What's for Dinner Mom?

balanced meals

Meal planning seems to be perplexing from recent inquires I’ve received.  Folks wonder what constitutes a Well-Balanced Meal. Here’s how I design the day. Breakfast, a very important meal, is typically a warm whole grain cereal (like steel cut oats, millet with apples, fried brown rice) with toppings or a plate of eggs, vegetables and whole grain toast. For a vegetarian dinner I put together a legume (beans, tofu, tempeh) with a whole grain and vegetables. “Grain, bean, green” is a handy mantra. For meals that feature animal protein like fish, chicken or beef, I pair it with a starchy vegetable (like sweet potatoes) or a whole grain (like quinoa) and a couple of other vegetables. I learned from a student that the Australians sum it up as “meat and 3 vegetables”. And call me lazy but lunch is leftovers from dinner. There’s a whole section about this in my book Feeding the Whole Family. Click here to view 27 Meal Plans using recipes from Feeding the Whole Family. Many of the recipes are featured in our videos. Or check out our menus page.  Also the current issue of Mothering Magazine features an article I wrote on the topic. You guys have any ideas to add ? I’m all ears.

2 thoughts on “What's for Dinner Mom?

  1. Hello Cynthia,
    I read your article in Mothering and have a few questions. I have recently been reading Sally Fallon’s ‘Nourishing Traditions’ and although some things are similar, others are different. I’m wondering if you can comment on soaking of seeds, grains, nuts and legumes. Fallon recommends soaking for over 8 hours, all seeds, nuts, grains, legumes. You do not mention anything about this in your Sept/Oct Mothering article, even though your recipes includes pumpkin seeds, bread etc. She also advises against tofu because it has not been soaked or fermented (and contains phytates), like miso has, for example. However, you use tofu in your recipes. I’m wondering if you can share your knowledge as it seems to be different from Fallon’s!
    Deb Purcell

  2. Hi Deb,
    I agree with a lot of the Nourishing Traditions creed but tend to be careful about adopting it lock stock and barrell. Sally Fallon and her colleagues site a lot of research to make their case. Some of their research is fairly old (1950’s) and some studies not very far-reaching. All this must be taken into consideration. Certainly Weston Price’s tome – Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is brilliant and must be studied.Remember that nutrition is a very young science. We do not have very many definitive answers about how food affects the body.
    I lecture for the public often. Making the case to just quit drinking soda and eating take-out food is a stretch for many people. To suggest that they try more quinoa and chickpeas, learn to cook them and also soak them for 8 hours before – well, I’d lose them. I have also read a lot about phytates. You have to be eating an overall very mineral deficient diet and depending on whole grains and beans for most of your intake to see a clinical effect. The phytates in the soybean are in the skin – which are discarded in tofu-making as it is made from the milk of the bean. I feel that Kayla Daniels was pretty hard on the soybean. I do not see the harm in occasional tofu, miso and tempeh. The bean does contain nice fatty acids. I do see the harm in consuming soy protein isolate regularly.
    The most important aspect of this is the fear factor. I want to eat food for quality, flavor and enjoyment. I cook my grains, vegetables, nuts and beans so that they taste good. As long as I am working with food that could be grown in my backyard or made in my kitchen I feel good about serving and eating it and I try not to stress about all of the invisible micronutrients that I may or may not be getting.

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