By: Jessica Long, Nutrition Masters Student
Guest Post Writer
As promised in my previous post, I’m sharing my favorite meals for anyone with a busy schedule! On days or weeks where you have more prep time available, opt for the ‘make ahead’ recipes. For nights where you need to whip something up quick, look for the ‘time crunch’ recipes. You’ll find ideas for breakfasts and dinners, as I almost always use leftovers for lunches.
In seasons of extreme busyness and a demanding schedule, I find that it can be easier to miss certain hunger and satiety cues, leaving me ravenous or with a headache. This is why it’s SO important to try to plan ahead and fuel ourselves properly when we are “go go go”; tackling a long to-do list is so much easier on a satisfied stomach!
To that end, I try to incorporate protein + fat + carbohydrate + fiber in most meals in order for them to be both satisfying and nourishing. However, there is great flexibility in this! We never want to create rigidity in our meal planning, and every single body has different needs and different combinations that best nourish it.
- French toast bake: Whenever artisan bread from my grocery store’s bakery is on sale, I grab an extra loaf or two (enough to fill an 8×8 inch baking pan). I whisk 3 eggs, ~2/3 C milk, a splash of vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few teaspoonfuls of sugar. Arrange bread in greased 8×8, pour milk mixture on top, and top with a handful of walnuts. I put foil on top, then pop in my fridge overnight. I’ll throw it in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 350 F (or until it’s to your liking!) while I get ready for the day. I love to drizzle maple syrup on top and add scrambled eggs on the side for some extra protein.
- Muffins: My favorite blueberry muffin recipe can be found HERE.
- Pancakes are one of my favorite things to whip up on a Sunday afternoon and reheat each day during the week. My go-to recipe for years can be found HERE. They’re made even better by adding blueberries or chocolate chips.
- Oatmeal: Combine 1/2 C rolled oats, 1/2 C of whole milk, and 1/2 apple (diced) in a bowl and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes. Top with brown sugar and nuts! Try swapping banana for the apple or adding chocolate chips!
- Egg scramble: Scramble eggs with whatever you have on hand and pair with PB&J toast. My favorite combination is eggs + cheese + sausage.
- Yogurt parfait: Top whole milk yogurt with granola (or your favorite cereal!), fruit, and nuts.
- Baked potato bar: I love to put 5-6 potatoes in the oven to bake while I study on a Sunday. I’m partial to russets, but pick your favorite kind! Possible toppings include cheese, avocado, sour cream, sautéd spinach, ground beef, or bacon. With the potatoes already prepped, browning the beef and sautéing the spinach makes for a speedy weeknight dinner.
- Chicken fajitas: Place 1.5-2 lbs raw chicken tenders (I cut chicken breasts into tenderloins to save money!), 3 sliced peppers, 1 sliced onion, 1/2 C olive oil, and a packet of fajita seasoning into a gallon baggie. Place in fridge for up to 3 hours. Pour into a 9×13 pan. Cook at 400 F for 20 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Serve in warm tortillas or on top of brown rice! The leftovers make an excellent burrito filling.
- White chicken chili. Everyone’s family has their go-to recipe for white chicken chili. This is my mom’s tried and true recipe: in a crockpot, combine 2-3 chicken breasts, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 2 cans of great northern beans, 1 can of corn, 1 envelope taco seasoning, 1 can chicken broth, and 1 can of green chilies. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. (I’ve forgotten to add cream of chicken soup and green chilies at times, and it’s still good!). Before serving, stir in 1/2 C of sour cream.
- Pizza: I highly suggest Trader Joe’s pizza dough; it is reasonably priced and freezes well. My favorite recipe for quick pizza dough can be found HERE. My favorite toppings are olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, and ricotta.
- Pork chops: Thinly sliced pork chops are an affordable cut of meat, and they cook up very quickly in a cast iron skillet. Pair with red potatoes (roasted at 400 F for 20 minutes after tossing in olive oil + spices of your choosing) and a vegetable.
- 5 ingredient green curry: I have used red curry paste instead of green, and the recipe is absolutely delicious. If you aren’t a tofu fan, add a can of chickpeas near the end of cooking. Recipe is HERE.
Jessica Long is a graduate student at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She is an avid reader of research, and her interests include eating disorders, intuitive eating, and approaching medical nutrition therapy (MNT) from a weight-neutral lens. She is especially intrigued by the intersection of diabetes and weight neutral care, having experience working with patients with diabetes in a primary care setting. She is currently spearheading a research project investigating intuitive eating in minority undergraduate populations. Jessica can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at @jessicalongrd.