Eating Well 9 Mantras for Healthy Meal Planning

Disclaimer: I’m getting a little personal today, folks.

After two kids, 11 years of marriage (to a great guy who loves pizza almost as much as I do) and a photo of myself that I nearly didn’t recognize, I decided to make some lifestyle changes last summer.

It’s a bit surreal to share this with the world, but I’ve lost 60 pounds. And I’ve done it cooking with Tastefully Simple products every day.

Now let’s be clear: this isn’t medical or diet advice. This also isn’t a recommendation to eat pound cake on a daily basis. (Alas, I know. But you can – and should – still enjoy the splurge sometimes. It’s totally worth it.) This is just my personal two cents, along with a few tips for planning healthier meals.

Because here’s the simple truth: a lot of Tastefully Simple’s seasonings, sauces and cooking oils can make foods that are good for you taste even better. And that means you’re more likely to make them every day.

Which is the whole idea, right? Right.

So if you’re trying to make smarter choices, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

9 Tips for Making More Balanced Meals

  1. Grill, baby, grill.
    Have you tried the new Easy Grillin’ 10 Meals & More Collection yet? DO IT. Seriously.

  2. Inside you’ll find all the products you need to make 10 grilled meals (and more), including recipe cards, grocery lists, you name it. This weekend I made Tarragon Grilled Shrimp, featured in this collection. The result? Skewers of buttery, herb-crusted deliciousness.

    Serve with quinoa and lemon wedges, along with fresh asparagus roasted with Green Tea Peppercorn Seasoning and Roasted Garlic Infused Oil. So fresh. So easy. So good. (You’ll find the full recipe below.)

    Tarragon Grilled Shrimp

  3. Feel good about your choices with TS Eat Well.
    When you see this label on Tastefully Simple products, it means there are no artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners or colors inside. No MSG. No hydrogenated fats. And that means helping your family eat well just got a little easier.

  4. Experiment with different seasonings.
    Don’t be afraid to play with your food! Unique seasonings are a terrific way to add flavor – without the fat. (If you haven’t tasted some of the new Spring-Summer ones yet, just ask your consultant to hook you up.)

  5. Eat your veggies. Really.
    Your mother was right. Buy enough fresh options to keep your crisper drawer stocked for the week, along with a couple microwave steamer bags for your freezer.

    In our house, we typically have broccoli, asparagus and sweet mini peppers on hand, since they pair nicely with almost everything. Drizzle your favorite veggies with Roasted Garlic Infused Oil or Avocado Oil, sprinkle ‘em with Garlic Pepper Seasoning and kosher salt, and roast at 450°F for about 15 minutes. Boom. Done.

  6. Combine one lean protein + one sauce. Chicken. Ground turkey. Pork tenderloin. There are so many options. All you need to do is brush on a little Honey Teriyaki Sauce, Bayou Bourbon™ Glaze or Smoky Bacon BBQ Sauce to make them taste amazing.

  7. Visit your seafood counter. We make seafood about twice a week, especially heart-healthy salmon. In addition to being a very lean protein, fish and shellfish cook really quickly, too, so you can get dinner on the table fast. Win-win!

  8. Follow the 80/20 rule. I love this mantra. Make good choices 80% of the time and just enjoy yourself the other 20%. Life is short, my friends. Eat a juicy cheeseburger or a slice of cake, and savor every single bite.

  9. Try lighter natural substitutions. There are a lot of simple ways to lighten up your favorite dishes, like substituting plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or using unsweetened almond or cashew milk instead of traditional dairy milk. (But don’t be fooled into eating turkey bacon. There are limits, people.)

  10. Make your meal plan on the weekends. The old adage is true: failing to plan can be planning to fail. We all hit the drive-thru from time to time. But eating healthier typically means eating at home more often. Figuring out your meal plan ahead of time for the week will save you money, calories and regret.

What are your best tips for keeping it all in balance? Or do you have a favorite light recipe or meal idea to share? Post your comments right here. We’d love to hear from you!

- Jen

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Tarragon Grilled Shrimp


  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 packet Shallot Tarragon Compound Butter Mix
  • 1½ pounds (16-20 count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water


  1. In small bowl, combine butter and Shallot Tarragon Compound Butter Mix. Whisk to combine. Place half in a small serving bowl. Set aside.
  2. Prepare grill to medium heat. Thread shrimp on soaked skewers. Sprinkle both sides of shrimp with Seasoned Salt.
  3. Place skewers on grill. Grill, turning once, until cooked through and opaque in color, about 6-8 minutes, brushing with remaining butter sauce occasionally. Discard the basting sauce.
  4. Serve skewers with reserved butter sauce for dipping.

Makes 6 servings.

Make Ahead & Freeze: Prepare step 1; transfer to a quart resealable freezer bag. Place shrimp in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Place both bags in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Seal well, label and freeze. Thaw completely. Continue with step 2, microwaving butter to melt.

Tips and Hints

  • While it’s often recommended to peel your own shrimp for better flavor and texture, it’s a messy and time-consuming process. Buy peeled shrimp for faster prep. (I won’t tell if you won’t.)
  • After threading shrimp onto your skewers, pat them dry with a paper towel. You’ll get a better sear on the outside by removing excess moisture.
  • During the last 1-2 minutes of grilling, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over shrimp skewers.
  • Serve shrimp over quinoa with grilled asparagus or roasted broccoli.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from TS Shaker Jars!! TS spice blends are the greatest thing ever for eating healthy. No fat, clean eating, and great taste! The sauces are great too. So much flavor with just a brush.
Date published: 2016-05-08
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