Whether you are working 80 hours a week and can’t seem to find the time to eat right or you are a stay at home mom who can’t figure out how to keep healthy food on the table that your family will actually eat, Megan Ware helps you find a plan to get you on the right track and on the road to a healthy, happy, balanced lifestyle.
Wait… did you read that right? A dietitian is telling you to eat fried anything, let alone rice?
Yep- we did it! We combined brown rice with cauliflower rice to make the base of our bowl and added Mighty Spark already seasoned ground chicken to save time.
Power bowls are a great way to prep several meals for the week at once. First pick your base (quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, cauliflower rice, etc), add a protein, then throw on some veggies and greens. For a Chipotle style bowl you could do brown rice, black beans, shredded chicken, peppers and onions, salsa, and avocado then mix in some greens. For a mediterranean style bowl you could start with quinoa, tomatoes and cucumbers, chickpeas, cucumbers, salmon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The possibilities for Power Bowls are endless, and they’re a much more satisfying option than those boring desk salads.
Looking for more power bowl ideas? Check these out:
BONUS: If you don’t feel like chopping carrots or kale, just pick up a pre-chopped bag of stir-fry veggies in the produce section.
Cook brown rice as directed on package. You can use microwaveable 10-minute rice or the old-fashioned kind.
While rice is cooking, heat a large sautee pan or wok to medium heat. Brown the ground chicken. Start dicing your carrots and kale while the chicken is browning. Remove the chicken from pan when done.
Using the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil on medium-high. Add your cooked rice and continuously stir to keep from burning. Add your cauliflower rice and eggs straight into the pan and keep everything moving.
Add your Braggs Aminos and kale. Remove from heat once cauliflower rice has softened.
Divide the rice and veggie mix among 6 containers. Top each with ground chicken.
Garnish each with green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
*I enjoy this ground chicken because it is already spiced and super flavorful. You could use diced chicken breast here instead, as long as you spice it up a little.
**You can usually find “riced cauliflower” or cauliflower rice in individual packages in the produce section. If you can’t find it there you can probably find cauliflower rice in the freezer section.
***Never heard of Braggs Aminos? It’s like soy sauce, only way healthier and lower in sodium. You can find it in most grocery stores or on Amazon.
Recipe by Megan Ware, RDN, LD. Read more about our dietitians here.
Overnight oats are a saving grace for a busy life. All you have to do is combine oats (uncooked), milk, greek yogurt, and protein powder then let them sit overnight. In the morning they are ready to eat. Add your favorite mix-ins to that simple base, double or triple the recipe, and you’ve got breakfast taken care of for the next few days.
As a general rule for overnight oats, use a 1:1:1 ratio of oats to milk and greek yogurt.
These Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats pack in healthy carbohydrates for morning energy (from the oats and fruit), protein for substance (from the yogurt, milk and peanut butter powder), healthy fat for satisfaction (from the yogurt and milk), and a load of vitamins and minerals.
I like to make my oats in individual mason jars so I can just grab them and run out the door, but feel free to double or triple the recipe and make in a large container to serve individually later.
Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes (then let sit overnight)
Makes 1 serving
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup milk
½ cup Macromethod approved vanilla greek yogurt (or plain)
2 tablespoons PB2 or another powdered peanut butter
Overnight oats are the perfect make-ahead breakfast! The flavor combos are endless and if you make them in a big batch, they require no prep work in the morning to grab your breakfast and run. These Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats also work well to curb that after dinner dessert craving or as a snack on the go.
It took me a while to come up with an overnights oats recipe that I enjoy. Not to sound like Goldilocks here, but some of the recipes I tried came out too thick, and others didn’t thicken up enough. I played around with the ratio of oats, milk, yogurt, and chia seeds to find the combination that was just right. If these combos don’t work for you, feel free to change up the ratio of oats to milk to yogurt. I’ve found that a 1:1:1 ratio works the best.
Overnight oats are so versatile and can please any palate. You can easily create different flavor combinations for every day of the week. I had a big bag of frozen cherries that needed to be used up, so I went with cherry and chocolate flavors for this batch. You can substitute any fruit that you have, and the same goes for using a different type of yogurt or milk.
Adding fruit to any meal is great for vitamins, but the cacao in this recipe is also packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Yes, you can have your chocolate and feel good about it! Be sure to purchase cacao (“a” after the “c”) rather than cocoa, which is used in baking. Cacao is made by cold-pressing the cocoa bean, so the nutrients are better retained. In contrast, cocoa is roasted at high temperatures and loses much of its nutritional value.
Cacao is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, since, copper, and manganese. Some studies say that cacao boosts mood, prevents against cardiovascular disease, and reduces blood pressure and risk of stroke.
If you’re feeling really pressed for time or hate prepping, check out Oats Overnight. They sell packets in several flavors like Green Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana that you just mix with a cup of milk and leave in the fridge overnight.
Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats
Makes 1 serving. Feel free to double, triple, or quadruple the ingredients to make enough for the next few days!
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats 1/3 cup full fat Greek yogurt (I used Siggis triple cream chocolate) 1/3 cup milk of your choice* 2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder 1 tablespoon cacao powder 1 tablespoon mini dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup pitted and sliced cherries (you can sub any berries you have on hand)
Combine all ingredients in a small container that has a lid. Mix everything together, cover the container, and place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the mixture to set up. In the morning, top your oats with chopped nuts, nut butter, or granola and enjoy! You can also add more milk if you want to thin in out.
*Milk tips: Most coconut, almond, and other nut milks do NOT have protein. Many nut milks are also lacking a significant amount of fat (we want that fat to help send the satisfaction signal to your brain!). Pea-protein based milks like Ripple do have protein but I think they taste like dirt. My favorite nut-based milks are Elmhurst walnut milk (or anything by Elmhurst) or the Silk Vanilla Protein Nutmilk I mentioned above.
If you’re drinking regular dairy, just skip the fat-free stuff.
This is probably my most re-used recipe of all time. For years, I was just telling my clients how I made these make ahead frozen breakfast burritos when I needed a quick savory breakfast on the go. Everyone loved them and created their own versions and I realized I was creating much more work for myself to have to retype my “recipe” every time someone wanted it instead of just making a post about it that I can refer everyone to.
I love Sweet Earth’s frozen breakfast burritos, but I can’t always count on my local grocery store to carry them. Having something in the freezer that can be ready in 2 minutes AND eaten in the car on the way to work is clutch on those busy mornings. For me, a protein bar just doesn’t cut it. I’ll be hungry again in 10 minutes!
I’ve made these burritos every which way: with beans or without; with onions and peppers; with different cheeses like feta or gouda; adding hot sauce, spicy ground sausage, or roasted potatoes… the combos are endless and you can personalize until you find your favorite. Sometimes I’ll make different combos and not label them so I get a “surprise” in the morning.
Make Ahead Frozen Breakfast Burritos Recipe
Makes 8 burritos Total time: 45 minutes
12 eggs 1 cup shredded cheese 1/2 cup salsa 2 cups pinto or black beans (rinsed and drained if canned) OR use 2 cups of our Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans 1 pack of 8 whole grain or sprouted grain large tortillas
1. Heat a large pan over low to medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and salsa.
2. Add eggs to pan and scramble, continuously stirring to create fluffy eggs. Cooking your eggs low and slow and keeping them moving is the secret to keeping your eggs from getting hard.
3. Once your eggs start to solidify, sprinkle in your cheese and mix in your beans. Once the eggs are done your your liking and cheese is somewhat melted, remove from the heat and place in a large bowl to let cool. Cooling your eggs helps to keep your burritos from getting soggy when you reheat them.
4. Once your eggs are cooled (they don’t need to be cold, just not piping hot), using the same pan over medium heat, place one tortilla in the pan and warm for 15 seconds on each side, just enough to soften it up for folding.
5. Remove the tortilla from the pan and place on a plate. Add your egg and bean mix to the tortilla and fold into a burrito. Wrap the burrito in foil, label, and store in the freezer.
6. When you are ready to reheat, microwave for one minute on each side.
Traditional bread pudding is made with cubed white bread drenched in custard and sugar. I love the texture of bread pudding so I decided to play around with creating a similar dessert with more wholesome and nutritious ingredients.
This Berry Simple Bread Pudding combines a few of my favorite things: oats, berries, and dark chocolate. It’s a super simple recipe (you only need one bowl and one pan– you don’t even have to get out the mixer!). I honestly couldn’t believe how delicious this was. It’s not one of those “healthy tasting” desserts you might be embarrassed to share.
I like it best served warm right out of the oven but it was great served cold the next day as well, it just depends on your preference.
Berry Simple Bread Pudding Recipe
1½ cups old fashioned oats
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup walnuts
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1¾ cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ banana, sliced
Optional: 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on top
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine oats, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, half the walnuts (¼ cup), half the strawberries (½ cup), and all of the blueberries in a large bowl.
3. Pour the mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle on the remaining walnuts, strawberries and chocolate. Arrange the banana slices overtop.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid mixture into the baking dish over the oats mixture. Gently shake the dish to help the mix throughout the oats.
5. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the liquid has set and top becomes golden brown. Enjoy!
Post by Kait Richardson, RDN, LD. Read more about the dietitians at Nutrition Awareness here.
Okay single ladies and gents- listen up!
We all know meal prepping in advance can help us stay on track with our fitness goals. Not only does it help deter us from grabbing a not-so-healthy option when we’re in a pinch but also eliminates the nightly “what should I eat for dinner?” dilemma.
But meal prepping can be overwhelming, especially if you’re cooking for only yourself.
But truth be told, clients with and without shared households are always telling me they are interested in meal prep but don’t know where or how to start.
Other common reasons I hear include:
Lack motivation and/or time
Possessing little-to-no basic cooking skills
Claims of getting tired of the same meals day after day
Fear of wasting food
If you lack motivation, I can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself. Ask yourself why you want to make a change. Ask yourself what will happen if you don’t change. Once you find your motivation, it’s time to address the other meal-prep barriers, like lack of kitchen skills and getting tired of eating the same meals over and over again. Here are my best tips to help you dominate meal prepping for one:
Tip #1: Don’t Wing It
The most important point of this entire article: you NEED to plan your meals, grocery list, and meal prep session(s). Seriously. Otherwise, you will be left with a fridge full of rotten produce, the ghost of wasted food receipts, and backtracking footprints leading directly AWAY from your goals.
1. Plan which meals you want to prep (i.e breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday).
2. Decide what food you want to eat (more on this the later).
3. Make a grocery list.
4. Schedule 1-3 hours on Sunday (or 1-2 hours both Sunday & Wednesday) to prep.
Bonus tip: scan your pantry & fridge for items you already have on hand and plan meals around these ingredients.
Tip #2: Plan Meals with Overlapping Ingredients
I’m calling B.S. on anyone who tells me they’re perfectly content eating chicken, broccoli, and rice everyday for lunch until the day they die.
“But Kait, I really don’t get sick of eating the same meals over and over again.”
Ok. Fine. You’re obviously an alien. But the rest of us understand that variety is the spice of life.
The key to keeping it interesting with single household meal prep is to elevate a few ingredients and make them the center of your meals. My favorite way to do so is to pick and prepare 2-3 different proteins, at least 3-4 fresh veggies, and 2 starches/carbs. Then, I combine them in different ways with the various shelf-stable staples, healthy fats, & condiments/toppings I keep on hand so each meal is unique.
Example: Proteins: Sauteed tempeh, baked & seasoned chicken, canned bean of choice (black, kidney, pinto)
Veggies: Roasted broccoli, sliced red bell pepper, frozen cauliflower rice, washed & diced mushrooms, sugar snap peas, spinach
Starches: Tri-color quinoa and diced/roasted sweet potatoes
Tempeh or chicken stir-fry with sauteed bell pepper, mushrooms, and sugar snap peas over quinoa (add teriyaki, olive oil, and/or liquid aminos to skillet, top with crushed peanuts)
Spinach salad with roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potato cubes, beans and/or chicken or tempeh (Top with olive oil drizzle, lemon juice, sliced avocado or cheese)
Tex Mex Bowl: Chicken, beans, ½ quinoa ½ riced cauliflower, sauteed bell peppers (top with salsa, avocado, cheese, additional veggies as available)
Stuffed Sweet Potato with sauteed greens, beans and/or chicken (drizzle with tahini or top with salsa & avocado )
Tip #3: Pay Attention to the Serving Size
Be honest with how much you’ll eat between meal prep sessions. Recipes & boxed items like rice or quinoa commonly provide instructions for making large servings for multiple people. Consider halving or quartering what is suggested. Nothing is worse than throwing out tons of stinky, week-old rice because you forgot 2 cup dry equals 6 cups cooked.
Tip #4: Buy in Bulk
When possible, buy shelf-stable items such as rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, oats, natural peanut butter & nuts, natural protein powders, low-sodium/sugar sauces, and seasonings in bulk to save money and lessen the chance you’ll run out mid-prep session.
You can also buy animal protein such as poultry, lean beef, and fish in bulk and freeze. Frozen veggies are also a great option! You can freeze the ones you buy fresh but can’t eat in time or buy them that way.
Bonus tip: be sure to read the ingredients labels on the bagged frozen fruits & veggies. The only ingredients listed should be that fruit or vegetable- no additives, salt, sugar, or fillers.
Tip #5: Shop Local
Stake out your local Farmers Markets or produce shops for better value. The produce at these markets typically skip the ‘middleman’ and therefore last longer. They also tend to be less expensive and support your community farmers!
Local to Orlando? Try:
Clemons Produce on Curry Ford road (open daily)
Freshfield Farms in Sodo (open daily)
Winter Park & Winter Garden Farmers Market (Saturdays)
Lake Eola Farmers Market (Sundays)
If you’re not local to Orlando or perusing the market on a weekend just isn’t your jam, try a delivery service like Butcher Box (monthly delivery of grass fed, free range meats and wild salmon) and join a local CSA that delivers a monthly box of in-season veggies.
For the Overachievers, More Quick Tips:
Invest in quality tupperware (and have plenty of it in multiple sizes). I’m a huge fan of this Pyrex set because it’s made from glass instead of plastic and it includes many different shapes/sizes that store neatly inside of each other to save space.
Save time with a Crock Pot or Instant Pot! The Instant Pot is a total game changer. Recipes that used to take 8 hours are now complete in 30 minutes.
Crock Pot/Instant Pot hack #2 (can you tell I’m a fan?): Prepare chilis or soups in bulk, then freeze for later.
Meal prep with a work buddy and swap lunches on a designated day of the week to keep things interesting
Document the meals you really enjoyed (and how you made them) in your phone, fitness app, excel sheet, or notepad. This is helpful for when you run out of ideas and need some inspiration from meals you know you enjoy.
Still struggling with meal prep? Meet with one of our registered dietitians to develop an individualized game plan to meeting your nutrition, diet, or weight loss goals.
Does anyone else get annoyed when they find a photo of a recipe they want to make but then have to scroll down through an entire explanation of this random bloggers weekend trip to Branson (with 700 photos) before you get to the actual recipe?
Same. So I’ll spare you the boring details about my weekends and get down to the nitty gritty: the many ways you can use these two super quick instant pot recipes.
Power bowl: a layer of greens and veggies (I used baby kale, chopped purple cabbage, and watermelon radishes) + warmed black beans and salsa chicken + avocado on top.
Tacos: salsa chicken + black beans + shredded cheddar + shredded lettuce on a flour tortilla
Dinner: pair the chicken and beans with brown rice and a salad on the side
Now, let’s talk about how to responsibly source chicken. This is probably the first chicken recipe you’ve ever seen me share. I was vegetarian for a few years but once I was able to start getting beef, pork, and venison from my families small farm in Ohio (I literally take a huge empty suitcase with me, fill it with frozen meat, and check it), I felt good about working those protein sources back into my diet. My only option for chicken, on the other hand, is the grocery store, so I just don’t buy it. I want to know where my food came from and how my food was raised.
Enter ButcherBox. Have you heard of them yet? ButcherBox delivers 100% grass-fed beef, free range organic chicken and heritage breed pork directly to your door. Think of them as the neighborhood butcher for modern America. Their chicken is free range and organic. It’s great for the chicken that they get access to the outdoors instead of being stuck in a dark barn unable to move all day, but it’s also great for you because they get to eat grass and bugs. When what you eat eats well, you get the benefits too.
So far, I’ve tried their chicken and bacon and they’ve both been phenomenal. The convenience is key. I know you don’t want to go to 3 different stores- one for produce, one for meat, and one for toilet paper; so this gives you the option of having all of your meat delivered to your door (frozen) for the month.
1. Sprinkle each chicken breast with the taco seasoning on each side.
2. Place in the instant pot and cover with salsa.
3. Cook on the “poultry” setting for 10 minutes, then let it sit for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. If your chicken is frozen, cook for 15 minutes and let it sit for 20. Test the temperature of the chicken to make sure it has reached 165 degrees fahrenheit (mine was well above 200).
4. Once chicken has cooled enough for you to not burn yourself, shred with a fork. The flavors intensify if you let it sit overnight.
Instant Pot Cuban-Style Black Beans
Makes 8-10 servings (freezes well)
This recipe used to take at least 12 hours in the slow cooker!
12 ounces dried black beans
1 medium onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups beef (or vegetable) broth
1. Rinse beans well.
2. Add all ingredients to pot and stir to combine.
3. Set to “beans” for 35 minutes, then let sit for an additional 20 minutes before you release the pressure. Drain any excess liquid.
Could those recipes be ANY easier? I froze half of the beans and half the chicken in freezer bags for a quickly reheated dinner on a busy day.
Since I’ve just started delving into the Instant Pot world, I’m looking for other recipes that can be modified to take 30 minutes or less instead of all day in the slow cooker. Do you guys have any go to Instant Pot recipes?
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