Fifty, 60+ hours a week. That’s what my clients churn out at work. Exhausted, they sit across from me begging for ideas to help them eat healthier. Even though their calendar seems filled to the gills, to begin with, a little bit of time does need to be uncovered in your schedule to plan your meals each week, write a grocery list, and get those foods into the house. Then, you can try tips like:
Cook 2-3 larger meals on a weekend day and freeze them in appropriate portions. Use the extra meals throughout the month on nights when you don’t have time to cook.
- Consider main dish salads on busy week nights – e.g., mixed lettuces like arugula, baby spinach, and mesclun mix, raw diced veggies like carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, red bell peppers, purple onions, grated raw beets, and others you like. Add a piece of grilled chicken or salmon (cook these on the weekend, just heat it up when you’re ready for it) or marinated touf.
- Crock pot – does the work while you work!
- Simple, 15-minute meals. Use canned beans instead of dry, leftover rice (you made a double batch the day before just for this purpose), pre-cut veggies from the market (chop, chop takes time, yes?).
- Purchase pre-cooked and frozen meats and fish at your grocer, and pre-cooked frozen rice and quinoa along with bags of frozen veggies. Create your own ‘frozen’ meals in glass containers with sealed lids (store several at a time in the freezer). Pop them into the microwave on late nights.
- Toast nuts and seeds in larger volume than needed. Store in a tightly sealed container and use atop salads and stir fries for extra crunch and healthy fat.
Eating healthier gives you more energy to find the time to make healthier foods. It’s a circle, not a vicious one, rather one conducive to building energy and stamina. Here’s your main dish salad recipe to get started!
15-minute Bean Salad
This fresh salad is filling yet leaves you light on your feet. Add more or reduce ingredients according to personal choice.
Arugula or mixed greens of choice
1 – 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
½ small purple onion, finely diced
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
1 5-inch piece English cucumber, diced
½ fresh mango, diced
Grape tomatoes, cut in half, as garnish
Chili Lime Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
- Place a handful or two of arugula on 4 medium-sized salad plates or bowls.
- Mix together the remaining salad ingredients from corn to mango in a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or pulse in a small blender or food processor until well combined.
- Stir vinaigrette into the bean salad mixture and place a few spoons on top of the arugula.
- Top salad with grape tomatoes and additional cilantro if desired.
Nutritional analysis (per serving using pinto beans): 297 calories, 33 g carbs, 7.4 g protein, 18 g fat
Exchanges: 2 starches/grains, 1 oz protein, 3 fat servings