I know it seems hard to believe, but there are definitely times when I just don’t feel like being in the kitchen. Usually at the end of the week I find myself petering out of both ideas and energy to prepare meals. Luckily, I’ve got a few easy go-to balanced meals that I rely on that taste great, but don’t take a lot of energy.
Boiling water is pretty much as difficult as this meal gets and that’s what I love about it. Out of it you get protein and carbohydrate from the tortellini (I love Buitoni’s Whole Wheat Three Cheese), veggies (add as many as you want!), healthy fat from the pesto (feel free to buy if you don’t have some of your own on hand – I recommend this recipe to make your own, an Buitoni or Trader Joe’s if you buy) – not bad for a meal that comes together in about 15 minutes!
For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you already know that this is a go-to meal for me. It’s balanced, filling and super easy to make. You’re getting protein from the eggs & cheese, veggies, whole grains from the toast, healthy fat from the olive oil the eggs and veggies are cooked in (I also top my toast with it) and fruit! All your food groups on one plate for about 5 minutes of effort in the kitchen.
I absolutely love this meal. And don’t worry, if chicken sausage isn’t your thing, you can swap in edamame and get the protein without having to use the meat. My favorite whole wheat mac and cheese is Annie’s and my favorite chicken sausage is Aidells. Again you’re getting protein (including dairy), veggies and whole grains on one plate for the amount of time it takes the mac and cheese cook!
I usually always have a can of low-sodium beans and whole wheat or corn tortillas in my pantry (check out my must-have Pantry Staples here) plus canned or frozen veggies, a bag of cheese and plain greek yogurt on hand. That means this dish is pretty much ready to go whenever I am. The hardest part of this is pretty much gathering the ingredients but once you do you’re getting protein from the beans, cheese & yogurt, veggies, whole grains from the tortillas and healthy fat from the avocado.
Again, I always have a can of low-sodium soup and whole grain crackers on hand for those times when I just can’t imagine pulling a meal together. I’m a big fan of Amy’s brand light-in-sodium soups. For crackers, Triscuits (or Trader Joe’s ‘Woven Wheats’) are my favorites. This meal literally takes the amount of time it does to heat the soup up and you’re done! No excuse to skip a meal or pay for takeout when you have this option on-hand if you ask me.8