Packed schedule? You’re not alone. More than ever, busy families are relying on grab-and-go meals to get them through the day.
Stopping by the drive-thru on a lunch break or between drop-offs and pick-ups from school and soccer practice can be a tempting quick food fix, but with increasing rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, it’s not a healthy daily option.
With the recipes below and a little planning, you can stock your fridge with healthy on-the-go meals that are tasty, quick to make and ready to roll when you are.
See part 1 here.
Mixed Berry Smoothie
Get a head start on your five-a-day fruits and veggies with this delicious mixed berry smoothie. The secret ingredient you won’t know is there? A full cup of fresh spinach! Whiz fruit, milk, yogurt and spinach in a blender until smooth to create a quick and healthy breakfast that feels like a treat. Give this no fuss way to get your kids (and you!) to eat their leafy greens a try today!
Note to the Cook: Have overripe bananas on your counter? Don’t toss them, freeze them for a future smoothie! Peel the banana, slice into chunks and place on a baking sheet that is covered in parchment paper. Place in the freezer; once the banana slices are completely frozen, store them in a zip top bag. Frozen banana slices can be added right to your blender.
|1 cup low-fat milk|
|1 cup spinach|
|1 cup frozen mixed berries, do not defrost|
|½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt|
Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until completely smooth, pausing to scrape the sides as necessary. Serve immediately.
Serving size: approximately 1 ½ cups. Serves 2.
|Calories||167||Total Fat||2 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g||Monounsaturated Fat||0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0 g||Trans Fat||0 g|
|Cholesterol||8 mg||Sodium||91 mg|
|Potassium||631 mg||Total Carbohydrate||30 g|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g||Sugars||20 g|
Orange and Broccoli Quinoa Salad
The lunch time rut is real and we are here to help with a salad that is fresh, flavorful and loaded with nutrition. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein, broccoli and quinoa team up for a salad that is a nutritional powerhouse. Freshly squeezed orange juice forms the base of a simple dressing that brightens and adds zesty flavor. Prepare on a Sunday and say goodbye to the #SadDeskLunch.
Change up the salad based on what’s in your fridge. Quinoa is a complete protein and highly satisfying on its own, and leftover cooked chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu are tasty additions. Extra vegetables like carrots and edamame are also delicious.
Note to the Cook: The broccoli in this recipe is added raw for a satisfying crunch. If you prefer your broccoli to be tender, lightly steam before adding.
|1 cup dry quinoa|
|1 large orange or 2 smaller|
|1 garlic clove, grated or very finely minced|
|½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or very finely minced|
|1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce or soy sauce substitute|
|1 teaspoon rice vinegar|
|½ teaspoon sesame oil|
|1 crown of broccoli|
|1 large red bell pepper|
|2-3 green onions|
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Add cooked quinoa to a large bowl and allow to cool while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
- Wash orange and zest it into a small bowl for approximately 1 teaspoon of zest. Juice the orange for approximately ⅓ cup of juice and add to the bowl.
- Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil to the bowl and stir to combine. Set dressing aside.
- Clean the broccoli and pepper. Remove seeds from the pepper and slice both the pepper and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Add vegetables to the large bowl of quinoa.
- Chop the green onion, green parts only and add to the bowl of quinoa. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Chill salad and serve cold.
|Calories||220||Total Fat||4 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||Monounsaturated Fat||1 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||2 g||Trans Fat||0 g|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||Sodium||83 mg|
|Potassium||594 mg||Total Carbohydrate||39 g|
|Dietary Fiber||7 g||Sugars||6 g|
Chicken Salad with Grapes & Tarragon
Which chicken salad team are you on – diced or shredded? Homemade means making it the way you like it and keeping it healthy.
Combining non-fat Greek yogurt and low-fat mayonnaise keeps all the creaminess of traditional chicken salad while cutting the fat. Adding fresh herbs and fruit is a healthy way to bring big flavor. Not a fan of tarragon? Swap it out for fresh basil, parsley or thyme. Serve chicken salad in whole wheat pitas stuffed with greens for an on-the-go meal or simply serve over a bed of greens.
Cook’s Note: This is an excellent use for leftover chicken. Rotisserie chicken is another time-saver but best to remove the skin and be mindful of the sodium content.
|2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, uncooked about 1 ¼ – 1 ½ lbs or 3-4 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken|
|3 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise|
|3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, non-fat|
|1 teaspoon lemon juice|
|¼-½ teaspoon garlic powder|
|1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped|
|2-3 stalks of celery, finely minced|
|2 tablespoons diced red onion, finely minced|
|1 cup red seedless grapes, halved|
- If using already cooked chicken proceed to step 2. If using raw chicken: Add raw chicken to a medium pot and cover with water by an inch or two. If desired, add aromatics such as garlic cloves, bay leaves, onion or peppercorns. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium low. Continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked with an internal temperature of 165, about 10-15 minutes. Take care not to over cook to keep chicken moist and tender.
- While chicken is cooking, mix together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, tarragon, celery and red onion in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Once fully cooked, carefully remove chicken from the cooking liquid and discard liquid and aromatics. Once chicken is cool enough to safely handle, chop or shred as desired. Add cooled chicken (or pre-cooked chicken) to the bowl of dressing and stir to combine. Gently mix in halved grapes. Refrigerate salad until ready to eat; serve cold. Serve inside a whole wheat pita stuffed with greens or over a bed of greens.
Serves 6. Serving size: Approximately ¾ – 1 cup.
|Calories||217||Total Fat||4 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g||Monounsaturated Fat||1 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||1 g||Trans Fat||0 g|
|Cholesterol||132 mg||Sodium||133 mg|
|Potassium||510 mg||Total Carbohydrate||8 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1 g||Sugars||5 g|
Pumped Up Salsa
Turn store bought salsa into a satisfying heart healthy snack with the quick addition of some pantry staples. Not only do these easy add-ins taste great, they will help you stay full longer. Keep it simple with just beans and corn or spice it up with diced jalapeño, lime juice and cilantro.
Look for low sodium or no salt-added salsas. When in doubt, check the label as sodium levels can vary widely among brands. This recipe was made using a salsa that contains 80mg per 2 tablespoon serving.
|1 jar low sodium salsa|
|1 15oz can no salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained|
|1 8.75oz can corn kernels, no salt added, drained or 1 cup frozen corn, cooked, drained and cooled|
|Jalapeño, finely diced|
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Add optional ingredients to taste. Refrigerate until ready to eat and serve cold with unsalted or low sodium tortilla chips.
Serves 15. Serving size: ¼ cup.
|Calories||44||Total Fat||0 g|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||Monounsaturated Fat||0 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0 g||Trans Fat||0 g|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||Sodium||90 mg|
|Potassium||109 mg||Total Carbohydrate||8 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g||Sugars||1 g|