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Healthy Dinner Ideas For When You’re Worn Out and Unprepared!

February 27, 2017 by Beth Danowsky RD CLCwith 0 comments

It’s 5 o’clock, you just got off work and are HUNGRY. You still have to clock-out, battle traffic and conjure up the energy to make a healthy dinner. Unfortunately, your good intentions at the beginning of the day to eat healthy aren’t sounding so appealing in the moment because you didn’t plan ahead and have no idea what you will eat tonight!

Whether you are cooking for one or for an entire family, the challenge of eating well after a long, exhausting day can be overwhelming. In many cases, it feels easier to order take-out, zone out and just go to bed.

What if there were some SUPER simple ways to avoid this dilemma? Of course, it is helpful to plan ahead and have a healthy meal prepared or ready to eat during busy weeks, but, let’s face it… it doesn’t always happen!

For those days and weeks when prep just isn’t happening, we have some great ideas to keep you feeling your best and prevent you from falling off the wagon. They aren’t gourmet, but they are filling and will leave you feeling cleaner, happier and healthier.

1. Brown Rice, Boiled Egg and Wild Nori Flakes

What? This is an affordable and filling meal, which includes healthy carbs, protein and fat + added nutrition from the seaweed. You can get all the ingredients at your local market or Costco.

How? Place about 1 cup cooked rice in a bowl, chopped up 1-2 boiled eggs and top with nori flakes.

2. Sardines packed in olive oil (or tuna) with Spinach and Onions

What? Another affordable 3-ingredient dish packed with protein and healthy fat that’s lower in carbohydrates. Sardines are especially high in omega-3 fats and calcium which many of us need more of.

How? Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add about 1 T. olive oil from one sardine package to pan. Add chopped onions and cook until soft. Add spinach, cover pan with lid and also spinach to wilt for 1 minute. Layer sardines on top of spinach, allow it to warm up then serve.

3. Berry Almond Shake

What? A protein rich shake that doesn’t require ANY cooking but will save you from a high-fat, high-sodium take out meal. Pair it with a hard-boiled egg or can of tuna for a more filling meal.

How? Place 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup organic berries (easy to find at Costco), 1-2 Tbsp almond butter, 1 handful of greens (spinach or kale) in a blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes and enjoy!

4. Quick Bean Salad

What? Canned beans and a few simple spices and vegetables makes a very quick and filling meal that doesn’t require any cooking.

How? Rinse 1 can of beans (we recommend garbanzo, pinto or cannellini beans) and place in a bowl. Add cucumber, bell pepper, and whatever other veggies you have in the fridge into bowl with beans. Drizzle mixture with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some spices. We like sea salt, black pepper, cumin, and paprika. Pair with some whole grain crackers for an added crunch.

5. Simple Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad

What? Salads don’t have to be complex. Just make sure they contain lots of healthy fat and protein. This is where the salmon and avocado come in! Paired with fiber rich veggies, this mean will keep you full and satisfied.

How? Place a couple handfuls of greens into a large salad bowl. Top with sliced avocado and smoked salmon. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar if desired. For an extra crunch, add cucumber, capers, carrots or whatever other veggie your heart desires.

6. Easy Peasy Omelet

What? Eggs don’t only have to be for breakfast. They are an incredibly nourishing food and can be used for a quick dinner. Add some spices and veggies and you have yourself a meal!

How? Whisk eggs with sea salt and pepper. Meanwhile heat a pan with olive oil and add chopping onions, cooking until soft. Cut up collard greens, kale or spinach into small pieces or strips. Add to pan with onion and allow to steam with covered lid for about 2 minutes. Remove lid, add eggs and cook until done (3-4 minutes).

7. Adult Lunchables (Simple Charcuterie Platter)

What? We can make the kid version of lunchables fun and healthy with just a few key ingredients. You can swing by the store for these ready to eat items to be spread out on a cutting board and enjoyed.

How? To make your charcuterie platter the most filling and nutritious, make sure you purchase one healthy protein, fat and fiber for your meal. Choose 1-2 items from the list below to build your own custom meal.

Proteins: Nitrate-free ham or turkey, boiled eggs, hummus, unsalted nuts/seeds, local cheeses

Healthy Fats: avocado slices, olives or tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil, local cheese, unsalted nuts/seeds, peppadew peppers,

Fiber: Carrots, celery sticks, bell peppers (all of which can be found pre-sliced at many grocery stores), grapes, tangerines, and whole grain crackers

8. Rotisserie Chicken with Veggies

What? Most grocery stores sell already-cooked rotisserie chicken, perfect for picking up on your way home from a busy day. While you’re in picking up the chicken, grab a bag of green frozen vegetables and butternut squash.

How? Throw the green frozen veggies and squash in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until heated through. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, use a little grass-fed butter for a creamier taste. Serve with sliced up chicken.

 

 

 

Beth Danowsky, MS, RD, LD

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