Thinking up healthy meal ideas is the one of the most challenging parts of adopting an improved diet and lifestyle. When you’re tired from a long day it’s easy to rely on fast food or other unhealthy, convenient foods. Whipping up a quick, healthy meal that isn’t a salad can be difficult, but we've searched forprofessional nutritional experts to find out what foods they turn to when they're pressed for time. What they came up with were some surprisingly creative ideas.
Physician and health coach Robin Berzin, who specializes in women’s nutrition, recommends to always keep wild Alaskan salmon in the freezer. You can be assured that you always have a quality fish for those jam-packed days. Roast them and serve them with rice and veggies on the side for a nutritious and scrumptious meal.
2. Green Veggies
Mikaela Reuben, culinary nutritionist and health consultant, advises to keep a range of green vegetables in the freezer. This way when you’re in a bind for healthy ideas you can combine them altogether for a guaranteed nutritious dish. She blends frozen spinach, green peas, collard greens, cucumbers, green apples, garlic, lemon juice, avocado, dill and olive oil together to make a refreshing green gazpacho.
3. Veggie burgers
Registered dietician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Alicia Anskis, recommends looking for a frozen veggie burger. Frozen burgers tend to be filled with excess sodium, preservatives and saturated and trans fats. It’s important to check the ingredient list, looking out for protein sources like lentils or quinoa. Once you’ve found a healthy brand, place it on a sprouted whole-grain bun and add a side of broccoli. This meal will only take you 10 minutes to prepare, making it both convenient and nutritious.
The registered dietitian and author of the blog Better Than Dieting, Bobbie Taub-Dix, observes that bananas are loaded with potassium, a nutrient most people neglect in their diets. They’re the perfect snack to keep you going throughout the day. Cut them up and add them to your cereal, or eat them whole. Taub-Dix stores the speckled ones in the freezer. You can then thaw them any time you want to add them as a healthy ingredient for a smoothie, for instance, with dark chocolate, almonds, and milk.
Frozen edamame is a freezer staple of holistic health coach, Talia Pollock, who is also the author of the blog Party In My Plants. If you’ve been told to reduce your red meat intake and want a day’s break from fish and poultry, this is an excellent plant-based protein. You can boil it briefly and mix it with rice, pasta or quinoa and a side of vegetables. It creates a starchy and filling high-protein meal.
6. Frozen Peas
Registered dietitian, nutritionist and author of the blog The Smart Girl’s Guide To Going Vegetarian, Rachel Meltzer Warren, recommends frozen peas for a quick and easy meal. You can add them to any dish to include a rich source of antioxidants and proteins. They complement pastas, soups, warm salads, and make an excellent healthy side dish. So if you want to give a quick boost of nutrition to any meal or create one yourself, simply use some peas.
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7. Trader Joe's Superfood Pilaf
Rachael Hartley, registered dietitian and author of the blog Avocado A Day Nutrition LLC, favors Trader Joe’s for convenience. For a busy night when you don’t have the time or energy to come up with a healthy dish, she recommends their frozen mixes of seasoned whole grains and vegetables. These pilafs are filled with superfoods like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and kale. They’re easy to sauté in olive oil. Adding a few eggs to the mix can create a delicious and healthy scrambled egg dish.
8. Frozen spinach and broccoli
A staple in registered dietitian and author of the blog Nutshell Nutrition, Robyn Coale’s freezer consists of packets of frozen spinach and broccoli. You can add spinach to smoothies or soups. Broccoli is a versatile vegetable and can be added to stir fries, omelettes, pastas and soups. Frozen broccoli has the advantage of less prep work, as it is usually already choppend and is usually cheaper than fresh broccoli.
Naturopathic physician Kellyan Petrucci believes that blueberries are the quintessential finishing touch to a salad or smoothie. They’re easy to stash in your bag as a snack for when you’re on the go. They’re filled with phytonutrients called anthocyanins. These powerful compounds protect your skin against sun damage, keep your eyes healthy, and reduce your risk of stroke. Furthermore, blueberries are a brilliant source of manganese, and vitamins K and C.