The goal of our meal plans has always been: 1) that the recipes are healthy, 2) that our kids will eat it, and 3) that we always save a little room for chocolate. Numbers 2 & 3 are pretty straight forward, but we wanted to be sure that we were also nailing the healthy part of our meal plan creations.

healthy meal planning, family-friendly meal plansWhen we first met with Lynne Hutchison (our new Eat the Chocolate Nutritionist!) we knew she was a perfect fit to our team. 1) She loves chocolate. 2) She believes in balance. And, 3) she has the education, resources and training to back up what she says about nutrition.

One of Lynne’s first tasks with Eat the Chocolate was to tweak our original Back to Basics Meal Plan to be sure it fit the recommendations and Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Not only did she help us revamp a few recipes here and there of our original plan, she actually came up with a signature Eat the Chocolate Meal Plan Formula. Much like pieces of a puzzle, this meal plan formula ensures that all recipes in our meal plans fit together and account for the recommended portions, nutrients and guidelines needed in one week! The bottom line is that we now feel confident that we’ve got the “healthy” part of our meal plans covered. 🙂

We sat down with Lynne to talk about some of the changes she made. (Spoiler alert: Lynne was able to keep our meal plans healthy without compromising our need to be kid-friendly and, most importantly, still include a little chocolate

Q: What did you like about our original Eat the Chocolate Back to Basics 3-Week Meal Plan?

A: The Back to Basics meal plan is a fantastic introduction to eating whole, real foods. The meal plan is almost like a paint-by-number. It invites participants to develop a healthy eating pattern with family-friendly, kid-tested recipes that meet their nutritional needs. The meal plan opens the doors for healthy shopping, cooking, and eating. It takes away the guesswork and leads to the development of healthy nutrition life skills. 

dietary guidelines for americansQ: What guidelines did you use to create the new signature Eat the Chocolate Meal Plan Formula?

A: The ETC formula provides daily portion recommendations for fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains, dairy, and healthy fat. The formula was based on recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an evidence-based resource that provides food group intake recommendations that help promote healthy weight maintenance and reduce the risk of weight-related chronic diseases. Each day of the B2B ETC meal plan meets the requirements of the formula, providing you with the appropriate amount of foods from each food group.

Q: What parts of the original Back to Basics Meal Plan did we need to say goodbye to?

A: Protein, protein, protein! The orginal Back to Basics meal plan had a large emphasis on protein. While protein is an integral part of a healthy diet, most Americans consume too much protein. With our new ETC formula, we worked hard to balance this protein with more whole grains and vegetables.

healthy meal plan, meal planningQ: What needed to be added to the revamped Back to Basics Meal Plan?

A: More whole grains and more vegetables! Whole grains and vegetables are a huge part of our fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. The new ETC formula emphasizes these as nutrient-rich additions to our plates and health.

Q: How can we use the new formula beyond this new Back to Basics Meal Plan?

The best part is that the formula can be used anytime you are planning out your weekly or daily meals and want to meet the recommended nutritional guidelines for optimum health! Nearly all healthy recipes you find on the internet, in recipe books, or in Grandma’s recipe box can be categorized using ETC’s formula and plugged in to your meal plan. This ability to easily swap recipes while still fitting into a healthy meal pattern makes meal planning simple and exemplifies the unique nature of the ETC formula.

To learn more about our new Eat the Chocolate Meal Plan Formula, be sure to subscribe to our blog for tips, tricks, and info about upcoming events, classes and programs!

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