Having healthy food on hand for every meal is the KEY to getting results you desire.

How many times have you ducked up to the shop and grabbed some Take-away because you weren’t prepared?

Exactly…

Make the week easy and prepare your meals ahead of time. It takes a lot of work out of an already busy schedule.

This is a great time to be creative. Choose a variety of versatile items that can be transformed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Meals with plenty of servings are always a great go-to. Plan your meals before you go to the grocery store so you get exactly what’s on the menu.

Having a plan helps keep you on track and you don’t spend as much money, bonus!

Roasting a chicken at the beginning of the week, with a hearty amount of roasted vegetables and a large batch of quinoa, is a delicious meal in itself, but separately these items and some additional ingredients can be used to make a variety of meals for the week. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your way.

Quinoa is one of those super foods with amazing properties. It’s gluten-free, packed with protein, fiber, iron, calcium, this list goes on and on. It is one of the rare foods to contain all nine essential amino acids and while we use it as a grain, it is actually a seed. Buying quinoa in bulk is not a bad idea. You can use this versatile seed from soups to salads; desserts and breakfast and everything between.

Healthy Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars

These bars are a hearty breakfast bar with plenty of protein and fiber to keep you full. Don’t be afraid to play with the ingredients, like Instead of carob chips, add dried fruit. You could also add nuts for additional crunch. This recipe yields a large amount and makes a deliciously filling breakfast.

3 cups cooked quinoa (equal to 1 cup uncooked quinoa)
2 & 1/2 cups oats (steel cut or quick cooking)
3/4 cup carob chips
1/4 cup flaxseed
3/4 cup creamy all natural peanut butter, or any nut butter
3/4 cup milk or any milk substitute
1/4 cup honey

Cook quinoa according to directions and allow time to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together, add wet ingredients, put in a 9×13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool. Then, add melted peanut butter and more carob chips for a delicious topping. Cut and store airtight tight container.

Mexican Quinoa Bake

This is a plentiful meal that can be used as dinner or a next day’s lunch. Have some roasted chicken on the side to make it a complete meal.

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
½ bell pepper
½ medium white onion
½ cup fresh salsa 
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn 
¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 handful fresh cilantro
¼ cup guacamole or avocado (optional)

Cook the quinoa according to directions. Soften the pepper and onion over medium heat for five minutes. Stir together quinoa, peppers, onions, salsa, black beans and corn. Add to a glass baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes or until cheese has melted. Top with avocado and cilantro and serve

Roasted vegetables can be used to add deep flavor and rich nutrients to an abundance of meals. Use seasonal vegetables, drizzle olive oil and fresh herbs or spices. Roasting vegetables for a side dish one night can make a delicious frittata the next morning and a fantastic salad for lunch. You can also use it to make a roasted vegetable soup that you can freeze for another night’s meal.

Roasted vegetables

Cut your veggies into same-size chunks, drizzle olive oil on top, season with fresh herbs or spices, add lemon juice or balasmic vinegar, roast root vegetables at 475 degrees for 45-50 min, roast all other vegetables for 15-20 minutes.

Roasted vegetable frittata

Preheat oven to 375, warm cast iron skillet, reheat roasted vegetables for a minute, in a sepearate bowl beat 6 eggs (better yet, the equivalent in egg whites for fewer calories and fat grams) together with 1 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk, add eggs to hot skillet, place in oven for 12-15 min.

Roasted vegetable salad

Add previously roasted vegetables over mixed greens, add a homemade dressing of avocado, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, top with roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for added crunch and protein. Really bulk it up by adding roasted chicken.

Roasted Chicken

1 small onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 5-pound chicken, giblets removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Place onion, garlic, tarragon and thyme into the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, almost closing the cavity opening. Tie the wings so the tips overlap on top of the breast. Rub the chicken with oil, salt and pepper.

Set in a roasting pan, breast-side down. Roast the chicken for 25 minutes. Turn breast-side up and continue roasting, basting occasionally with pan juices, until a thermometer inserted registers 80°, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the string before carving.
Add an array of super fruits; berries, apples or oranges to the list for a nutrient dense combination of deliciousness.

The options are limitless for prepared meals.

Enjoy!

From CrossFit Plus

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