Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Planning Ahead

The new semester is just beginning, and I'm expecting to be very busy throughout the fall. That means that I need to optimize my nutrition to stay energized and healthy, but it also means that I'll have less time to prepare meals. I'm going to manage this by planning ahead. I've found that setting myself up for the week ahead by preparing a few batches of staple foods during the weekend really helps. Not only does it make it easy to prepare quick and healthy meals throughout the week, but it's also a relaxing way to spend a Sunday evening. 

I particularly recommend preparing a large quantity of brow rice and a batch of beans. In many places, this combination is a daily staple. Together, rice and beans provide iron and vitamin B as well as being a complete protein (meaning that they provide all 9 essential amino acids that the human body requires for growth and functioning). Together, one cup of rice mixed with one cup of beans contains 20 grams of protein, about 40% of your daily requirement (based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day). Having these staples ready streamlines dinnertime. Try some of these ideas:

  - Heat up some rice and beans and top it with your favorite hot sauce or creaming dressing. 
  - Serve beans with corn tortillas and some store-bought salsa or guacamole for a 3-minute meal. 
  - Toss rice together with some tofu, steamed veggies or seaweed.  
  - Make a cup of miso soup (or take a can of soup) and add some rice for extra body. 
  - You can even eat brown rice for breakfast. Heat it up and toss it with some fruit and agave. 

In addition to rice and beans, it's a great idea to keep prepped vegetables on hand. These can be tossed together for an easy salad, or quickly steamed or stir-fried. I find that doing this encourages me to eat more salads. Having plenty of delicious salad dressings in my fridge helps, too! I particularly like tahini-based dressings, but I also use plenty of sesame ginger sauce, French dressing and fruity vinaigrettes. 

This is the salad that I made for lunch today from vegetables that I prepped ahead of time. The only thing that I chopped at the last minute was the apple to avoid it going brown. I used a couple of handfuls of arugula, two stalks of celery, a carrot, two small beets, half a can of chickpeas, half an apple, some sunflower seeds, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, cracked black pepper.  

I eat dark chocolate almost every day. It's what I do when I don't have time to make a real dessert. This Ghirardelli dark chocolate was 2 for 1 at the grocery store, so I stocked up. 


  1. This looks DEEEELISH! I need to roast more beets so I have some available when I crave them in a salad like this. How did you prepare yours?

  2. I actually bought these one pre-cooked from Trader Joe's. They come in a vacuum-packed container in the fridge by the salad ingredients. It makes them really easy to store/use when you feel like it. On the occasions when I prep them myself, I take the whole beet, wrap in it foil, and bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Once you remove them from the oven and they begin to cool, it's really easy to ease the skins off by hand.