No Excuses: Tips for Quick and Easy Meals
By Julie DuBois
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “eating healthy is too expensive and takes too much time” as an excuse for not leading a healthy lifestyle. This can be just as irritating to hear as “I don’t have time to work out.” The truth is that if you have the desire, you will make the time to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you have time to watch your favorite TV show (even if it’s on DVR) or you have time to go out to dinner, then you have time to eat healthy and workout.
Some of my best kitchen creations required little work, but they were things I had on hand already and were quick and healthy. There are a few staple items that I like to keep in my kitchen to throw together an easy healthful meal for any athlete. These items are very versatile and work well in many dishes:
- Success Boil in Bag Brown Rice — extremely easy to make. Throw it in a pot of water, let it boil and it’s ready in 10 minutes while you’re cooking the other items.
- Frozen veggies — these can be steam in bag, stir-fried on the stove or steamed on the stove with your protein.
- Spices — you can get creative here and add flavor to any dish with spices. Go out and buy some new spices to try out as well. Make your own seasonings rather than using packets to lower sodium content.
- Protein sources — I usually buy fresh meat and then individually freeze 4 oz. servings in Ziploc bags. The fresh meat has fewer preservatives and added sodium than frozen meats. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, cook up some beans in advance to use as a good source of protein.
When you look at what you have in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, you can usually throw together a meal in 15 minutes or less. If you’re using the above ingredients, you can put your boil in bag rice on the stove and let that begin to cook. Grab your protein source and cut it up in to 1 inch cubes and cook it in a skillet with a little olive oil. Once the meat is almost cooked, add your frozen vegetables and seasonings. By this time, your rice should be cooked and you can add it to the skillet. Toss it all together and voila! You have a delicious healthy meal in 15 minutes or less.
There is really no excuse these days to not eat healthy. If you are unable to cook (or you’re frankly terrible at it) you can always get pre-cooked protein sources (they have more preservatives and sodium usually, however), steam in bag veggies, and instant single serve minute rice. Other options instead of rice include quinoa, couscous, potatoes, whole grain pasta and many more.
Get creative and keep in mind that even if one dish turns out terribly, you have not failed! Keep trying and you may find your new favorite meal is just a few minutes away.
What are your favorite quick and easy meals to make when you are crunched for time? Visit the USA Triathlon Forums and post your best dish.
Julie DuBois, RD, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Coordinated Dietetics from Texas Christian University. A professional ballet dancer, Julie has always been interested in health and fitness. She enjoys coaching her clients to reach their personal health and fitness goals in a way that is both fun and challenging at the same time! Contact Julie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website, http://www.juliekdubois.com.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.