How to Plan Quick and Healthy Meals

19 Oct

Posted by Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training  0 Comment



Save time – prep for more than one meal.

It’s easier to stick to a healthy diet when you use these tips for quick and nutritious meal planning.

It seems to me there are two extremes when it comes to meal planning. There are people who never plan; they prefer to ‘wait and see’ what they feel like eating. They’re also the ones who, understandably, don’t have much discipline when it comes to sticking to a diet plan. On the other hand, there are those whose meal planning is just a tad too routine.

When I was in high school, my best friend’s mom stuck to the same menu week after week: Monday was chicken, Tuesday was spaghetti…you get the idea. The only time I’d accept an invitation for dinner was on Sunday—or, “surprise night.” Somewhere in between these extremes, though, lies a healthy approach to meal planning that doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. If your idea of meal planning means choosing between sausage or pepperoni on your pizza, listen up: here are some pointers that might help.

Quick Tips on Meal Planning

  • Keep a stash of quick, healthy recipes you can turn to. Simple and nutritious recipes are easy to find in cookbooks, magazines and on the web. When you’ve got a couple dozen to pick from, you can rotate them over a few weeks and your dinners won’t become too routine.
  • Always have healthy staples on hand. Keep veggies, fruits and seafood in the freezer, and keep your pantry stocked with staples like whole grains, canned beans, tuna and tomatoes, chicken or vegetable broth, spices and herbs. With these items on hand, you’ve got the start of a healthy soup, curry or pasta dish that you can throw together in no time.
  • Look for convenient shortcuts you can use.Frozen veggies can be substituted for fresh, and convenience items like pre-washed salad greens or pre-cut vegetables can really save you prep time. Whole cooked chickens or ready-seasoned meats from the grocery store are also great timesavers.
  • Prep once, cook twice. If a recipe calls for half of a chopped onion or bell pepper, don’t stop there—keep chopping and stash the rest for another day. As long as you’re browning ground turkey for spaghetti sauce, why not brown extra to use in tacos or stuffed peppers for tomorrow? Make extra brown rice or quinoa and freeze for another meal. The grains stay moist and reheat well in the microwave.
  • One dish meals generally combine your protein, your vegetable and your starch all in one dish. They’re healthy, they’re balanced and you’ll have a lot fewer pots and pans to wash.

If you’re organized enough to plan your meals for a few days, it does make life a lot easier. Once you’ve chosen your recipes, you can make your shopping list for the week. When you’ve got your menus down and your ingredients on hand, the meal planning battle is practically won.

Make it light at night-eat less at night

17 Jul
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  7 Comments


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Make it light at night | Susan Bowerman | Discover Good Nutrition

Sometimes when I talk with people who struggle with their weight, they’ll tell me that the reason they can’t lose weight is because they eat too much at night – “I eat,” they’ll say, “and then I just sit around and I don’t burn it off – that’s my problem”. While intuitively this might make sense, it doesn’t really work this way. Taking in too many calories – at any time of the day – is going to lead to weight gain.

The body just doesn’t micromanage calories that carefully. And here’s why: we evolved under conditions of food scarcity – in order to survive, we had to be able to store extra calories if we overate – whenever that might be – and then be able to call them up when we needed them. Our ancestors foraged for food all day long, and they needed to store (or use) all the calories they could get – whether they were eaten at dawn or around the fire at night.

The same thing is true for us today – it doesn’t matter if you eat your extra calories before the sun goes down or after – either way, your fat cells are more than happy to hang on to them for you to use later.

People probably think this way because they notice that they lose weight when they stop eating so much at night (or set some arbitrary rule, like “I won’t eat after 7 p.m.”). But it’s not the time of day that matters – if you were to eat your usual post-7 p.m. calories at 3 p.m. instead, you wouldn’t burn them off any faster.

A lot of people who overeat do the majority of their gorging late in the day and well into the evening. So when they stop eating at 7 PM, they cut out hundreds of calories that ordinarily would have consumed. They’re losing weight not because they stopped eating after a certain time – they’re losing weight because, well, they stopped eating.

One of the main reasons people overeat at night is, in fact, because they haven’t adequately fueled themselves during the day. Lots of people try to power through the day on very little food, then by the time they hit the door at night, they’re starving. And it’s easy to justify a bedtime binge if you tell yourself that you’ve “hardly eaten all day”.

There’s an old saying that you should eat ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper’. It’s still great advice, and I often encourage people to ‘diet at night’. Start the day with a healthy, high protein breakfast (like a protein shake, a high protein cereal with milk and fruit, yogurt with fruit, or a veggie omelet), have a healthy lunch with plenty of protein and veggies, and then have a large snack – almost like another meal – in the middle of the afternoon, at around 3 or 4 o’clock. Then, you won’t be starving at dinner, and you can then get by with something light – like a small salad with a little protein in it or a bowl of soup.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Guide to making a Herbalife Formula 1 shake | Herbalife Advice

24 May

Published on Jul 11, 2013

Let’s make an Herbalife Formula 1 shake. I’m Susan Bowerman, registered dietitian, and I’ve asked my friend Jan to join me today to make a shake. This video will teach Jan and viewers how to make an Herbalife Formula 1 shake in a few simple steps. First take the top off your blender. Then add 8 ounces of milk. I’m using low-fat milk, but you can use non-fat milk or soy milk if you want to. Usually we say don’t use rice milk or almond milk because they don’t have much protein.

Then you’re going to take your Formula 1 powder, and before you scoop it out, remember to shake the canister because the powder settles during transit. We want to make sure you get just the right amount of powder. After shaking the canister, open it, and put in two rounded scoops. There are multiple flavors ranging including vanilla and chocolate.

You could stop there, but I like to put ice in my shake. Ice gives it an extra smooth texture but, of course, it’s optional. Keep in mind, it’ll take a couple seconds longer to blend with ice.

Once you’ve combined your three ingredients; blend together, pour and drink. It’s really that easy!

For more nutrition advice from Herbalife, visit or take a look at my YouTube playlist: