Having to always eat lunch out of the house whether at work or school, I have to make meals that are appetizing and yummy enough that I won’t be tempted to buy something every day. As a dietetic student we learn how to counsel clients in building nutrition and healthy foods into their diet in an economical and easy way- 1) making grocery lists, food prepping all in one day, etc. it’s one of those things that sometimes comes to “do as I say not as I do.” Because really, everyone has a busy schedule, who has the energy after a long day at work or school to go grocery shopping and cook rice and veggies and prep foods that are healthy and satisfying?
But that’s where I’m trying to improve myself and hopefully give you some ideas to make your lives easier. I’m busy- I go to school part time, I have 4 jobs and I like to workout and relax and have a social life (some of those things definitely get pushed to the bottom of the list when things get really crazy), but I also want to eat well and make sure I have foods that make my stomach happy (currently, processed foods are on the “makes my tummy sad list”).
When I research recipes to fiddle or try the ingredient list is the first thing that decides whether or not I will try it. Not just if the ingredients are archaic and things I don’t want or have the money to buy, but if it’s longer than say 7 items (not including salt and pepper) then I usually find it too overwhelming. I want simple, straight forward recipes that won’t take my whole life to figure out. And if I can just use one piece of equipment or use two at the same time to save time, more power to the recipe.
As the weather gets warmer my lunches get more colorful and lighter (salads, wraps, etc.) as opposed to my colder weather lunches which usually include veg chili and things that need to be microwaved. My go-to building of a lunch for spring/summer includes:
Starch + Vegetable + Protein
Brown rice Lettuce (arugula, Beans
Wild Rice Mixed greens, romaine, etc) Tuna salad made with yogurt
Cucumber Hardboiled eggs
Tomato, etc. Hummus
I cook rice in batches of 1-1.5 cups for the week (in ½ cup servings that can usually last me 5 days). Rice can be boiled simultaneously as you prepare your vegetables…
I finally got around to roasting some squash and zucchini. Just slice, drizzle with olive oil both sides and season (I just did black pepper and garlic) and then bake in 400F for about 20 minutes. I also threw in some red onions for extra fun (my kitchen smelled amazing!). The idea of prepping your vegetables for the week is actually a really great idea. If I have them cut up in the size of how I plan to eat it for the week it makes it really easy to make a stir fry really quick one night or to grab some carrots for snacking with hummus.
Protein is usually from a can or an egg. I know dried beans in a bag are cheaper and don’t have the sodium of canned ones, but by the time I remember I need beans I’ve forgotten to do the presoak and I’m saving time just popping a can open. I’ll rinse the beans really nice to get extra salt off and then toss together for a bean salad or combined with rice and veggies (like the fake fattoush). Tuna from a can is probably one of the easiest ways to get protein and made into a tuna salad with carrots or celery and old bay is eum eum good! Hummus (I usually buy sabra or I’ve delved into making my own) is a great way to get creamy protein in a salad.
Snacks are another place of contention in my life. I don’t want to eat the same stuff I ate in my meal so it comes down to more creativity, pinterest, and just google searching. So far, my go-to snacks throughout the day are:
- · Fruit
- · Carrots and hummus
- · Handful of nuts
- · More fruit (I can never have too much fruitJ)
- · Dried fruit
- I'm still on the fence about roasted chickpeas, maybe i just made it wrong
- · If you don’t have a lactose problem string cheese is always a nice addition here
- · If you don’t have a peanut butter addiction like me, where once you have one bite somehow the entire jar disappears, peanut butter energy balls are a great snack
happy cooking! and have fun w/ it :)