Top 3 Make-Ahead Healthy Meals for Busy folks

Hey everyone! (if anyone is out there)

One of the biggest things I hear from patients and clients is a lack of time to prepare healthy food. There is a conception out there that healthy foods require for.ev.er to cook and are out of control expensive, not something that can easily fit into your lifestyle. Friends, this is just plain wrong. With a little education and ad-browsing, you can make some quick budget- and waist-friendly meals. Oh, and did I mention they are delicious? Read on for my 3 favorites when I’m pressed for time. These are things I will make when I get home at 9pm after a 10 hour day starving, and then save in the fridge for lunch the next two days. Delicious, nutritious, and fast!

3) Mediterranean Whole Grain Salad

You can choose any whole grain you’d like here. My grain of choice is usually quinoa, but sometimes I mix it up with wheat berries or barley (these take more time). A fresh delicious salad incorporating the best flavors of the Mediterranean. Tastes delicious on a bed of fresh spinach or arugula.

1 c dry whole grain, cooked (your choice!)

1/2 c feta, Parmesan, or mozzarella cheese (again you can choose which you prefer)

1 cucumber, diced small

1 c cherry tomatoes, whole

1/4 c olive oil

2 T balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper, to taste

Whisk balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil together. Pour over cooked grains in mixing bowl or tupperware container. Add in cucumbers and tomatoes; stir until combined. Serve over fresh greens of choice!

2) Couscous Tabbouleh Salad

This recipe comes from the lovely Jenna at http://www.eatliverun.com, and it is truly a time saver. Couscous takes 5-10 minutes to cook, basically about the same amount of time it takes you to bring the water to a boil. And the fresh, delicious salad flavors blend perfectly to create a truly mouthwatering salad topping or wrap stuffing.

1 C uncooked couscous

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 c feta cheese

Juice of 1 lemon

2 T olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

Cook couscous according to package directions (mine said: bring 1 cup water to boil on stove. Add 1 cup couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; fluff with fork). Combine parsley, feta, and cucumber in a bowl. Add cooked couscous, lemon juice, and olive oil. Let stand for 2 hours until flavors intensify.

1) Southwest Quinoa Salad

This is my absolute FAVORITE recipe to make when I’m pressed for time. It is so simple, and you can eat it in limitless ways. Stuff it in a wrap, cook an egg and mix, or just top a salad with the delicious quinoa mixture. You will not be disappointed.

1 C quinoa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can chopped tomatoes (preferably no salt added)

1 can fire roasted corn

1 can chiles

1 C cilantro

1/2 C cheese of choice (I like feta or monterrey jack!)

1/2 avocado, chopped

Optional: chopped jalapenos, hot sauce, greek yogurt or sour cream

Bring 2 cups water to boil on stove. Add 1 cup quinoa. Lower heat and cover; cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, toss beans, tomatoes, corn, and chiles into a large mixing bowl. Add in cooked quinoa. Mix in cheese. Serve with avocado and cilantro on top, along with additional optional toppings.

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