Being a mom leaves little time for yourself, so when it comes to eating, you often take what you can get, reaching for quick and easy foods. Since your time is limited, you might not be making the healthiest choices. This could be why you are having a difficult time losing those last few pounds of baby weight or just not having enough energy to get through your day. Preparing and eating healthy food doesn’t have to take a lot of time–or even a lot of thought, for that matter. By choosing wisely and having ready-to-eat staples on hand, you can easily eat healthfully.
I’m a big proponent of quick, easy, wholesome food, where I don’t have to put much thought into preparing it. I LOVE baby carrots (I’m surprised my skin isn’t orange, since I eat so many), fresh fruit that is in season (peaches, nectarines and strawberries in the summer, and pears and apples in the winter), Greek yogurt (Fage 0%), fresh lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, turkey lunch meat (nitrate-free and low-sodium), frozen already-cooked chicken breast strips from Costco, La Tortilla 100 Calorie Whole Wheat Tortillas, 100 Calorie Orowheat Sandwich Thins, Kashi Crunch cereal, Smart Balance Rich Roasted Chunky Natural Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, bananas, and non-fat cottage cheese. I keep all of these foods stocked in our fridge and cupboard at all times for making healthy breakfasts and lunches, quickly!
As for dinner, Drew and I make a good team when it comes to cooking quick, tasty and nutritious meals. He cooks the Asian and Mexican dishes and I do the Italian/Mediterranean ones. Some of our “regulars” include chicken fajitas, pasta mixes, chicken burgers with baked sweet potato fries, stir-frys and large entree salads. We are big fans of one-pot meals that include veggies, protein and whole wheat carbohydrates where a side salad isn’t needed. Most of our meals can be cooked in 45 minutes or less. By simply buying the right ingredients to have on hand and planning ahead, you can easily make healthy, quick and delicious meals for you and your family!
Here are some of our “regulars:”
Chicken Fajitas (serves 2)
-1 chicken breast chopped into strips
-1 bell pepper sliced into thin strips
-1 small onion sliced into strips
– 2 small zucchini (optional)
-1 clove of garlic (crushed)
-1-2 Tbsp. olive oil (enough to coat the pan)
-2 tsp. cumin
– 1 tsp. chili powder
– 1 tsp. Tapatio (or other hot sauce, to taste)
-sour cream or plain yogurt (non-fat)
-salt (to taste)
-pepper (to taste)
1. Pour the olive oil into a heated pan (medium heat) and saute garlic and chicken. Sprinkle with a pinch or salt and pepper and cook until the chicken is slightly browned. Once browned, place chicken on a dish to save until the veggies are cooked.
2. Saute onion, bell pepper and zucchini until just tender. Add chicken, cumin, chili powder and Tapatio. Mix and cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, warm two tortillas in the microwave for a minute. Divide chicken mixture amongst two plates with tortillas and a dollop of plain non-fat yogurt or non-fat sour cream and salsa on top. Enjoy!
Asparagus Pasta Mix – Drew’s Favorite (serves 2)
-1-2 bunches roasted or grilled asparagus*, cut into 1- or 1.5-inch segments
-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved or quartered
-1 small red onion, medium dice
-1 chicken breast cut into small chunks
-1/2 cup roasted walnut halves, rough chop or crumbled by hand
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 cup whole wheat penne noodles
-red pepper flakes
1. Pour olive oil into pan at medium heat, enough to coat the pan and saute garlic and chicken until browned. Season with salt and pepper. After chicken has browned slightly, remove from pan and place in dish until the rest of the meal has cooked.
2. Meanwhile, boil water and once boiled, add a good sprinkle of salt and whole wheat penne noodles.
3. Add onion and cook until carmelized. Next, add asparagus, chicken, kalamata olives, a sprinkle of italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, walnuts and mix.
4. Drain cooked penne noodles (reserving a teaspoon or two of pasta water) and pour until chicken mixture, along with reserved pasta water. Mix together for 2-3 minutes.
5. Turn off heat, mix in feta cheese and serve!
*Toss washed and dried asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Or, place asparagus (tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper) on cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until browned.
Grilled Peach Salad (serves 2)
-1 large peach
-6 oz. cooked chopped chicken breast
-3/4 cup roasted walnuts
-1/2 cup feta cheese
-1 1/2 heads romaine lettuce (or any lettuce of your choice)
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp. grainy mustard
-sprinkle of sugar or stevia
-pinch of salt and pepper
1. Slice peach into thick slices and brush olive oil on each side. Grill for 2-3 minutes for side (until you see nice grill marks). Take off the grill and chop into large chunks.
2. Meanwhile tear lettuce into small pieces and place into one large bowl.
3. Chop chicken breast into small chunks and add to your lettuce. Next chop walnuts and add to your lettuce, along with the chopped peach.
4. Sprinkle cheese on your lettuce mixture.
5. Lastly, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar into small container and whisk. Pour over lettuce and toss.
6. Immediately serve salad and enjoy!