Author: Jackie Thomas
Getting dinner on the table during the week isn’t easy. Getting a healthy dinner on the table is even harder. Between juggling work, endless errands and trying to get a couple yoga sessions in, it seems impossible to expect a meal that isn’t dialed to your door. But cooking healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. If you don’t want the craze of your week to throw off your wholesome eating habits, all you need is a couple go-to easy recipes.
I’ve laid out some of my favorite healthy alternatives for work week meals. They’re easy, healthy, gluten free (if you’re into that) and delicious!
Instead of gooey, carby pizza Mondays (you totally forgot to go grocery shopping again), make mini zucchini pizzas. There a delicious vegetarian alternative!
What to Buy:
Optional: Turkey pepperoni (for the meat lovers)
1.Clean and cut zucchini. You can cut into small circles (like you would a cucumber) or long ways. It’s up to you. Personally, I enjoy cutting into small circles because they tend to get more crispy in the frying pan.
2.Fry the zucchini by throwing slices into a hot frying pan with a little bit of oil. You will only need to fry for a couple of minutes.
3.Place your fried zucchini on a baking pan. Add marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, seasonings and (if you want) turkey pepperoni.
4.Place baking sheet in oven with broiler on. Check every 5 minutes. When the cheese melted to your satisfaction, take it out and enjoy!
LETTUCE WRAP TACOS
Taco Tuesday is among my favorite weekday dinners. However, eating tacos and quesadillas always leaves me feeling overly full which is not ideal. Enter the lettuce wrap taco!
What to Buy:
Head of lettuce
Ground turkey meat
Fajita or taco seasoning
Shredded taco cheese
1. Put your ground turkey meat into a frying pan. After the pink is gone from the meat, mix in your taco seasoning.
2. Wash your lettuce to create little boats to hold the meat. The lettuce might be flimsy, so you might need to use two pieces of lettuce.
3. Put taco toppings onto lettuce. I’m pretty simple and just like adding some cheese but you can get crazy and saute red and green peppers to add on top.
If it’s not clear based on the ingredients, I like to overload on veggies for this dish. To make this meal even easier, you can clean and chop all your veggies Sunday and keep refrigerated until it’s stir fry night.
What to Buy:
Red or green peppers
Gluten free soy sauce
1. Cook the rice. Personally, I like a rice cooker, but there is also stove top brown rice which is equally as easy. You’re going to start with your brown rice and while that is cooking, prep the rest of your meal.
2. Clean, apply a rub and pan fry it chicken. You should cut it into smaller pieces to help it cook quicker.
3. Cut and clean your veggies. Put in a big frying pan with oil, salt, pepper and cook. Be sure to stir veggies around to avoid burning the bottom.
4. Here comes the fun part! Put all your parts (rice, chicken and veggies) into a large wok or frying pan. Add soy sauce and let flavors marry together. After about five minutes, it should be ready to serve! Sometimes I’ll add a scrambled egg or two to the stir fry for some extra protein.
If you’re anything like me, you love pasta. Unfortunately, eating forklift sized loads of carbohydrates is not the best diet. To satisfy my Italian craving, I’ll substitute spaghetti for spaghetti squash.
What to Buy:
One yellow squash
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds (I used an ice cream scoop and it worked perfectly!).
2. Sprinkle oil and seasonings on squash.
3. Place on baking sheet insides up. Put in oven for 30-40 minutes.
4. Take out of the oven and use a fork to pull strands of squash. It should come out in the consistency of angel hair.
5. Top with marinara sauce and cheese.
CHICKEN, POTATOES & VEGGIES
This is definitely my favorite meal of the week. It’s easy, delicious and filling. If you like, you can substitute rice for potatoes. It’s perfect for a simple, healthy, filling meal.
What to Buy:
Bushel of asparagus
Bag of yellow golden potatoes
Seasonings of your choice (personally, I like Flavor God – Everything seasoning)
1. Clean and cut the potatoes. Throw a little oil and seasoning on them and place onto a baking sheet and into the oven set at 375 degrees.
2. Clean the chicken and apply the rub. I’ve found rubs are a quick and easy way to boost the taste without having to marinade the meat for hours on end.
3. Throw chicken in a frying pan to quick cook it a little – just a couple minutes on the grill. Then I’ll put chicken on the baking sheet with the potatoes to continue cooking. The chicken should be in the oven (depending on how thick) for about 11 minutes.
4. Clean and cut the asparagus and, you guessed it, throw them in the frying pan with some seasonings. Asparagus tends to be hard so I like to keep them in the pan to soften. After I’ll put the asparagus on the baking sheet and let everything broil for a few minutes.
More Tips on How to Eat Healthy During the Week
Meal plan your dinners for the week on Sundays.
There is nothing I hate more than having to make multiple trips to the grocery store during the week. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by planning out your dinners for the week on Sunday and getting shopping done.
Bring a list to the grocery store.
Having a list will force you to focus and avoid the center aisles with processed foods. The easiest way to avoid binge eating double stuffed oreas is not to purchase them. It’s as simple as that.
Make meal prepping your BFF.
It’s easy to grab something greasy in your work cafeteria or order out for Chinese food when you didn’t have time to make a lunch in the morning. To remedy this, make a bulk supply of salads on Sunday and you’ll be thanking yourself Monday morning as you run out the door for work.
Start your day off healthy.
If you have a commute for work every morning, you don’t have time to cook the “most important meal of the day”. Instead, find a healthy meal for on the go like a protein shake or smoothie.
Thinner chicken cooks faster.
An obvious, but helpful tip. If you get the super thick chicken, cut it in half to cut cooking time. You’ll not only have built in portion control but also get dinner on the table faster.
HOW YOU TACKLE HEALTHY WEEKLY DINNERS? DO YOU COOK OR ARE YOU RULER OF THE TAKEOUT MENU? LET US KNOW!