Preparing and eating meals at home or taking on the go does not have to equate to hours in the kitchen. With a little prep work on the weekend, you can have a week’s worth of healthy meals to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Below are a few simple steps to ensure a week of healthy eating.
Write it down! Spending time to make a shopping list and create menu ideas for the week ahead is optimal for saving time and money. A list will make weekly shopping more manageable and also provide a solid plan for meals, especially dinner. And if you don’t want to do all your shopping at once, you can refer back to the list for ideas.
Plan ahead! Take a quick inventory of your fridge and pantry so you can navigate the grocery store and only purchase what you need for the week. Shop the perimeter of the store first, as that is where you will find the healthiest foods (fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and dairy). You can also stock up on staples like whole grains, dried herbs and spices, canned broth, beans, and eggs.
Time to cook! It may be easier to prepare meals for the week on the same day you shop. Begin with foods that require longer cook times, such as brown rice or soups. Let hot foods cool to room temperature before you store or freeze. Cook chicken breasts ahead to use on salads or in stir-fry dishes. Wash and dry lettuce so it’s ready to use for salads. You can also slice or chop veggies that you will use throughout the week in salads, stir-fry dishes, snacks, or roasting (peppers, carrots, celery, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, winter squash, zucchini, summer squash). If you are pressed for time, you can purchase chopped vegetables or cut fruit. In addition, buying a whole rotisserie chicken is a huge time-saver for a quick dinner.
Time to Eat! Below are a few suggestions for weekly meals:
Smoothies – prepare fresh fruit such as bananas, strawberries, and pineapple and freeze in individual bags. Or you can buy frozen fruit and add a fresh banana. Using fresh-squeezed orange juice or almond milk is an easy way to add flavor or creaminess without added calories/sugar.
Vegetable Quiche Cups: Combine egg whites, cheese, spinach, green or red pepper, onion and a dash of hot pepper and bake in muffin tins for a high-protein breakfast on the go. FULL RECIPE HERE.
Greek Salad – Using the washed lettuce you prepared early in the week, toss together a with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, olives, and avocado. Add chicken breast for added protein if you’re extra hungry!
Chicken Caesar Salad – Combine the washed Romaine lettuce with cooked chicken, Parmesan cheese, and a simple dressing. Be sure to measure out the serving size of the dressing so extra calories and fat don’t sneak their way into your salad.
Minestrone Soup: Prepared ahead of time, this is a hearty meal to eat at home or pack to go. (RECIPE HERE)
Cut veggies with hummus or ranch dressing; homemade trail mix (RECIPE HERE), or fruit salad.
Zucchini Noodles and Marinara Sauce – You can spiral the zucchini ahead of time and combine with jarred sauce or homemade marinara and top with Parmesan cheese.
Roasted Veggies and chicken sausage – Since the sausage is fully-cooked, you can slice and pan-fry with prepared roasted vegetables.
Stir-fry vegetables with brown rice – Using the rice you cooked earlier in the week, stir-fry in sesame oil and/or olive oil with chopped vegetables (broccoli, carrots, onion, cauliflower, and red peppers) and serve over rice.
Quote of the week:
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. ~ Jim Rohn
Recipe of the Week: Easy Greek Salad with Avocado
Field Greens or Romaine Lettuce (washed and chopped)
1 large tomato chopped
1 medium cucumber chopped
¼ cup Kalamata olives
¼ Feta cheese
Fresh ground pepper
Red onion (optional)
For dressing: Wisk juice of one lemon with one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and toss well with dressing. Enjoy!