We started talking earlier this week about healthy eating and how to make it easier. When you live with someone who eats roughly 4,000 calories a day…all clean…you have to do some prep work to make things practical. On the weekend, we sit down together and make a menu for the week for dinner, but that doesn’t always help with breakfast and lunch. I am getting better at planning leftovers in for lunches, but it is much easier to just pack everything at the beginning of the week and be able to grab and go. I start by cooking about egg muffins, 2 cups of brown rice, 6 organic chicken breasts, 4 sweet potatoes and steaming a bunch of veggies. With these staples always in the fridge, you can make a lot of things happen. Sometimes chicken becomes Chicken Tinga, or enchiladas. Often it gets chopped and sent in lunches. By having a bit of an assembly line with the food scale, I can get through things pretty quickly with already cooked foods. Bonus, whatever we don’t get to, I just freeze and use that in meals down the road. Shredded chicken is awesome to have in the freezer…a great time saver! I try to mix in something I haven’t tried before once a week. It doesn’t always happen (read: the lentils I meant to make still in my pantry) but I try for variety. We usually mix in one fish meal and one lean red meat meal each week. I swear all of this is much easier than it sounds! It really does make the rest of the week go much smoother. Here is an example of a dinner I made from our staples in the fridge. You can see our fully stocked fridge is how we make it without take out for every meal! Chicken and Brussels sprouts with brown rice. MMMM. This was great too because it saved well and became the perfect lunch later in the week. Gotta love multitasking!
Chicken with Brussels Sprouts
2 Chicken breasts cooked and cubed
12-15 Brussels Sprouts, shredded
3 T Dried Cranberries
2 T Sliced Almonds
2 T Honey
2 T Butter
Crushed red peppers
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat add Brussels sprouts and sauté about 2 minutes. Add chicken, cranberries, and almonds. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and drizzle with honey. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.
I don’t know about you, but for us 2014 has come in like a wave; it seems like we are busy all the time the last few weeks! That can make a healthy beginning to the year a challenge. BF is on a new meal plan where he has to eat clean but huge volume. The only way I know how to make that happen is to prep ahead. We got ourselves a food scale and I spend a few hours on Sundays making rice, chicken, veggies and lean meat and measuring for the week. I know I have talked before about our menu planning and our favorite easy lunch food, chicken muffins, as well as my own fitness tracking. We try our best to plan ahead and it is the only thing that keeps me on track in the middle of a busy week! Bonus, planning ahead really helps us to manage our budget as well. When I know we can use the same ingredients for multiple things, we waste less and really maximize our dollars. In the next few weeks, I will share with you a few of our staple meals and how we handle long work weeks while trying to be healthy.
To kick off the series: Healthy Egg Muffins. I am not a huge egg fan, so I spend a lot of time trying to make eggs that don’t taste like, well, eggs. I am fairly accomplished at this task, especially when it comes to scrambles. I subscribe to Jacques Pepin’s scrambled egg method which makes for perfect and fluffy eggs every time. The single biggest purchase we have made to help us in healthy eating quest is our VitaMix. WE LOVE IT…seriously, we use it at least once a day. (More on that to come.) It is such a quick easy way to make a quick green smoothie, or soup for dinner (it comes out steaming hot!), or mix some eggs for scrambles. We use it for so many things! In this case, I have been making egg muffins to have for an easy protein-filled breakfast during the week. It is an easy and healthy thing to grab and go. BF seems to like them anyway! Look out for more ideas to come!
Healthy Egg Muffins
3 egg whites
½ bell pepper chopped
2 cups spinach chopped
4 T finely chopped leeks
1 T your favorite seasoning (I mix it up between Adobo or fresh herbs, whatever is on hand)
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place on top of a cookie sheet to prevent spills. Crack 12 eggs into blender. Add egg whites, milk and seasonings to taste and blend until combined.
In each muffin cup, add chopped veggies.
Pour eggs into each cup until completely divided. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and puffy. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge and use as needed.
You can certainly put whatever fillings you like into these and it is a great way to clean out the fridge! I do highly recommend a good nonstick muffin pan for this, they pop right out of mine, but I can see it being a big mess in the wrong pan!