Who hasn’t discovered that New Year’s resolutions are easier to make than to keep? We want to do better, but need practice, practice, practice before better habits take root. To help inspire customers in the New Year, the meal planning team at Wegmans Food Markets created a six-week guide full of delicious meal and snack ideas. They save time, money, and can even cut food waste. Keeping resolutions may be a bit easier by incorporating some of the meal guide ideas.
The meal guide is introduced in the winter edition of Wegmans Menu Magazine with a preview of the first week. The meal guide booklet is available in stores at stations in the Produce and Seafood Departments, and online at wegmans.com/mealguide. On the website, customers can also view the recipes and add products to a shopping list.
The meal guide comes from a team at Wegmans that includes culinary experts and Nutritionist Kirby Branciforte, RD. “I know from my own weight-loss experience what it takes to steer eating behaviors toward smarter choices,” she says. “I have a passion for helping others meet their health goals and then stay on track. The meal guide we created is a good place to start, whether you want a little help with meals or a lot. Some people may follow the guide closely, while others will draw occasional inspiration from it.”
Each day, the guide has suggestions for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and three snacks. Here are two sample days from Week 1:
Breakfast: Wegmans Strawberry Greek Yogurt Parfait
Snack: Banana boat
Lunch: Kale Salad with Thai Peanut Sauce and two Wegmans Organic Mini Whole Wheat Pita Pockets
Snack: Celery, Carrots, and Hummus
Dinner: Teriyaki Beef with Gai Lan and organic steamable brown rice
Snack: Organic Greek Yogurt Bark
Breakfast: Hardboiled eggs; apple
Snack: Organic Greek Yogurt, topped with Wegmans Organic Granola
Lunch: Wegmans Organic Tomato Bisque; Wegmans Organic Multigrain Roll
Snack: Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Wholesum Bar (coming soon!)
Dinner: Scallops, Peas & Angel Hair Pasta Arabbiata
Snack: Wegmans Organic Fruit & Nut Trail Mix
Over a week’s time, there’s a mix of prepared foods such as soups, pasta dishes or sushi. There are grab-and-go foods like the Fresh Cut Snacks from the Produce Department, and some recipe-based meals to make fresh at home – with recipes at wegmans.com.
Healthy shouldn’t be hard
That’s what the team believed, so they cut prep time by using convenient forms of good-for-you foods, like cleaned-and-cut fresh vegetables, steamable brown rice, or frozen, microwaveable steel-cut oats. “We know most customers – even those who love to cook – don’t have much time for meal preparation. We wanted to be sure this guide contained suggestions that are easy to live with,” says Branciforte. “We kept asking ourselves, ‘Is this a realistic plan to follow?’ If we weren’t sure, we changed things for more simplicity.”
Affordability was also on the team’s mind, so they included many foods that come in Family Pack sizes for exceptional value, and they took advantage of leftovers: The Turkey Sage Meatloaf the family has for dinner one night can reappear in a lunchtime sandwich the next day. Or, the Cashew Chili for dinner tonight will be great for lunch the next day.
“Leftovers save you time and money, and also reduce food waste,” says Branciforte. The meal guide reflects principles of healthy eating based on the Mediterranean Diet, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and Wegmans’ own Eat Well, Live Well principles:
Five or more cups of fruits and veggies
Three servings of low-fat dairy
Three or more servings of whole grains
A handful of nuts/seeds
One or two glasses of wine, if you wish
Two or more servings of seafood
Two or more servings of beans
Two or fewer servings of red or processed meats
While the meal guide isn’t designed as a weight-loss plan, it does provide tools for adopting a healthy pattern of eating with room for indulgence. “The guide has a space each week for jotting down something you want to focus on,” says Branciforte. “Perhaps it will be something you hadn’t tried before. However, if people use the guide and this space for writing down intentions, it can bring more accountability to their efforts.”
Combine the Meal Guide with a brisk, 30-minute walk most days of the week, and your 2015 will be off to a healthy start.