When I counsel people in nutrition, many of my clients lament that they are too busy to eat nutritious meals. While I sympathize with them, I assure them that it can be done! My husband and I both work full-time and pursue a number of other interests, but we make a point of preparing simple, healthful meals that are delicious and I can assure you “It’s not that hard!”
Here are some GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR HEALTHFUL MEAL PREPARATION:
- Use your freezer: stock up on frozen protein, veggies and fruit; freeze extra servings of meals and snacks you prepare (even smoothies!).
- Learn to prepare simple, healthful meals made of “real food” at home, minimizing dining out if possible. You’ll not only eat more healthfully, you’ll save money.
- Examine the number of ingredients when purchasing packaged foods and beverages. The fewer ingredients the better and be sure you can identify those ingredients without googling them.
- Set up a grocery delivery account. It saves time, reduces temptation and is very affordable.
- Watch the liquid calories! Juice, soda, alcohol calories all add up to empty calories.
- Focus on high nutrient density, but low-calorie/high volume density foods 80 percent of the time. Allow some room to enjoy dessert, alcohol and/or fast food (or whatever non-nutritive calories you enjoy) the other 20 percent of the time.
- Listen to your body – eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re 2/3 full.
- Most of all: be proactive rather than reactive with your meals and snacks! Planning ahead doesn’t take much extra time and it makes all of the difference!
SAMPLE, HEALTHFUL EASY MEALS:
Here are examples of easy, healthful meals you can make in a jiffy!
Breakfast or Brunch: scramble 2 or 3 whole eggs with kale or spinach and mushrooms. Slice avocado to garnish and add a side of fruit and a glass of milk.
Lunch: entrée salad with chicken, black beans, salsa, tomatoes, avocado, field greens or romaine lettuce; cup of tomato or butternut squash soup
Dinner: grilled, broiled or poached salmon with dill; green beans, broccoli or brussels sprouts; baked sweet potato with butter or olive oil.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt (plain, full fat); blueberries; an ounce (palm full of nuts – walnuts, almonds or pistachios; slice of whole grain toast spread with peanut butter or almond butter or save as mid-morning snack.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich with can of water packed albacore tuna mixed with Tbsp of mayo, baby spinach leaves, sliced beets, whole grain or sourdough bread.
Dinner: Grass fed skirt or flank steak (marinated in tamari or soy sauce) broiled or grilled, cauliflower rice, drizzled with olive oil or melted butter; large salad with romaine and red leaf lettuce, roman tomatoes, broccoli slaw, mung bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts; avocado with seasoned rice vinegar and olive or avocado oil.
Dessert can be healthful. Here are some ideas: frozen cherries, berries or frozen banana slices in 2% or whole milk – let the milk sit out for an hour some it’s close to room temperature and then just add frozen berries or banana slices and stir. “Dessert potato”: bake a small sweet potato and drizzle with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spices. Frozen smoothie: freeze half of your next smoothie and enjoy later as a frozen dessert.