Key pieces for fall

Even if you don’t read fashion magazines or blogs, the headlines are everywhere: key pieces we need for fall! Let me guess – women need a crisp white blouse and a little black dress while men could use a navy blazer.

Those are staples. The basics. The starting point.

Let’s think of meal prep in the same way. What are the MUST HAVES? What are our key foods? What are the staples, the basics?

It might be time to check out the pantry (or cupboards in my case) and the freezer. Do we have items that, in a pinch, will make a great meal? Not just a good meal.

A great meal leaves you feeling satisfied. An OK meal leaves you raiding the cabinets for snacks an hour later!

You want a meal you and your family look forward to. Do we have alternatives other than cold cereal at home?

A meal, we nutritionists think, should consist of at least three of the basic five My Plate food groups (which you remember as protein, grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy). While we’re not huge animal protein eaters at our house, I think protein is where most people start. Do you have chicken in the freezer? Hamburger or steaks small enough to thaw easily? Our “go to” is shrimp. It’s frozen, we love it; it’s versatile. Ditto eggs. Canned black beans are another option for us.

Our grain cupboard is easy. Do you have one? Risotto takes a half hour but some of our Asian noodles take only 4 minutes to cook and the rest of our grains are somewhere in between. We have dried pasta, rice, orzo, couscous, oats, barley and quinoa which are plain and at the ready.

Fruits and veggies we have readily because I have the time to grocery/market shop. But frozen options are a great idea for those who are time pressed. A jarred tomato sauce might be helpful too.

Besides milk, cheese fits into the dairy group, stores well and can be called upon for a gourmet grilled cheese, cheese omelet…well you get the picture.

Think through your quickest meals and have the ingredients on hand. These are your key pieces, staples, basics – your starting point. They’ll get you through the season well fed.

Make your own fast food meal at home to be well.


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