Meals in my house have been pretty hit and miss lately. My husband and I have both gotten insanely busy with school/work; the days are longer, so we’re spending more time outside with the kids at the end of the day; and my stash of healthy, homemade freezer meals that I socked away in winter are long gone. Even though I spend my days thinking about, researching, writing about and yes, eating, food, I still find that all this thinking hasn’t actually led to any decent planning on my part. So, I’m spending a good chunk of Memorial Day being thankful for those who have fought for our country AND making a plan of attack for our meals for June. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m trying to eat as many fruits and veggies as possible – building my meals and snacks around these, instead of trying to squeeze them in around all the other stuff. So my recipe searching has been a lot of fun and I’ve come across some tasty new ideas (both with meat and without). In addition to aiming for lots of fruits and veggies, I’m also trying to up the fiber and protein content of our meals, and keep fat (especially saturated fat) and refined/processed foods to a moderate or low level.
Given that I know a lot of you are in the same boat, with busy schedules, the school year nearing an end, summer travels and such, I thought I’d share a few of the things I am planning to put on our menu! My plan is that my kids will eat all of this right along with us, but I’m fully prepared for the (likely) possibility that they don’t like beets as much as I do. So, In addition to the meals outlined below, I’ll also make sure to always have a kid-friendly side dish at each meal that they can get their fill of as needed. This usually looks like rice, quinoa pasta, quesadillas, roasted potatoes, or the usual standby’s of broccoli/cauliflower/carrots and ranch dressing dip.
- Banana/strawberry smoothie (1 c fruit) with spinach (2 c), greek yogurt (1/4 c), almond milk (1 c), drizzle of honey or 1 packet stevia and handful of crushed ice. Sometimes I add 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds for extra omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
- Rolled or steel cut oats with fresh summer fruit and 2 T chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts), topped with 2 T plain greek yogurt (I like Fage or Chobani, but there are lots of great brands out there these days)
- 2 eggs scrambled, wrapped in whole wheat tortilla with 1 oz cheddar cheese, 1 T greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), salsa and cilantro. (I also learned a cool tofu scramble in my Cooking Matters class that I will try out on my twins, who can’t eat eggs. It was surprisingly awesome).
- 2 hard boiled eggs and 1 slice Dave’s Killer Bread (love this stuff!) with jam or pumpkin butter (Trader Joe’s has some yummy fruit butters) and a piece of fruit (apple, banana, whatever).
- Spinach salad with 2-3 c baby spinach, 1/2 c. garbanzo beans, 1/2 c. chopped peppers, 1/2 chopped carrots, 1 T chopped nuts, 2 T blue or feta cheese, 1 1/2 T balsamic vinaigrette dressing. (I layer it all, except the dressing, in a mason jar, and it travels really well for work or school!). Avocado, grilled chicken and hard-boiled eggs are other favorites that I often add to my salad. Pair the salad with a slice of string cheese or some yogurt and an apple for a healthy lunch.
- Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger on a whole wheat tortilla or sandwich petals (most stores carry some variety of the “petals”). Sometimes I make these like a taco in the tortilla and add a bit of avocado, cheese and salsa, other times, I just add good ol’ ketchup and mustard. Pair with some fruit and/or veggie slices and a small handful of whole grain chips and hummus, and you’re all set.
- Summer gazpacho soup (I LOVE the Barefoot Contessa’s version and it makes a TON, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/gazpacho-recipe/index.html) paired with a tuna sandwich on Dave’s Killer bread. Fruit and veggie slices round out this one.
- Chicken/orzo salad. I’ve not tried this one yet, but it’s going to get a trial run this week! http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/635 . I’ll add some crackers and a bit of cheese (1-2 ounces) and fruit to complete the meal.
- Another new one for me, but it looks amazing: Arugula, Steak & Parmesan salad. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2599. I think we’ll grill some focaccia to go with this and maybe a side of roasted or grilled veggies such as peppers, onions, zucchini, etc.
- Spicy Lamb Burgers. I’ve made these several times before and they are delish. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/1668. A Greek salad made from cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, red onion and kalamata olives is a great side dish. Oil and vinegar on top, with a splash of fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper.
- Grilled chicken (I love using Tom Douglas’ rubs on chicken, fish, steak, etc.) with sides of roasted green green beans, roasted beet salad with goat cheese, and red potato potato salad with bacon, blue cheese and chives. Recipes at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beet-and-Goat-Cheese-Salad-with-Pistachios-107426 and http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Potato-and-Blue-Cheese-Salad-103688
Desserts: because sometimes you just have to have something sweet!
- Sauteed sliced pears with 1 t of butter and 1 t of brown sugar or maple syrup. Saute until soft, top with vanilla greek yogurt and nuts as desired (or a couple tablespoons of your favorite granola).
- Tofu Mexican chocolate “pudding” (seriously, it’s WAY better than it sounds. And, for my kids who can’t have dairy, it’s a god-send). Mark Bittman is my hero; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/dining/201mrex.html
- Piles and piles of fresh berries. Seriously, I cannot get enough of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries! Add a bit of ice cream, whipped cream or Greek yogurt if your heart desires.
Side note: I keep hearing about puddings made with avocado, but haven’t yet tried it. If you’re feeling brave, Whole Foods has a highly rated one: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/3148
Enjoy! And if you come across any awesome healthy summer fare, please send ME the recipes!