When Friday finally rolls around, it comes with a big sigh of relief. We made it through another busy work week complete with kid’s activities and all the extracurricular activities that consume daily life.
I’ve talked about menu planning before with many patients which helps formulate a plan ahead of time and allows us to organize our lives. However, Fridays often become a default to pizza simply because of a lack of energy. Thankfully there are all sorts of healthier pizzas you can make at home.
I believe in the power of cooking as it makes it easier for us to eat healthy yet delicious food. It brings our family together as we prepare it, and it helps us appreciate the quality of what we put in our bodies. We find preparing our own food encourages us to slow down and really focus on our meal.
To help support you as you wind down on a Friday, I’m sharing some quick “menu” items that you can have ready at any given moment to make sure you are eating healthy and don’t feel like you have to go to great lengths to cook a meal.
Four Quick Meal Solutions
1. Fish tacos
I grab some low-carb tortillas (usually higher fiber and protein) or corn tortillas (because delicious). Then I slide Costco’s tortilla-crusted fish filets in the oven. They’re already seasoned and nutritious.
To that I add whatever I have on hand: sometimes I have avocado and I usually have Herdez salsa. Hy-Vee has great slaw mixes and adding some pineapple is super tasty too. I just have to add hot sauce. A twist of lime juice finishes off the dish with some wow factor! This dinner basically involves opening jars and bags of relatively nutrient-filled food and is not time consuming.
2. Hodge Podge
If you have leftover bits of veggies or meats, put them together with scrambled eggs, which take about 2 minutes in the skillet. I often have grilled chicken breasts or grilled sausages left over. It may not be enough for everyone to have their own, but stretched with other ingredients, it will be a tasty use for those leftovers.
Steamer bags of vegetables are handy to have on hand for a quick healthy addition. Yes, you’re technically cooking, but barely. I usually throw in some onion, garlic and fresh herbs from the garden (when in season). Cheese and salsa can also spice up this egg dish into a real meal that will taste anything but like leftovers!
3. Everything Soup
Choose a healthy veggie based soup, Hy-Vee health market has many choices, and then pump it up! You may then add any meat that you had left over from the week. We often have a chicken breast, small piece of steak or a sausage in the fridge.
If you have any veggies left over from a prior meal or extra fresh ones in the crisper, this is a good dish to throw them into. I recommend spinach, potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, and beans. Perhaps you have some leftover pasta?
My family uses gluten free pastas made from plant protein sources which lowers the carbohydrates. If you have fresh herbs or even the dried variety, add your favorites to the soup. I suggest garlic, thyme, basil, and rosemary. You can add chili powder and cumin for a more southwest style flavor! If your soup seems to need liquid, add either extra water or chicken stock for added flavor.
I like to finish off the soup with parmesan cheese and for a few minutes, you now have a healthy soup complete with all those veggies!
4. Quick and Easy Pasta
Choose a pasta which is plant protein based. Try to avoid regular wheat pastas as they are high in carbohydrates. Chia, quinoa, buck wheat, and spelt pastas are much better! While you boil up some water and heat a jar of healthy marinara sauce, add some pre-cooked Italian sausage links.
I like extra chunky sauce so I add a can of diced tomatoes! You can also add a can of diced fire roasted peppers to give it more zing. Serve with a modest serving of pasta. Portion control is often a problem with foods like pasta! Add freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese… (CostCo sells them in large blocks). Enjoy.