I have been enjoying grilled chicken, sirloin steak and fish for lunch the past couple of weeks even though I haven’t taken the cover off the grill.  How do I do it?  I grill extra when I have the marinade prepared and the grill heated.  When everything is cooked I make 2 ounce portions, just enough to top my salad.   Then, before work, I prepare my lunch by putting greens and whatever raw vegetables I have in the vegetable drawer  –  carrots, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, or cucumbers – in a plastic container, add one of my meat/fish packets and a piece of fruit to my lunch bag and I am good to go.  When lunch time comes, I finish defrosting my meat/fish packet, slice it up and top my salad.  Yum.

The keys to this whole process are 1) working quickly so your food doesn’t sit out at room temperature for too long and 2)getting a tight seal.  Meat frozen incorrectly will suffer freezer burn in a few weeks. This means that air dries the meat and causes loss of flavor.

Pack foods in quantities that will be used for a single meal.  I used foil because I have very small amounts.  If you are freezing several portions, plastic freezer bags (not plastic storage bags, they are different) or commercial freezer paper may work better.   When packing several cuts in one package, put two layers of freezer paper between the pieces. This makes it easy to separate pieces for fast thawing.

When using plastic bags, take care to get all the air out of the bag before you seal it.  Press air from the bag by beginning at the bottom of the bag and moving toward the unfilled top part of the bag to prevent air from reentering.  Or you can use a clean straw inserted in the bag and inhale to remove the air before quickly closing the bag.

Illustrations in Methods of Wrapping show how to wrap food using foil, drugstore wrap, or butcher wrap.

After your food is wrapped, label it with the date and contents.  This helps you remember which foods need to be eaten first and what is in each package.

The last step is to store your food in a location in the freezer where you can easily grab it when you are making your lunch.

-pointers from Peggy

100-Calorie Snacks…Convenience vs. Cost

100-calorie snack packs are a temptation when I am trying to keep my calories under control…I’m tempted because they are convenient, but I always balk at the price. Plus, most of them are higher in sugar and fat than I usually eat. Try these delicious 100-calorie options instead!

2 cups raspberries

28 grapes

1 cup blueberries

1 cup mango chunks

½ medium cantaloupe

15 strawberries dipped in 1⁄4 cup Cool Whip Lite

45 steamed edamame (green soybeans)

½ red bell pepper dipped in 3 tablespoons hummus

½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 5 strawberries

29 pistachios

5 Nabisco Nilla Wafers

-pointers by Peggy

Eating Smart on the Run

Here’s a great video to watch with your whole family! The Fast Food Experiment takes a look at the ever-increasing size of food portions offered by fast food restaurantsa trend that’s continued over the last two decades. Some of the worst cases of portion distortion are triple burgers, foot-long sandwiches, full-pound burgers, huge orders of fries, oversized burritos, and super-large soft drinks.

This raises the question, “So, what is the proper serving size for me and my family?”  To determine the amount of food in a given serving, it is important to learn how to estimate the proper portion size.

Last, but not least…to cut down on large portions, try ordering from the kid’s menu, order an appetizer with a side salad, split a meal with a friend or family member, or take leftovers home.

– pointers by Peggy

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