Good home cooking skills are very handy when it comes to healthy eating, but it is possible to eat well without Le Cordon Bleu training. I would encourage everyone to grow their cooking skills, either by dedicating one evening a week to trying out a new recipe, or by taking a healthy cooking class. But meanwhile, here are some ideas for healthy meals and snacks that are quick and easy enough for even the least experienced cooks among us to manage!
Scrambled eggs (2) with tomato slices: Here are some tips for cooking delicious scrambled eggs (scrambled egg recipe).
Steel-Cut Oats (3/4 cup prepared): Quick Cooking tip: before going to bed, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 cup of steel-cut oats. Stir thoroughly, then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and leave it right on the stove overnight. When you’re ready for breakfast the next morning, bring the oats back to a boil and serve. (You can store extra prepared oats in the fridge or freezer). My favorite healthy additions are 1/2 scoop of low-sugar vanilla whey protein powder, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and some fresh or microwaved apple chunks.
Protein Shake: Add 1-2 scoops of low-sugar flavored whey protein powder to milk or unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk. If desired, add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit and blend. Alternatively, try a ready-to-drink low sugar protein shake (the shake should have 20-30 grams protein and less than 5 grams of sugar).
3/4 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup fresh fruit
No-sugar-added Greek Yogurt with 1/4 cup unsweetened whole grain cereal (for example, Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs: Kashi cereal)
Mexican Eggs: Scramble 2 eggs and top with store-bought fresh salsa, two spoonfuls of black beans (from a can, drained) and avocado slices.
Quick & Healthy California Salad: Use bagged romaine that has already been washed and chopped and add cherry tomatoes and store-bought shredded carrots. Add chopped deli turkey, one chopped hard boiled egg, 1/4 of an avocado, sliced, and light Italian dressing.
1/2 Sandwich on whole wheat: Cut one slice of good quality whole wheat bread in half. Spread with hummus, mashed avocado, or olive oil mayonnaise. Add mustard to taste. Layer nitrite-free deli turkey, ham or roast beef, canned tuna or egg salad, and add your favorite veggies. One of my favorite variations of this is avocado, tomato and smoked salmon. Serve alongside chopped veggies, like celery, cucumber, jicama, broccoli or carrots.
Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps: Defrost frozen cooked shrimp following the package recommendations. Fill washed romaine or butter lettuce leaves with the drained defrosted shrimp. Mix a small amount of olive oil mayonnaise with store-bough Sriracha sauce to taste and drizzle over the shrimp. Serve with fresh fruit to cool off your taste buds!
Homemade burrito: Take one large low-carb tortilla and spread with a thick layer of canned refried beans. Sprinkle with shredded Mexican cheese and microwave until the cheese is melted. Add hot sauce or fresh homemade salsa to taste, wrap and enjoy.
Try breakfast for dinner (above ideas) or any of the lunch options, or try:
Rotisserie Chicken, Roasted Yams, and Broccoli: When you pick the rotisserie chicken from the store, buy 1 garnet yam or sweet potato and a bag of chopped and washed broccoli. The broccoli can be steamed in a steamer or microwaved— it can even be roasted while you roast the yam (roasted broccoli recipe) Preheat your oven to 400F. To roast the yam, wash it and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds, leaving the skin on. Drizzle with olive oil and arrange on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and put in into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Enjoy with a portion of the rotisserie chicken and some broccoli. Save some leftover rotisserie chicken for short-cut chicken soup!
Short-cut Homemade chicken vegetable soup: Many grocery stores carry pre-cut “Mirepoix” (a combination of chopped onions, celery and carrots). Drizzle a little olive oil in a large pot, and add the chopped onions, celery and carrots. Sprinkle with salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pull the leftover chicken off a rotisserie chicken and set aside. Add store-bought low-sodium chicken broth to the pot, add the chicken, and turn the heat up to high. You can add frozen green beans or chopped zucchini at this time if you like. Simmer until the veggies are tender (5-10 minutes) and serve. Craving minestrone? Add a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of drained chickpeas to the simmering soup.
Bun-less turkey burgers: Mix one pound lean ground turkey with 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Grill or sauté the burgers until no longer pink in the middle, about 5 minutes on each side. If desired, melt one slice of cheese on the burger. Meanwhile, wash a leaf of romaine and shredd, slice tomatoes and avocado.
Taco Soup: Sauté 1 pound ground turkey with diced onion and bell pepper in a large pot. Sprinkle with 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and add 32 ounces of tomato soup. Simmer 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare toppings: shredded lettuce or store bought shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, fresh store-bought salsa and plain greek yogurt. Serve soup in bowls and top with your favorite toppings.
Faux Spaghetti and Meatballs: Cook 1 spaghetti squash (spaghetti squash recipe). Top with store-bought no-sugar-added marinara sauce and microwaved frozen turkey meatballs. Serve with a small green salad.
Hardboiled egg, cucumber slices and store-bought hummus
Apple slices with nut butter
String cheese and 1 serving fresh fruit
A small handful of nuts
A low-sugar protein bar
No-sugar-added greek yogurt
Lindsay Pasdera, MS RDN