Meal Planning to Ease into September

  • Maintaining Mental & Physical Health with Food
  • Meal Planning Made Easy 
  • More of our Favourite New Meals and Snacks 

 

We know that back to school this year is going to look very different due to COVID-19. Many parents don’t feel comfortable with sending their kids back to classrooms, while on the other hand, the option to home school is not viable for all households. Whatever decision is made in the coming fall, one of the underlying factors we recognize to be crucial to parents is time. The constant balance between work, parenting, and learning how to set-up the newest online classroom app leaves little room for meal prep. 

For those heading back to work, it may become harder to leave your desk for a walk or to get lunch if it means that you’re going to have to wait in line to take an elevator or check-in. By the time you get home and make dinner, all you may have the energy for a quick take-out dinner and catching up on the show you’ve been half watching. With this in mind, healthy lunch options and snacks to get you through the day are going to have to do more than keep you full but also keep you energized. They'll have to be compact and pull their weight in taste and function.

In contrast, earlier this year while the city was under quarantine some of us suddenly found ourselves ambitiously active in the kitchen. Since then many new food topics and trends have bubbled to the surface, driving us to cook outside our comfort zone and to look for foods that help sustain good physical and mental health. There’s no need to abandon these practices in September because of lack of time, you just need to know where to look for the right products.

Throughout COVID-19 grocery stores didn’t stop, as an essential service, the pressure was on to adapt to ever-changing policy, health standards and increased demand (whether that means loading up on natural yeast for our bakers or easy frozen family meals). Less visible was the important work our chefs and merchandisers were doing in preparation for back to school and healthy lunch and dinner options for back to work. We wanted to create choices that included a balance between limited prep work while still keeping elevated for those newly-formed home chefs. We looked for snacks that were packed with healthy fats and energy that weren’t targeted to specific age brackets but could be shared at home amongst everyone. Finally, we wanted to make sure that come September, though there would be a lot of uncertainty when it came to scheduling, we would have dependable, recognizable foods that could sustain you throughout the day.  


Maintaining Mental and Physical Health with Food

Pusateri's team preparing health meal saladsWithin different parts of the gut, many invisible microbes are hard at work chatting and catching up (think of them as surface-level friends, that’s where most of the microbes can be found). Kind of like a bad reality show with scheming housewives, the gut records the microbe’s conversation through the help of receptors and sensors and shares this gossip with our brain. Then they all go to Vegas together even though they hate each other. We’re kidding, partially… the Vagus nerve is actually the main route for the connection between gut and brain, while the connection itself is known as the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The gut is a super complex system that holds the highest number of immune cells as well as,the largest number of nerve cells outside the brain and spinal cord, the largest number of hormonal or endocrine cells.” Due to this, the gut is very sensitive to our varying moods. While mild stress can actually help the body with things like digestion, intense stress can have serious long term effects by sending our homeostasis out of balance.The connection between the brain and gut sounds pretty self-explanatory when we hear someone talk about it online, or have a friend mention it in passing when discussing the mother yeast they have growing in their cupboard for sourdough. You might nod, “yes, it makes sense that the whole body is connected... somehow, that’s cool you’re so into bread now…” But what role can we actually play in impacting this connection? Is it through what we consume? The answer to this is yes, in part.

Readily available fast-foods or even seemly healthy options that are packed with disguised corn by-products cause such stresses and can have adverse results like Type-2 diabetes. Consumer Reports recorded that “In 2019, U.S. consumers spent around $5.1 billion on digestive-health products such as antacids, laxatives, antidiarrheals, and other stomach remedies, and that figure is projected to increase…”  while in fact, the solution lies in your diet. By including whole foods that contain probiotics, prebiotics and/or fiber into your meal plan you can improve your system naturally. 

Prebiotic foods are non-digestible items that move through the body to help nourish the growth of healthy micro-organisms and work symbiotically with probiotics. Prebiotic foods include wheat bran, onions, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, barley and apples and others. 

Probiotic Foods are useful microorganisms that are created through the fermentation process. Foods such as kimchi, miso, sourdough bread, yogurt, kombucha, and others bring good bacteria into our system that combat bad microbes.

Fibre is found in plant foods and helps to regulate the speed at which food moves through your gut, making it a crucial factor when it comes to staying regular. Examples are peas, broccoli, figs, berries, some cereals, beans, lentils, artichokes, avocados, pears, brown rice, and chia seeds to name a few.

Here are some of our newest meal kits and snacks that we created with balance in mind. 

Our Picks for Meal Solutions and Snacks 

spaghetti squash and filet mignon meal kit

Pusateri's new Meal Kits are chef-driven creations that come complete with three courses and fresh, interesting ingredients. We've done the tedious prep-work and left the mains to be cooked just as you like them for a restaurant-quality dinner for four. Kits will change from week to week to keep things interesting and you can add one of our select wines to top off an evening at home. Meal Kits are pre-order only, with delivery and pick-up available, learn more about them here. 

Look out for this upcoming meal kit: Warm spaghetti squash salad, Filet mignon with truffle cream, mushrooms & asparagus, and Dulce de leche flan for dessert.

Spaghetti squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Due to its low calorie and high fibre content, it’s a great pasta substitute. With asparagus, you can make sure you have your prebiotics included too.

Cheesy roasted cauliflower, Halibut lemon caper sauce with quinoa & black bean salad + Seasonal fruit salad with coconut yogurt 

The star of this meal is the Halibut which contains great Omega-3 fatty acids, paired with Black beans which are high in protein and fibre. Save room for our yummy coconut yogurt for dessert. 

 

Meal Bowls are ideal for an easy lunch, consisting of complex protein-rich salads. Pair your ready-to-go lunch with one of our 'modern snacks' that are adult & kid-friendly and you'll be set for the day. 

tropical shrimp meal bowl

Tropical Shrimp Bowl - Tajin spiced pineapple, mango, edamame, pickled ginger and vermicelli noodle salad 

Edamame is rich in fibre and antioxidants while the Tajin pineapple is tangy sweet and spicy. The pickled ginger in this dish brings good bacteria as a probiotic and into the system and can help with anti-inflammation.

 

chimichurri flank steak bowl

Chimichurri Flank Steak Bowl  – butternut squash, arugula, red quinoa, oyster mushrooms, fried onions 

The quinoa in this dish will provide fibre, proteins, and vitamins and minerals. Raw arugula packs important vitamin C and the butternut squash is the perfect savoury element to balance out its peppery flavour. 

  

bayfield provisions granola

New to our shelves, Bayfield Provisions Granola is made in small batches and contains no gluten or refined sugars. Try Granola No.3 which is made with dark Dutch cocoa, real espresso, nutty cacao nibs, dried sour cherries and chunks of toasty hazelnut. Combine in with your favourite yogurt for fibre and probiotics all in one meal. 

 

 

Also new to shelves are 'Nufs Superfood snacks. This plant-based super-food is packed with great vitamins and nutrients. Try their Ginger Orange Walnut to get the benefits of ginger as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant (not to mention its spicy-deliciousness) with 4 grams of fibre.