Tired of eating the same old thing? We chatted with wellness expert Mia Campbell about ingredient prep, meal kits and Pinterest methods to avoid palate fatique when it comes to fall food. —Vita Daily
Hi Mia! Why do you believe we ought to say goodbye to batch cooking and meal planning as we head into fall? What are the main snags most people encounter with these methods?
Fall is often seen as a fresh start or even a “new year:”. It’s a time to set new intentions or “get back on track”. However, with batch cooking and meal planning, meals can become repetitive because you tend to eat the same things over and over and this makes staying on track boring, unappetizing or less than desirable. To avoid falling into this trap and keep you feeling inspired, I recommend my method of ingredient prep and a meal kit service like Chefs Plate. These approaches will make sure you get a lot of variety and flavour while staying in a food routine to keep you balanced and energized!
What is ingredient prep, and why is it a new, better way to stay on track when it comes to cooking?
My method is based on a mix-and-match ingredient approach that can be used to keep variety in your day to day and only require a little last-minute slicing and assembling to save time and enjoy greater food variety. You choose a range of weekly recipes that can all be made with a combination two to three proteins (e.g., chicken, salmon), two to three fruits and vegetables (e.g., broccoli, spinach or arugula, red tomatoes, pepper), two to three dairy or non-dairy options (e.g., eggs, feta cheese) and two to three starches or grains (e.g., sweet potato, whole-grain rice). Be sure to keep herbs on hand to add flavour, like cilantro and parsley). You can use a combo of these foods to create a breakfast, such as sweet potato egg hash with spinach, a lunch, like a poke bowl, and a dinner, like an Asian-inspired salmon with peppers and broccoli sautéed in soya sauce with a side of whole-grain rice. Personally, I like to find recipe inspiration for the week on Pinterest! Here’s an example: choose
What are your top tips for getting our partner and kids involved with ingredient-prep cooking?
Make it educational and FUN! Teach your kids about what they’re eating, the nutrients found in specific foods and how they benefit them. For example, we eat “trees” (a.k.a. broccoli) for healthy bones. Also, including them in choosing recipes or ingredients will make them feel like they have a say in what they get to help and they will be more invested in eating it! Please, be enthusiastic and don’t be scared of a little mess. Chefs Plate is also a great way to defer cooking to your partner, who might not have the greatest cooking skills, or get the kids involved, because everything is pre-portioned so super easy.
How else can meal kits from companies like Chefs Plate help?
Meal kits like Chefs Plate are a great thing to add to the mix to add variety, give you a break and keep you following your food routine! You can include them in your food routine several times a week or once a month—whatever fits your budget and needs. Since all of the fresh, ingredients are delivered to your doorstep, there’s one extra trip to the grocery store. It’s also pre-portioned; this helps to reduce food waste! What’s also great is that you can try unfamiliar recipes but feel confident with execution because super easy step-by-step recipe instructions come with each meal-kit recipe.
What is “palate fatigue” and what’s your best advice to avoid it this autumn?
Palate fatigue occurs when you eat the same things consecutively. When you batch cook all of your meals, portion them out and eat the EXACT same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s repetitive. Variety in the spice of life! The key to staying on track is eating foods that you are actually excited about.
What’s your number 1 fall comfort-food dish to make at home?
Oh gosh, it’s impossible to pick just one fall comfort-food dish! So I’ll give two: one sweet and one savoury. I simply cannot resist roasted winter squash or pumpkin with a touch of maple syrup for sweetness. You can add it to a hearty vegetable-based chili. Alternatively, I love adding it to delicious loaves, like a grain-free pumpkin-spice cake made with all the fall flavours like cinnamon and nutmeg. For sweet, who can resist stewed apples?! You can add them to yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes and, a personal favourite, apple crisp (with a scoop of ice cream … or two)!