Start by looking at what’s already in your fridge and pantry and what’s on sale at your local grocery store for cost-saving inspiration. If you’re stuck on what to do with those ingredients, try using Pinterest, Instagram or your favourite cookbook to find new recipes. Meal plans also don’t have to be concrete — be flexible and shift meals around if you need to.
It’s okay to take a shortcut
Be sure to include foods that are quick and convenient on days where you might be busier or have less energy – bagged salads, quick cooking grains, frozen fruit or veggies, and takeout meals can all have a place on your meal plan. Pick up a ready-to-go rotisserie chicken to serve with a fresh summer salad or a meal kit to make weeknight dinners a breeze.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Getting started can feel overwhelming. You’re not alone! As your local Stittsville Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer, I am here to help with meal planning tips and recipe ideas. Book a free 15-minute virtual consultation with me at yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians
Organic Rice and Bean Medley Salad
A fabulous vegetarian main course salad that is budget friendly, nutritious, and easy to make. Leftovers also make a great lunch. https://www.presidentschoice.ca/recipe/organic-rice-and-bean-medley-salad.
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