While we certainly never wish again to experience the trauma we faced two weeks ago, one takeaway is that of preparation. Not just clean underwear and a toothbrush, but some form of transportable nutrition. I have recently been teaching classes around healthy meals to go from breakfast and lunch in a jar, to sugar-free desserts. It’s the same principle applied to batch cooking: put together a mélange of ingredients on Sunday, mix up a few toppings and you’re good to go for the week.
Salads in a jar are a great option for anyone on the go, be it home, work, or school. There are numerous combinations to create with a simple tweak of a vegetable or grain and a variety of dressings. And, they’re durable and easy to store; some don’t even require refrigeration.
Here is one of my favorites:
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Makes 8 cups
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed well (optional white quinoa)
2 cups water, optional vegetable broth
2 teaspoons whole grain or Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Kosher or sea salt to taste|
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cucumber, chopped into small chunks
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn cut from the cob
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta (I like sheep/goat) Omit if vegan.
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Other vegetables are fine to add, too. Broccoli, peppers, etc.
Bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Note: I like to cook the quinoa the day before and refrigerate so that it’s already cold.
Vinaigrette: In a medium bowl whisk together mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cucumber, corn, tomatoes, onion, parsley, feta, and cooled quinoa. Add vinaigrette to mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
Note: I highly recommend roasted corn for this recipe as it adds just the right amount of sweetness. For the cool weather method, use frozen kernel corn, allow to thaw and drain off any water before roasting.
Layer your salad in a 1/2 pint mason jar in this order: quinoa, parsley, tomatoes, feta, cucumber, onion, and corn. Drizzle with vinaigrette and refrigerate until ready to eat.
In many cases we want to simplify our lives even further by having someone else do the prep for us. There are a multitude of meal delivery services; these are new ones I found which offer specific health benefits along with convenience.
Price: Starting at $10.49 per meal
Bonus: Green Chef is giving new customers $50 off their first box.
Delivery: Nationwide (except Hawaii, Alaska, and most of Wisconsin and Minnesota)
All of the ingredients delivered in this meal kit are USDA certified organic, and Green Chef has gone to great lengths to offer subscriptions that meet your exact dietary needs. They recently launched the first Keto meal kit option, and also have plans for Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets as well as options for meat and seafood lovers. Green Chef is all about flexibility: Try different plans week to week, and skip a week whenever you need. Meals are always colorful, healthy, and quick—no meal takes more than 30 minutes to make.
Price: Starting at $6.75 per meal
While BistroMD is geared toward people who specifically want to lose weight, the meals included are not insanely tiny portions or glorified cardboard, and the plan emphasizes a healthy lifestyle over a quick fix, which we love. Choose from standard, gluten-free, or diabetic-geared plans and receive five or seven days of healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners delivered to your door each week. Meals are designed by Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., and never include MSG, trans fat, or aspartame. Heat up meals like turkey with cranberry chutney, broccoli, and wild rice for dinner, or an artichoke, spinach, and red pepper frittata for breakfast.
Price: $4.90 per serving
Delivery: East and West Coasts
Smoothies are delish, but chopping up all those ingredients can get tedious. Green Blender ships perfectly portioned, locally sourced ingredients, so all you have to do is blend. The subscription service sends ingredients for five new recipes every week, and each comes with a quick write-up on its nutritional benefits. Cranberry kumquat tart, for example, is packed with vitamin C, fiber, and calcium. Each recipe yields two 12-ounce servings. The box of smoothie supplies won’t replace meal prep for the week, but the price definitely beats your local juice bar.