Quick, Healthy Meal Ideas

What We Really Eat Every Week 

When you get home from a long day, we all know the last thing we want to do is start cooking. It’s much easier to grab the chips and plant yourself on the couch, than make a trip to the market. For any diet this will get you every time. It’s especially hard when you’re trying to kick a bad habit or change your diet. It’s time to put down the donuts and embrace our laziness with these simple solutions below.

Set aside a few hours each week for prep. It’s helpful to create a routine and coincide your trip to the market with prep day. I like Sundays since it’s typically when I go to the farmer’s market and know that I can set aside a few hours of my time. If you have a partner, roommate or friend who’s also trying to be healthy, this is great to do it together. Divide and conquer as they say. You might want to crack open a bottle of wine and throw on some tunes.

Grain:

I like to get started with a big batch of brown rice or quinoa. 2 cups of the dry stuff easily lasts me all week, and that’s including a couple of meals for Carl (he eats a lot!). You can make it with vegetable stock or coconut milk for some variety, but I tend to just use water since I’m never quite sure what I’m going to do with it. A little tip: Slightly undercook the grain. I typically remove the rice or quinoa after 30/35 minutes rather than the suggested 40. You’ll retain some more of the liquid this way, which will prevent it from drying up or overcooking when you reheat it.

Vegetables:

While the rice/quinoa is simmering it’s a great time to get the veggies going. My go to’s are green beans, broccoli and spinach. I’ll try to incorporate whatever is in season or just about any other vegetable that catches my eye that week. You can try kale, squash, potatoes, carrots or peppers. I ready the vegetables and, in rounds, throw them into a steam basket. Steaming is my absolute favorite way to cook veggies. It’s fast, easy, has little clean-up and super healthy. I watch them closely since I like them to be a bit crisp. Cooking your vegetables helps to kill bacteria and make them more digestible. If you’re feeling adventurous try steaming up some fruit! It’s a fantastic snack and will serve as a great desert throughout the week. My favorites are plums, peaches, nectarines and apples. Yum!

Topping:

So now the stove is a happening place with the grains simmering and veggies steaming. It’s time to grill the onions. I think grilled onions pretty much belong in every dish. Just chop them up, toss a bit of olive oil into a pan and grill away. Now you’re ready to stand guard at the stove and man your meal. An occasional stir hear, and changeover of veggie there and you’re well on your way.

Condiment:

My last bit of preparation once I’m done with the items on the stove is a salad dressing. Make one or as many as you’d like for the week. I’ve been experimenting a lot with these lately so I have been trying something new each week. This week’s special dressing is simply olive oil, fresh lemon juice and tahini. Past weeks have included vinaigrettes and miso caesars.

So now that you have all this food, what do you do with it!?! First off, storage is key. I always let everything cool before sticking it in the fridge. It helps to reduce all that condensation that makes things soggy and gross. Make sure you’re using BPA free containers or just use dishes covered in tin foil. This food won’t be everything you eat all week but it sure makes it easy to throw together some healthy and hearty meals. Ask Carl how much he loved it at 2am last Saturday.

Any vegetables and grains below can be substituted with what you’ve made. Get creative and share what you’ve tried with us!

Breakfast Rice Pudding:

On the stove reheat the brown rice with some almond milk. It will get nice and creamy. If you added too much liquid, either scoop some out or cook a bit longer. With anything, adding slowly is the way to go. You can always add more. While the rice and milk are heating up, throw in a small handful of raisins. They will plump and soften. Place in a bowl and top with cinnamon and slivered almonds.

Stir Fry:

Throw some veggies, rice and stir fry sauce (we love the one by San-J) into a pot and heat it up. After a few minutes place it in a bowl and top with crumbles of raw cashews.

Faux Falafel:

Pile up some steamed spinach on a plate (hot or cold to your liking). Top it off with a few tablespoons of hummus (or the tahini dressing from above), a falafel sunshine burger, grilled onions and hot sauce. Happen to have a wrap on hand…go ahead and roll that baby up.

Broccoli Quinoa Salad:

This one is great to take to work since it’s delicious cold. In a bowl mix together the broccoli, grilled onions, quinoa, pecans, cranberries and dressing of the week.

Vivacious Veggie Salad:

You guessed it, throw a mixture of your veggies over a bed of lettuce. Dress it, and dig in. Add in some quinoa to round out the meal.

Quinoa Risotto:

Place quinoa and some hemp milk in a skillet and heat on low. The quinoa will absorb the milk and become thick and creamy like a risotto. In a blender add a cup of your green veggies, 2 tbsp of olive oil and a glove of garlic. Give it a good whirl and mix into the quinoa for a very green creamy pesto risotto.

Quinoa Cobbler:

This here is for you fruit steamers out there. Place your steamed fruit in a bowl and drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup or agave over the top. Pop it in the microwave for a minute or so. In a separate bowl mix together some quinoa, almond meal, cinnamon and a dab of coconut oil. When the fruit is hot cover with your quinoa topping and dig in!  For complete indulgence add a scoop of So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream.

I know these aren’t specific recipes with quantities and specific instructions, but hey, who has time for all that? These are on a whim, work with what you’ve got meals. Let us know what you come up with.