Romaine Calm and Start the Year Off Healthy with Meal Planning Tips
Blue Cross dietitians explain how you can take small steps to eat well for less money

Jan. 11, 2023

BATON ROUGE, La –  Many Louisianians put healthy eating at the top of their New Year’s resolutions. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s registered dietitians are helping set families up for success by sharing healthy eating tips and resources. 

Knowing what to put on your plate can be tricky and even overwhelming with all of the diet trends and “healthy” food labels. Dietitians Katherine Langlois and Laura Vidrine, who are part of Blue Cross’ in-house clinical team of health coaches, explain that healthy eating starts with planning ahead. 

“Meal planning is important, and studies show that people who cook at home tend to eat fewer carbs, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all, even if they aren’t trying to lose weight,” Langlois said.

Langlois and Vidrine got into the kitchen to film a series of short videos in which they share their go-to meals to cook and eat with their families. The dietitians share their personal meal-prep strategies and discuss how making small changes over time can lead to lasting health. 

You can watch their “How to Fix a Delicious & Nutritious Meal” series on Blue Cross’ “Healthy Eating” YouTube playlist to get recipe ideas, including:

Hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and green beans
Pork tenderloin with corn and broccoli
Rotisserie chicken with peas and salad
Air fryer meatballs with pasta and cabbage
Red beans and rice with sausage and greens
Fish tacos with coleslaw 

“Meal prepping can help save money and time, help with weight control, and contribute to a more nutritionally balanced diet,” Vidrine said. “Meal planning can even reduce stress, since there are fewer last-minute decisions about what to eat or rushed preparation.”

Dietitian Tips for Plating Balanced Meals

Put veggies first. Try to fill half of your plate filled with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, okra and peppers, before adding anything else. That will help you make sure you get enough vegetables and aren’t overdoing the starches and proteins, which are not as nutrient rich. You can eat fresh, frozen or canned vegetables, but read the labels to make sure there is limited added salt, fat and sugar. 

Pick lean proteins. Healthy protein choices include lean meat, chicken, turkey and fish. If you choose to use other cuts of meat like beef, pick the cuts with the least amount fat and saturated fat. Tofu and nuts can also be a good source of plant-based protein. Your healthy protein should be about one-fourth of your plate.  

Watch your carbs. Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, include grains, fruits, beans and starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. Pick whole grains and food high in fiber as your carb choices when you can and try to limit refined and processed foods. Use a measuring cup to dish up your carbs on the last fourth of your plate. This will help you be less likely to overserve. Make sure to read labels or look up the serving size for one portion so you know how much you’re eating.  

“A lot of people assume carbs are bad, and that is absolutely not true – the key is portion control,” said Vidrine. “Bread, rice, pasta and starchy vegetables have a place in a healthy diet. It’s more important to focus on making sure you’re aware of how much you’re eating and not adding lots of fat, salt or sugar.” 

Have healthy foods on hand. When you have healthy frozen and canned foods at home, you are less likely to dine out, where you’re more likely to get meals high in sodium, fat and sugar. Instead, with some grocery planning, you can be prepared to make a quick and healthier meal at home. Doing this leads to healthier habits not only for you, but your entire household. Get your family members involved in suggesting healthy recipes they’d like to try or adding items to the grocery list.  

Talk to your doctor about your nutrition concerns. Your primary care provider knows about your health conditions and can advise you about your specific nutrition needs and eating habits. For example, if you have diabetes, hypertension or other chronic conditions that can be very affected by what you eat, your doctor can provide healthy eating resources and information tailored to those conditions. Everyone should have at least one checkup a year with a primary care provider, so make plans to schedule your 2023 visit soon and get ahead on your healthy New Year habits. 

All year long, you can visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube page to see short videos with Blue Cross’ dietitians and other clinical team members on health topics, monthly wellness observances and more. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA to see live photos and posts from the food-packing events and updates on progress. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok. .

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.