One Pan Fits All

By: Ryan Vance, RDN, LD


As the daylight lasts a little longer and the temperatures continue to climb, it gets harder to feel motivated to stick with everyday tasks. I, for one, want to take every opportunity to spend as much time outside enjoying the beautiful Boise weather. One of my favorite ways to save time around meals is to use the humble sheet pan-- the simple sheet of metal that allows several items to be cooked all at once. 
Believe it or not, you can make several healthy, crowd-pleasing, complete meals with a few simple ingredients, and some spices that satisfy, energize and save time. 
So break out the sheet pans, get the whole family fed, and then get out and enjoy all that sunshine.  
Below are a few simple sheet pan solutions for success 

  1. Select in Season: Selecting foods that are in season will ensure that you get the most nutrients, best flavors and, at times, can be cheaper than out of season items. Check out this website for a list of vegetables and when they are in season. With such a huge selection, I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you.  Also, by eating items in season it will ensure no one will ever get bored with the options.

  2. The Cut: As much as possible try to cut everything to the same size. This will ensure that they all cook evenly and will likely be done at the same time.

  3. Don’t Get Stuck: Utilize aluminum foil, parchment paper, and nonstick cooking spray if needed to ensure food won’t become forever glued to your sheet pan. This will also make clean up super easy and fast!

  4. Cooking Time: Put all ingredients of the same size together, don’t be afraid to add or stagger cooking times of food that may cook faster than others. For example, root vegetable and proteins like chicken will take longer to cook. Just add softer vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus or peppers to the sheet pan for the last 10-15min.

  5. Spice it Up: Adding oil, salt and pepper are the basics and often all that’s needed. You can also add additional flavors with spices. I love trying new things and often times I’m surprised at how well it turns out. A few great ones to start with are cumin, fennel seeds, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme. Curry powder is another one of my favorites.

  6. Is it Done Yet: Don’t be afraid to use a fork to check the doneness of vegetables and always us a thermometer to check any animal products. Here’s a link for proper cooking temps.

  7. Garnish: Once done cooking feel free to add fresh herbs. These will add flavor and color to your dish. Some of my go to’s are cilantro, scallions and chives. Also a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime is great.

For inspiration or ideas simply Google “sheet pan meals” and pick one that looks good to you!

The Plain Things are the Main Things!


By: Ryan Vance, RDN

Eating well is essential for us all. If you want to lead a healthy and fit life, you’ll need to put some effort into it. Nowadays, it can be confusing with all the information coming at us from so many different directions. One thing to keep in mind is that we often spend a majority of time focusing on the things that provide minimal returns to our health. If we can shift our time and attention to the things that will have a greater impact on our health, we’ll start to see real change towards a lifestyle that is sustainable and healthy.

Below are a few things to consider:

What’s your calorie cadence?

Basically, are you eating three meals a day? The evidence continues to show that consistently skipping meals is difficult for our bodies to handle. Long periods between meals increases our chances for weight gain in the long run. Meals should be about four hours apart, and consist of a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, with smaller, healthy snacks in between. Following this pattern can lead to healthier choices.

Map your meals

Planning meals ahead of time is by far one of the best ways to stick to a plan. By having meals planned out a couple of days ahead of time there is less temptation to go the route of fast and convent options that tend to carry more salt, sugar and saturated fat than we need. Meal planning does take time, but it’s time well spent, and hey you’re worth it.  Spending some time on the weekend planning meals for the upcoming week is usually best.

Is there food in your food?

Its sounds pretty easy, but looking for and purchasing foods that are as close to their natural state is a great rule of thumb for choosing nutritious foods. The more we can shift our grocery dollars away from prepackaged/processed items the better we’ll be doing. With that said, don’t forget there are still tons of great nutritious items that come in a can, bag or box. Canned fruits and vegetables are great and packed with nutrition: look for items canned in light syrup or low sodium versions. The frozen foods isle is a great place to stock up on fruits and vegetables that won’t spoil as quickly.

If you’re interested in digging a little deeper, or in fine tuning your nutrition schedule an appointment with our Dietitian.

Do you have a question you’d like answered by Center for Lifetime Health Dietitian? Email us at