It can be hard to eat healthy all the time. Let's face it, life happens. You go on vacation and splurge a little. You're on a business trip that leads to late dinners at rarely healthy restaurants. You have been working all day and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. Instead, call for take-out. But what if I told you there are easy ways to eat healthy? You don't have to spend all weekend meal-planning and shopping to eat healthy. While a little planning can go a long way, I have some tips and tricks to make planning meals for the week painless.
One time saver is to try a meal-delivery service. There are some that even offer only USDA certified organic ingredients. You can select the menu for the week ahead and tell the service how many people you need to feed. The ingredients arrive on the day you schedule it to arrive. This means not only do you not need to shop, you barely have to think about what is going to be for dinner. Plus, the instructions are so easy to follow even your significant other or spouse or children (if they are old enough) can help with cooking. Try the below companies...
Another time saver is the crock-pot/slow cooker. I love my slow cooker. I can put a bunch of ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, put the heat on low and when we come home at night, dinner is ready. There is a little prep that has to happen, such as chopping up fresh veggies or even soaking beans if using dried beans. But another time saver is to add frozen veggies or canned beans at the end. They are pre-chopped, ready to cook and provide important nutrients that a healthy body needs. Below are recipes to try.
Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls from Two Healthy Kitchens
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Verde from Ambitious Kitchen
Slow Cooker Lasagna Recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch
Crock-Pot Quinoa and Vegetables from Moms with Crockpots
Slow Cooker Veggie Pot Pie from Slow Cooker Gourmet
Try eating plant-based meals for dinner. I know this may seem like a radical idea but eating a plant-based diet is good for your health and the environment. Did you know that farming animals produces dangerous methane gas that contributes to global warming? Eating more vegetables and grains helps you be healthier and makes us kinder to the environment. Another bonus of eating plant-based is vegetables are quick cooking ingredients. Especially if you stock frozen organic veggies that can be used for stir-fry meals. Below are some recipes to try.
One Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac from Kristine's Kitchen
One Pot Spinach Rice from Watch What U Eat
Vegetarian Fajita Pasta from Contendtedness Cooking
Quick and Creamy Avocado Pasta from Hurry The Food Up
Gnocchi, Broccoli, White Bean Bake from She Likes Food
Casseroles are a life saver for my busy weeks. The beauty of casseroles is there are usually left-overs for lunches or another dinner. You get multiple meals out of one dish. Casseroles are also versatile. They can have meat or be vegetarian. If you are looking to eat more plant-based meals, a casserole can really hit the mark. Plus, they are usually filled with pasta or grains making it a very hearty meal. I promise, even meat-lovers won't miss the meat in a vegetarian casserole! Try the recipes below.
Beef Noodle Casserole from Dinner at the Zoo
Healthy Mexican Casserole Roasted Corn and Peppers from Pinch of Yum
Baked Vegan Quinoa Casserole with Spinach from The Spruce Eats
Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole from Love and Zest
Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole from Dinner Then Dessert
Now that I've shared easy and healthy recipes, here are some tips to make meal-planning go quickly on busy weekends.
1) Keep a recipe go-to file. Try saving recipes as favorites or bookmarks in your browser. Organize your browser with folders named Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or even Plant-Based. You can also put together a collection of recipes in Pinterest. By doing this regularly, you will have an easy way to quickly put together meals for the upcoming week. Plus, since you are thinking about what recipes you will serve during the week, it will give you visibility for key ingredients you already have in the freezer or pantry. This cuts down on shopping since you already have a plan. You can check out my Pinterest page to see the boards I collect recipes in. They give me quick inspiration when I don't have a lot of time to spend on planning meals.
2) Skip ingredients in a recipe. You don't have to follow recipes to the exact ingredients. It is OK to leave some out. Maybe you don't have sesame oil but you have soy sauce in the pantry. Try that instead. Maybe a recipe calls for adding nuts or dried fruit but you don't have them. Leave them out. The key here is that you can modify a recipe to make it work for you and your pantry. And you never know, you may actually like the recipe better!
3) Stock up on canned and frozen ingredients. I love using frozen vegetables because they cook fast and work well with sauces. Frozen vegetables tend to be bland and by adding a sauce it helps make them more palatable. Also, canned beans work well in place of meat. They add bulk to a vegetarian recipe so it is filling. Just rinse the beans well in order to remove up to 1/2 of the sodium content. Even better, if you can remember to soak them for at least 12 hours, not only will you help remove the sodium but you will reduce the lectin content. Lectin is the ingredient in beans that causes gas. If anyone in your family has a hard time with gas after eating beans, this is a trick to try!
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new about easy ways to eat healthy. If you try any of the recipes I share, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @heather_lee_donahue and use the hashtag #heathershealthhabits. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share.
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Enjoy making healthy meals fast!