Health Coach Ryan McGinn Allen is the founder of Kitchen Cupboard Coach. She specializes in giving women the support, practical tips and tools they need to navigate the grocery aisles, understand food labels, demystify healthy eating, gain confidence in the kitchen and create an at-home environment that fosters healthy eating and wellness.
1. Which items are always on your counter top?
Good knives, coffee maker, mini prep (small food processor), a basket filled with onions, shallots, a few potatoes and garlic; another basket with lemons, limes and bananas; a Mason jar filled with wooden cooking utensils and a whisk, wooden cutting board (I keep a plastic one under the sink to use for meat, fish and poultry), kitchen towels, iHome.
2. What's your best meal planning tip?
For easier meal planning, make sure those basics are stocked and utilized. You'll notice my "must-have" list includes a lot of oils, vinegars, syrups, mustard, etc. I found that once I learned to make a few simple, flavor packed sauces, spreads and salad dressings, I could easily create a satisfying meal and could reduce waste both in terms of food and packaging. I also cook a bunch of grains at once and store portions in the fridge to use with other meals throughout the next few days. A peek into a fridge full of wilted lettuce an half-used Wishbone salad dressings and BBQ sauce is sure to lead to a call to the neighborhood Dominoes.
3. Can you share a simple sauce recipe?
Here's a basic balsamic vinaigrette that I love and make all the time. It's from a book called Feeding the Whole Family, Recipes for Babies, Young Children and Their Parents by Cynthia Lair:p
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
I like to combine ingredients in a small, glass Mason jar, shake and serve. This recipe makes enough dressing for about 6 salads. It tastes great with dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale.
4. How long can grains be stored?
A long time as long as they're properly stored. It's a good idea to buy whole grains and dried beans at health food stores or Whole Foods where there's higher turnover for these types of products. In other words, buy grains where other people who buy grains would shop. You don't want to buy grains and beans that have been sitting in a bulk bin at the super market for 3 months before they sit in your pantry. Also, buy enough to fill a large Mason jar and buy more frequently instead of buying and storing large bags (unless you have room for some small, furry visitors).
You can read her tips for healthy meal planning as well.
Meal Planning 101
Tips, tricks and products to help you meal plan and grocery shop more seamlessly.