After my post on the stages of dieting and nutrition, I got comments and e-mails asking for ideas for healthy “purple” meals. And after telling Lean Cuisines to stuff it yesterday, I figured it was as good a time as any to share simple and quick weeknight dinners that don’t involve a lot of processed stuff.
One of the reasons I don’t post a ton of food pictures of my own meals is because I so often eat the same things…really, just a lot of variations on these recipes! And I figure seeing an endless parade of that could get a little old for you guys. But if you’re wondering what’s in frequent rotation in my kitchen…here’s a peek!
My signature Shedding It “Bowl.”
I used to do this a lot last summer as a way to use leftovers. Basically I took whatever protein I had and sliced it up and sauteed it with whatever veggies I had, along with some garlic and other spices. Then I’d add just throw it in a bowl with rice or couscous and some type of beans to make it complete.
When making a bowl, choosing a taste “theme” works well (like Mexican, Mediterranean, etc). My favorite combo is probably chicken + zucchini + onions + red pepper + garlic + Indian spices + couscous + chickpeas, but I also love doing it with Mexican food.
Frozen shrimp is something I almost always have in the freezer and it’s perfect for a bowl because it thaws so fast — pretty much in the time it takes to cut the veggies. It also tastes good with pretty much any flavor “theme.” This mango shrimp recipe is a good example of how I used frozen shrimp and a bunch of stuff I had around to make a bowl one night when I didn’t know what to eat.
If you like pasta because it’s quick and easy, you can make it more nutritious by really pimping it out with delicious and healthy add-ins. Think any good cheese + any dried fruit + nuts. I’ve also added leftover grilled chicken and roasted squash. You definitely don’t have to follow a recipe on this one; the idea is to use what you have.
This is one of my favorite recipes ever! Mmm…delicious. It’s also great with chicken instead of turkey.
Really, any kind of pimped-out oats are my lazy, go-to recipe. It’s my version of eating cereal for dinner. (I did it last night because I need to get to the grocery store today!) I’ve cut back on this because I was pimping a little too hard and all that sugar was catching up to me. Now it’s more of a once-a-week treat that I still feel good about.
Another huge WIN; a great breakfast but a hell of a dinner too! I have eggs for lunch several times a week, and pesto makes everything better.
I think of this as a grown up way to have a PB & J for dinner. It’s about as simple, but just better. It feels like a real meal. And really, it works with any fruit/cheese combo, which is great. Brie and pear?! HELLO.
This is a favorite of mine because it’s like a smorgasboard! My poached egg protein plate is a similar variation. When you’re making dinner and have a weird combination of things on hand, it’s OK! A dinner doesn’t always have to look like a typical dinner.
Those are some of my favorite go-tos! And later today I’ll share some even more low-maintenance ways to eat more in the purple zone and less in the pink!
Anyone else have good meal suggestions to help avoid the lure of fast food, frozen dinners, and Lucky Charms?