Breakfast of Nutrition Champions: Oats
Workday mornings are hectic, and often, breakfast takes a back seat. However, with a small amount of preparation there is no reason you can’t still eat to your optimal nutrition even on busy mornings. Oat-based breakfasts are particularly satisfying as they're chock-full of heart-healthy insoluble fiber. Try our Spiced Maple Oats with Chia, a glamorized version of humble oatmeal that can be made 1 to 2 days ahead of time.
Get the recipe: Spiced Maple Oats with Chia
Snack attack: Savory muffins
Bake sweet or savory muffins for satisfying, healthy snacks or to-go breakfasts. Avoid consuming the empty-calorie vending- machine goodies at work by preparing for between-meal munchies – snacks are not something to feel guilty about if you focus on nutrient-rich options. Muffins also freeze well, so make a large batch and freeze them in resealable bags. Grab a bag from the freezer in the morning and by the afternoon you have a handheld, healthy treat your coworkers will drool over.
Get the recipe:Smoked Avocado Cheddar Muffins
Lunch: Make and freeze burritos
Prep and freeze burritos for quick, portable lunches or easy dinners. Lunchtime can be prime time for compromising your healthy-eating instincts. We are constantly bombarded with options for midday meals that are fast and cheap and often high in trans fat, sodium, sugar and preservatives, so make your lunch decision before the midday hunger pangs strike. Prepare your favorite bean filling; then sauté red and green bell peppers, onions and jalapeños, and fill whole-grain tortillas for a lunch to look forward to. These versatile burritos can be eaten any time of day including
Get the recipe:The Best Burritos
Soups are the perfect grab-and-go midday meal and can accompany just about any lunchlike side, from your favorite panini to the classic kale Caesar. They are also a great way to clear out the fridge of any vegetables that require immediate use. Cook and portion out your favorite soup or tried-and-true chili for an easy grab in the morning before leaving the house. Homemade bread is always a nice accompaniment and takes far less effort than imagined. Make a few loaves on Sunday and freeze and defrost later in the week to be certain that excessive sodium, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup don't make an appearance in your bread’s ingredient list.
Midday or post-fitness snack: Date & Cashew Balls
Make a batch of protein-rich snacks to have on hand to keep your blood sugar and energy levels from dropping throughout the day. Some great options include homemade protein bars, energy balls using nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit, or simply throwing together a healthy trail mix including ingredients like dry-roasted almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries and cacao nibs. Protein-rich snacks are particularly useful post-workout to help rebuild and repair your hard-worked muscles.
Get the recipe:Date & Cashew Protein Balls
Side dish: Roasted veggies
Roast a variety of root veggies with the same cooking time for an easy side, or add to salads, grain bowls, soups and scrambles. Great roasting combos include red and golden beets, carrots, turnip, celeriac root and sweet and regular potatoes. Use them as the base of a potato salad, serve them under Bourguignon or add them to your favorite ale stew. Double or triple this recipe if you want to enjoy more than once throughout the week.
Get the recipe:Roasted Root Veggies
Dinner: Your favorite freezable meal
Make your own (healthy) frozen dinners to avoid grabbing store-bought convenience meals loaded with unnecessary sodium, sugar, preservatives and additives. Whole-grain pizza, butternut mac & cheese, samosa pie, eggplant moussaka and lasagna are all freezable and easy to pop into the oven on a busy weeknight. Search any of those at cleaneating.com to enjoy one of our tried-and-true recipes sure to tame the workweek beast without breaking the empty- calorie bank. Not only is making your own freezable, ready-made meals convenient after a long day, but it also means knowing exactly what goes into your meals and what doesn't.
Freezing tip: Prepare and freeze your make-ahead meals in the same dish you'll be heating, baking or roasting in. This will save on defrosting time and minimize dirty dishes.
Visit cleaneating.com and try our reader favorites Butternut Squash Lasagna with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts or 3-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce that you can make and freeze entirely ahead of time and serve later in the week!