As you learned in the Lark DPP check-in, you can make healthy eating easier with some smart supermarket shopping that includes stocking up on lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains. What can you do with those ingredients, though, and how can you get a healthy meal on the table (or in your belly) whenever you need one?
Set yourself up for success by buying the healthy foods you need for the week. Make a list with any staples you may need to stock up on as well as the fresh foods you need. You can speed up your meal planning without getting bored by establishing a regular pattern, such as:
Monday - chicken (such as roasted with vegetables)
Tuesday - fish (such as pan-seared with citrus salsa or roasted in foil with vegetables)
Wednesday - chicken (such as stir fry or baked with pasta sauce)
Thursday - meatless (such as veggie burger or vegetarian burrito)
Friday - ground turkey (such as chili or stuffed peppers)
It is okay if you cannot go mid-week to the store to buy more fresh vegetables. You can buy them once a week, cook the ones with a short shelf life, and freeze them to use throughout the week. Similarly, plan to eat short-lived fruit such as berries first, and have longer-lasting fruit such as apples and oranges later in the week.
Next, prepare those nutritious groceries as much as possible. Cook and freeze perishable ones, such as some vegetables and your proteins, leaving out only the ones you will use in the next few days. Consider making a big batch of grain, such as quinoa or brown rice, and beans or lentils to use in the upcoming week. You can make and freeze some recipes, such as chili, soup, stew, breakfast egg-based muffins, and casseroles, to use as you need them later in the week.
Quick Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
If you have time to order in or go out, you have time to make a healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. An easy tool for meal planning is the plate method: fill half your plate (or bowl!) with non-starchy vegetables and divide the rest of your plate evenly between lean proteins and whole grains or starchy vegetables. You can substitute fruit for the non-starchy vegetables once a day, often at breakfast.
These are some ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that take minimal cooking and/or can be prepared ahead of time.
Cottage cheese with peaches and walnuts
Avocado, tomato, and an egg on whole-grain toast
Whole-grain pancake with strawberries and egg
Fresh fruit salad with seeds and oats
Hard-boiled egg with quinoa, spinach, and tomatoes.
Tuna, lettuce, and tomato on half a whole-grain bagel with carrot sticks
Chopped salad with nuts and beans
Low-sodium bean, pea or lentil soup
Turkey burger on whole-grain roll with lettuce and tomato, served with veggies
Chicken or fish with sweet potato and green beans
Lasagna with ricotta, mozzarella layered with eggplant and whole-grain noodles
The average American has fast food nearly every other day, so you may want to know how to get a healthy fast food meal. The good news is that most fast food restaurants offer good choices.
Pick one of these…
One of these…
And one or two of these
Grilled or roasted chicken breast (not breaded or fried)
Kid-sized beef patties
Steamed or grilled vegetables
Nuts as toppings
Whole-grain bread or brown rice
Healthy eating can be challenging, especially when you are busy. However, it gets easier with practice and with support. Lark DPP can give you that support with healthy eating tips and easy food prep ideas. Keep using the app to become an expert in healthy eating at a moment's notice!
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.