It’s still Summer! — A time when we often invite a little more free-spirit and less regime. But that doesn’t mean you need to let your healthy lifestyle go downhill. Keep up the exercise with your favorite outdoor activities (volleyball, running, hiking, swimming….) and make preparing healthy meals and snacks a snap.
Here are a few simple ways to enjoy healthy meals with less effort:
1. Keep your kitchen well-stocked. Include items that make preparing a simple salad, entree or sandwich a breeze.
- your favorite go-to spices (consider minced garlic, no-salt veggie seasoning, oregano, thyme, onion powder)
- fresh fruit
- low-fat cheeses (cottage, cream, cheddar, mozzarella)
- nuts and nut butters
- brown rice and pastas
- heart-healthy marinara sauces (look for a short list of ingredients, 6 g or less of sugars)
- lettuces and leafy greens
- chicken breast
- your favorite fish (note: you can buy frozen or freeze what you won’t use right away)
- beans – look for low sodium or buy dried (black beans, garbanzo, 3-bean blend)
- wheat or gluten-free whole-grain breads, rolls or pitas
- condiments and spreads, including hummus and mustard – Dijon or yellow, low-sugar jam, low sodium soy sauce or tamari, seasoned rice vinegar, and olive oil to name a few
Print out this healthy guide.
2. Get acquainted with your options:
Sandwiches: We know a PB+J is simple to make. Other great sandwich ideas include an egg sandwich, chicken with lettuce and tomato and low-fat cheese, and an open-faced melted cheese on toast with tomato slices and basil. How about this Healthified Egg Sandwich?
Egg dishes: Hard boil a few eggs for easy snack or meal preparation. Enjoy an omelet with your favorite cheese and mixture of veggies. Make a frittata or low-fat Quiche.
Salads: You can’t go wrong with a salad. It’s easy to mix in any combo of leafy greens, perhaps a little fresh berries or apple slices (an alternative to chopped tomato), a few nuts and you can even add a little low-fat cheese. Or make it a grain salad! Doesn’t this Vegan Caprese Salad look refreshing and delicious!
Pasta dishes: Make a healthified mac-n-cheese using low-fat cheese and plenty of veggies (try mixing in chopped bell peppers and broccoli florets). Enjoy spaghetti and marinara with some tofu or chicken for added protein and serve with steamed veggies and/or a mixed salad. And just because it’s pasta, doesn’t mean you have to serve it warm. Check out this colorful Gluten Free Vegan Pasta Dish.
Fish: Tilapia and Salmon don’t take long to cook. And you can create variety using a different spice or combo of spices each time you make them. You can season your salmon filet with a little olive oil, minced garlic and lemon juice and bake – it’s simple and delish! Here are some other healthy ways to prepare them: No-Fail Fish Dishes.
For some more ideas, check out these Quick and Healthy Meal Ideas for mom’s on the go! (or anyone with a busy schedule).
3. Keep a notebook favorite meal options and snacks. So when it comes time to decide, you’ve got a handy “menu” to look over.
Cut or print out your favorite, simple magazine recipes, snacks. – Or – keep your own running log of your own preparations. Need some snack ideas? Check out these fun, snack combos!
How do you keep your kitchen a healthy meal rest stop?