Are you feeling overwhelmed by the idea of eating healthy? I get it. Finding the time to prepare meals can be challenging, and ensure they’re full of nourishing ingredients. But there’s no need to worry – with a few simple tips and tricks, you can easily level up your meals and snacks to enjoy the sustained energy levels that come with eating nourishing food. From sweet treats to savory snacks, I’ve included something for everyone – so read on for some quick and easy ways to eat better and ensure you’re getting the nourishment you need throughout the day.
Prep your proteins
During the weekend, or when making dinner, prep an extra batch of protein – some grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs, etc. and store these in the refrigerator. Doing this will provide you with added protein, without additional work, that you can add to your meals or snacks throughout the week. A future quick and healthy meal can look as simple as a grilled chicken salad or eggs with avocado on a slice of whole grain bread.
Sprinkle chia seeds in your breakfast yogurt or smoothie.
Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and antioxidants. They can be sprinkled on top of your yogurt or added to smoothies for an extra boost. Another tip? Make chia pudding by mixing 1/2 cup almond milk with two tablespoons of chia seeds in a bowl or jar; cover and refrigerate overnight; top with fruit, flaxseeds or granola before serving. Then, mix in a scoop or two of collagen powder to level up your protein even more.
Level up your meals and snacks with nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats and protein, making them a great snack to keep you full until your next meal. They are also a great source of magnesium – a mineral involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. Studies suggest magnesium may help calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety (1). Nuts and seeds are also a great way to add crunch and flavor to your dishes. You can pair them with fresh fruit or vegetables to boost your intake of vitamins and minerals. Homemade trail mix is also an effortless and nutritious snack to make. You can use a variety of different ingredients, such as dried fruit, granola, and nuts, to customize your trail mix to your liking! Store in mason jars, and now you have an easy topping for future snacks.
Make-ahead frittata or “Egg Bites.”
Veggie-packed frittatas are an easy way to add several servings of vegetables to your diet. They are simple to make and can be stuffed with veggies. You can use mushrooms, spinach, peppers, onions, and more – the possibilities are endless. It is also a great way to use up any leftover veggies. Eggs are also a wonderful source of vitamin D, which supports our immune system, mood and cognitive function (2). Frittatas are nutrient-dense and full of fibre and protein, making them a great snack or meal. Make it on the weekend, freeze it, or keep it in the refrigerator for easy access. You can also make the “egg bite” version and bake these in a muffin tin for individual portions you can grab and go!
Learn how to make a frittata with this simple recipe.
Overnight oats for the win
Overnight oats are a convenient, no-cook option that can be made ahead of time and enjoyed all week long. They provide you with various vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc. Customize with antioxidant-rich fruit such as berries. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals and oxidative stress, damaging our DNA and leading to disease. Who’s got time for that?
Here is a delicious recipe for overnight oats.
Pantry Staples like Beans and Tuna
Sometimes, when all you have is 5 minutes (or when your hands are full with your baby), a canned option can be a lifesaver. Grabbing a few whole grain crackers and topping them with some goat cheese and sardines makes for a yummy (quick) snack – not to mention one that will provide you with an abundance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3’s help reduce inflammation, support brain health, arthritis and even skin conditions like eczema (3). Another way you can benefit from having canned staples is by making a quick mixed bean salad. You can often find a pre-mix option to which you can add some vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber for a nutritious, fibre-rich lunch. Finally, add some tuna for a complete protein option.
The sweetest treat – dates stuffed with nut butter
Are you craving something sweet? This may be one of the most satisfying and easy treats you can make – slice halfway through a pitted date, add some of your favorite nut butter, and top with a square of dark chocolate and t flakey sea salt. The best part of this treat (aside from the delicious peanut butter and chocolate mix) is that dates have an excellent nutrition profile. They are high in fibre and antioxidants, beneficial for digestion, blood sugar management and reducing oxidative stress.
When preparing quick snacks and meals, the key is to focus on whole, nutrient-rich ingredients that provide essential vitamins and minerals. Aim to include a combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats; foods like nuts, seeds, eggs, fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Variety is key in ensuring you get all the nutrition your body needs, so keep your fridge and pantry well stocked. Then, take the time to plan it out; Sometimes, Aan extra thirty minutes of prep at the beginning of the week can save you tons of time for those busy days – and give you motivation to choose a healthier option instead of reaching for that quick, packaged snack in the pantry!
By Melissa Mastroberardino, RHN
- Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017; 9(5):429. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9050429
- Anjum I, Jaffery SS, Fayyaz M, Samoo Z, Anjum S. The Role of Vitamin D in Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review. Cureus. 2018 Jul 10;10(7):e2960. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2960. PMID: 30214848; PMCID: PMC6132681
- Mori TA, Beilin LJ. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2004 Nov;6(6):461-7. doi: 10.1007/s11883-004-0087-5. PMID: 15485592.