By Cindy Smith
Eating healthy, (sigh). You start the week with great intentions. You may even go to the local market and buy fresh produce to start the week off right. Then life happens. You need to work a little later, the kids have soccer, you get invited to meet a friend for a quick after work glass of wine, or you end up with an unexpected work trip, meeting, whatever. Life happens. And the end of the week comes with all the fresh produce and meal plans wilted along with your commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
I know the struggle all too well, but with just a little planning, eating can be healthy, enjoyable, and easily fit into your busy lifestyle leaving you plenty of room for all of life’s extras. Try out some of my favorite quick and easy healthy meal ideas.
Modified Bulletproof Coffee: MCT oil, almond or coconut creamer, 1-2 scoops collagen protein, coffee. This is a great option for women who travel frequently. The oil and collagen protein can be packed in a sealable baggie without refrigeration and easily added to a morning cup of coffee anywhere.
Overnight oatmeal: Can make several of these at a time. Pint-sized jar with lid. ½ c rolled oats, 1 c almond milk, stevia or honey, plus favorite optional adds: almond butter, 2 T nuts or seeds, 1 t cinnamon powder or vanilla extract, berries. Put in fridge and it’s ready to eat the next morning!
Smoothies: ½ c almond milk, 1 scoop 0 carb 0 sugar protein powder of your choice, 1 cup fresh spinach, 1 T chia seeds, frozen fruit or Cacao powder, stevia (optional)
When storing leftovers, put individual servings in to-go containers that can be reheated in the microwave at work or eaten cold.
Salad in a jar: In mason jars, put salad dressing on the bottom, then add salad greens and other crisp veggies and seal, making up to 5 days in advance. On the day you plan to eat it, you can add soft ingredients on the top like chopped boiled egg, lean protein, tomatoes, avocado. When you are ready for lunch, dump the ingredients into a bowl and enjoy a healthy lunch!
KEEP IT SIMPLE. I recommend grocery shopping on a different day than meal prep. In fact, it’s pretty much a rule at my house that we go out to eat on grocery shopping day! Within the next day or two after buying groceries, set aside time to chop veggies and place into individual containers. Get your husband (and kids if they are old enough to handle a knife safely) to get in on the fun family chop night while watching a favorite show or talking about the day. This can include onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
Option 1: The night before, choose the lean protein for the next day’s dinner from the freezer and put into refrigerator to thaw. When you return home from work, place whatever veggies you want for dinner that night and your seasoned protein on a sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees or throw on the grill. Simple!
Option 2: The night before, put lean protein in the crock pot, add seasonings, veggies, and sauce or liquid. Put the crock pot in the refrigerator. The next morning, take out the crock pot, plug it in, set on low, and dinner will be ready when you walk in the door that evening! Make ahead crock pot meals put in the freezer are always a great option as well. However, it will require a little more prep and planning.
Option 3: There are a growing number of subscription box dinners available from simple to more gourmet and with a range of price points. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and soon to hit the market Amazon Fresh are a few of the more popular brands. Find the one that best fits your time, budget, and taste.
Put serving sized portions of nuts, cheese, fruit, in snack-sized baggies in the fridge and grab on your way out the door.
I’m not a huge fan of prepackaged protein bars, but for those times when travel or other circumstances do not allow for food that needs refrigeration or prep work, Orgain Organic Nutrition has protein shakes and bars that can be a great option for a snack or meal replacement. There are vegan, grass-fed, and almond milk options that are all organic, gluten and soy free, non-GMO, and even have kid-friendly options. (I am not paid by Orgain.)
Food is more than just about nutrition. It’s an experience. It’s community. It’s refueling for the body, but also a time to refuel the soul. It is not to be another source of stress. So, be creative, have fun, keep it simple, and ENJOY! I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know what you like, don’t like, what works, what doesn’t, or any questions you encounter in your health journey.
Cindy is a Certified Integrative Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer for professional women. She has been helping women achieve their health and fitness goals local and abroad for the past 15 years. For a free consultation,
contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.