Nutrition Articles

Meals on the Go

Six quick, delicous meals to make when in a hurry

By Brett Hall

chickensoup
One of the biggest challenges with eating healthy is finding the time to actually make the food and have it on hand when you need it. These six easy, make-ahead recipes will keep you on the right track to eating healthy. They can be frozen and reheated and used throughout the week for lunch or dinner, and they’re great for whether you’re at the office, in a rush at night or on the go to the gym. Rember that after 3 days leftovers should be thrown out.

After mixing up the Quick Combo Salad or cooking the Beefy Noodle Bowl, you’ll find eating healthy when in a hurry can be easy and delicious.

Not Your Granny’s Chicken Soup

Don’t have time to enjoy this tasty bowl of soup by the fire? Then put it in a container and take it to work for a nutritious lunch that’s full of essential nutrients to keep yourself active all day.

Serves 8
    4 (15-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth
    2 (16-ounce) jars salsa (your choice of mild, medium or hot)
    1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, mixed vegetables of your choice
    2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

In a large, heavy-duty saucepan, combine the chicken broth, salsa, vegetables and beans. Cook on medium high heat until the mixture begins to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about five minutes or until vegetables are tender crisp. Stir in the chicken and simmer for another few minutes until heated through. To freeze, place equal amounts in individual freezer and microwave safe airtight containers and reheat as needed in a microwave or on the stovetop.

Nutritional value per serving:
Calories: 313
Fat: 14 grams
Protein: 24 grams
Carbs: 27 grams
Fiber: 3 grams


Stovetop Shepherd’s Pie

Although this might taste like comfort food, it’s not the high-fat fare you’d expect. Reheat it throughout the week for a tasty meal that tastes like you’re cheating.

Serves 6
    1 pound lean ground turkey breast
    1 (10-ounce) package frozen, mixed vegetables of your choice
    1/4 cup water
    1 10 3/4-ounce can low salt condensed tomato soup
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon thyme
    3 cups pre-made mashed potatoes, such as Simply Potatoes brand
    1 scoop protein powder
    1 heaping tablespoon Butter Buds
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    2 tablespoons hot water
    1 cup shredded, reduced fat cheddar cheese
    Chopped, fresh parsley (optional)

In a large, heavy-duty skillet, stir-cook the ground turkey over medium high heat until it is no longer pink. Drain off any traces of fat. Stir in the vegetables and water. Cover the skillet and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to combine ingredients. While the turkey mixture is simmering, heat up the mashed potatoes and mix in the protein powder. Combine the Butter Buds and garlic powder with the hot water, mixing until dissolved, and then stir into the mashed potatoes. Add the soup, Worcestershire sauce and thyme to the turkey mixture and bring it to a boil in the uncovered skillet, stirring constantly. Divide the turkey mixture into six small, oven-proof/freezer-safe casserole dishes. Top each one with shredded cheddar cheese and half cup of mashed potatoes. Wrap well with plastic wrap and freeze. Reheat in a microwave or a toaster oven as needed. Before serving, sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Nutritional value per serving:
Calories: 315
Fat: 15 grams
Protein: 25 grams
Carbs: 30 grams
Fiber: 2 grams


Easy Salmon Spinach Cakes

Besides being delicious, this recipe contains high-quality protein from the salmon, and it also contains all the essential amino acids you need for an energizing day. These salmon spinach cakes make a great meal to serve to family and friends.

Serves 6
    1/4 cup water
    Egg substitute equivalent to 2 large eggs
    1/4 cup red onion, diced
    1/4 cup yellow pepper, diced
    1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
    1 (16-ounce) can red salmon, drained, de-boned and flaked
    (or equivalent cooked, fresh salmon filet, skin removed and flaked)
    1 (10-ounce) box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
    1 cup coarsely hand crushed, whole-wheat crackers, such as Health Valley brand

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with fat-free non-stick cooking spray. Using a fork, mix water, egg substitute, onion, yellow pepper, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Add salmon, spinach and crushed crackers to the water mixture, combining well. Add more water, if necessary. Divide mixture into six equal patties and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve alone or on a bed of salad greens with two tablespoons of light soy sauce or fat-free dressing of your choice. Freeze patties in airtight containers or freezer bags, using pieces of wax paper between them so they won’t stick together. Reheat in a toaster oven or microwave.

Nutritional value per serving:
Calories: 231
Fat: 8 grams
Protein: 19 grams
Carbs: 16 grams
Fiber: 3 grams


Beefy Noodle Bowl

This is a perfect meal when you’re in a hurry to get to the gym. It has the macronutrient ratio (40/40/20) you need to get ready for an intense workout!

Serves 8
    2 (15-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth
    4 cups water
    6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
    1 (10-ounce) package frozen, cut asparagus
    1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
    1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    1 pound top sirloin steak, fat trimmed and sliced into thin strips
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
    1 ounce toasted sesame seeds (optional)

In a large pot, combine chicken broth, water and garlic and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and add the asparagus, mushrooms and ginger. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Break the spaghetti into shorter pieces and cook according to package directions. Several minutes before the pasta is done, add the beef to the pot of broth and vegetables and simmer gently for several minutes until the beef is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. To freeze, divide the cooked spaghetti evenly into individual freezer/microwave safe airtight containers. Top with equal amounts of beef broth mixture. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop. Sprinkle each serving with some toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

Nutritional value per serving:
Calories: 258
Fat: 8 grams
Protein: 23 grams
Carbs: 22 grams
Fiber: 6 grams


Italian Tuna-Beans

This dish is full of protein and will replenish your body after you just trained hard at the gym or had a grueling day at the office. You can omit the garbanzo beans if you want to lower the carb content of the dish, but they do add a nice flavor.

Serves 6
    2 (6-ounce) cans solid white tuna (packed in water), drained and flaked
    1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    3 scallions, sliced
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    2 teaspoons chopped, fresh parsley
    Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Eat as is or spread on romaine or endive lettuce leaves for some extra crunch!

Nutritional value per serving:
Calories: 235
Fat: 8 grams
Protein: 16 grams
Carbs: 25 grams
Fiber: 4 grams


Quick Combo Salad

This salad serves as a quick, delicious lunch that’s low in fat and carbs, and it’s full of healthy antioxidants. Fuel your body and mind with this nutritious salad so you don’t hit that afternoon slump.
Serves 6
    1/2 pound baby red potatoes, skin on, diced to ½-inch pieces
    1/4 cup non-fat sour cream
    1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
    1 scoop protein powder
    1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon
    1 cup hard boiled egg whites, chopped
    1 cup extra lean, diced ham
    Salt and pepper, to taste

Place diced potatoes in a medium-size saucepan. Fill pan with enough water to cover the potatoes and bring them to a boil over medium high heat. While the potatoes are boiling, combine the sour cream, cottage cheese and protein powder in a food processor or blender and pulse to make a smooth dressing.

Place the dressing in a bowl, stir in the tarragon and set aside. When potatoes are fork tender, drain and then rinse them under cold water to cool. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, egg whites and ham. Add the dressing and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use as a filling for stuffed tomatoes to add more fiber, or as a spread on celery sticks, zucchini slices, etc.

Nutritional value per serving:
Calories: 118
Fat: 2 grams
Protein: 8 grams
Carbs: 8 grams
Fiber: Less than 1 gram