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Recipe Blog

Tasty Trail mix

laura lomax

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Prepares 1.5 cups of Trail mix ( serving size 1/4 cup, prepares 6 servings)

This super simple trail mix provides a good balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. It works great as an afternoon snack to curb that sweet or salty craving, as a crunchy topping to your yogurt parfait, or as a convenient on the go fuel for your next workout or outdoor adventure.

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries or cherries

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix together. Store in an air tight container in the fridge or counter top per your preference.

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SNACK ATTACK

laura lomax

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Keeping healthy foods stocked in the fridge and pantry is a strategy to help make healthy decisions easier. Below are a few of my go to items that I keep stocked as staples we keep our house for the whole family to enjoy!

Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas - 1/4 cup serving 130 calories, 210 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 0 g added sugar, 6 g protein

Blue Diamond Almonds 100 calorie pack - 100 calories, 80 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g protein

Dry Roasted Peanuts (1 ounce) - 160 calories, 150 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 7 g protein

Single Serve Cheese -

HEB Organics Beef Jerky (1 ounce) - 80 calories, 600 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 11 g protein

Quaker Oat Hot Cereal Date & Almond (1 packet) - 170 calories, 70 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 3 g added sugar, 5 g protein

LUNA bar - 200 calories, 200 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 8 g protein

Snack Size KIND Bars - 100 calories, 60 g sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 3-4 g fiber, total sugar 3 grams (2 g added sugar), 3 g protein.

Freeze Dried Fuji Apples ( 1 bag) - 40 calories, 0 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 0 g added sugar, 0 g protein

Del Monte Mixed Fruit Cup in natural juice - 60 calories, 10 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 0 g added sugars, 0 g protein

Apple (medium) - 95 calories, 2 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 0 g added sugar, 0.5 g protein

Mandarin Orange (1 small) - 47 calories, 12 g carbohydrate, 2 g sodium, 1.5 g fiber, 0.5 g protein, 9 g sugar (0 g added sugar).

Blueberries (1/2 cup) - 40 calories, 10 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber , 0.5 g protein, 0 g added sugar.

Avocado - (small) - ~230 calories, 11 g sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 3 g protein, 0 g added sugar.

Banana (small) - 90 calories, 23 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 12 g sugar (0 g added sugar), 1 g protein.

Frozen Blueberry and Chocolate Bark Bites

laura lomax

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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook time/freeze time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

1 cup Greek Plain Yogurt

1 tsp. pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberries, chopped

3 Tbsp. dark chocolate mini chips

Parchment paper

Simple ingredients makes this high protein snack perfect for the whole family.

Simple ingredients makes this high protein snack perfect for the whole family.

Directions:

1.. Line an 6 by 6 freezer friendly dish with parchment paper.


2. Combine yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla, blueberries, and chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir lightly to combine. Pour in parchment lined container to freeze.

3. Freeze for minimum ~2 hours or until solid. Break apart and enjoy immediately. Store in airtight container or freezer bags.


POTATO LEEK SOUP

laura lomax

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Potato Leek Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

3 Leeks, cleaned and chopped                                                4 cups vegetable stock

1 White Onion, chopped                                                             1 cup of water

3 Cloves of garlic, chopped                                                       Salt & pepper to taste

6 Potatoes, peeled and sliced                                                                   

3 Tbsp.olive oil

2% Sharp Cheddar Cheese sprinkled as garnish (optional garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

Clean and chop onion, garlic, and leeks. Place butter in large cooking pot then add onion, garlic, and leeks. Saute for ~ 5 minutes. While sauteing peel potatoes (I usually cut my potatoes into quarters to help cook faster). Add broth, water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat. Puree to desired consistency with immersion blender. I sometimes get carried away with my immersion blender and puree a bit too thin, if this happens I toss in 1 Tbsp. of flour which thickens the soup up nicely). Garnish with cheese ( optional).

*This recipe can also easily be turned vegan by ditching the cheese garnish *

This recipe is great to freeze in single serve freezer bags or glass storage bowls.

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A delicious vegetarian dish that works well as starter or main dish.

Colorful Texas Caviar

laura lomax

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One of the recommendations I make to clients seeking advice on navigating healthy options at parties or family gatherings is to bring a healthy side dish to the party. Filled with plant based protein, fresh tomato, avocado, bell pepper, and jalapeno this dish is a good source of fiber, potassium, and unsaturated heart healthy fats. This colorful Texas Caviar isn’t just a great party side, but is a wonderful meatless meal. As a meatless meal try:

  • Pair with wheat crackers and a fresh fruit

  • As a lettuce wrap served with 1 ounce of nuts and fresh fruit

  • Wrapped in a corn tortilla served with a fresh fruit

For a quick and delicious high protein meal combine with a packet of albacore tuna.

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TEXAS CAVIAR  (vegetarian, dairy free)

Total time: 10-25 minutes

Prep time 10-25 minutes (depending on equipment)

Yield: 6 servings (1/2 cup per serving)

Ingredients:

1 (15.8 ounce) cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 -1 fresh jalapeno, chopped (remove seeds and stems)

1/2 white onion, chopped

1/2 Green bell pepper, chopped

1 Medium Avocado, chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil

Juice of one lime

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Bag Blue corn chips

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain black eyed peas and set aside in bowl.

  2. Using a chopping tool or by hand chop tomato, jalapeno, onion, green bell pepper, and avocado.

  3. Add the chopped vegetables to the black eyed peas.

  4. Add olive oil, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Combine lightly.

  5. Can be served at room temperature, but taste best after refrigeration. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve with blue corn tortilla chips.

Tips:

I love my onion chopping tool. It was under 20 dollars and makes chopping a breeze. With a chopping tool this recipe can be prepared in under 10 minutes!  

Meal Prep with Minimal Cooking

laura lomax

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One of my main goals with meal prep is to provide options for healthy meals and snacks. While setting aside 2-3 hours for preparing meals is possible at times, I know there are weeks that it just does not fit in the schedule. Meal prep does not always have to include hours of cooking, but can be about keeping the refrigerator and freezer filled with healthy choices. Having a stocked refrigerator and freezer eliminates a barrier to choosing healthy foods despite hectic schedules and minimal cook time during the week.

MEALS AND SNACKS

8 Serving - Lean Beef Mini Slider Burger + Mixed Green Salad

2 Servings - Spinach and Blueberry Salad + tuna pouch + Triscuit Crackers + Mandarin orange

2 Serving - Frozen Meals - Healthy Choice Simply Steamers and Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas

SNACKS:

5 Servings - 100 calorie Single Serve Almonds + Fresh Fruit (Pears or Kiwi)

4 Servings Baby Tomato + Muenster Cheese Slices

INGREDIENTS/SHOPPING LIST:

1 pound lean ground beef

1 Packet Whole grain Mini slider buns

1 Box Single Serve 100 calorie almonds

2 Serving Triscuit Crackers

8 Slices Muenster Cheese

1 Large container Spring Salad Mix

1 Bag Spinach

1 Box Cherry tomatoes

2 pouches Tuna

1 Pint Blueberries

3 pears

2 Kiwi

2 Mandarin oranges

Salad dressing of your choice

Hamburger Seasoning

2 Frozen Dinner (Pictured are Healthy Choice Beef and Broccoli and Saffron Road Chicken Enchiladas)

* If your crunched for time swap out cooked burgers for pre-made frozen lean beef or turkey patties as a no cook option to this meal prep *

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare Lean Burgers. Form Hamburgers into evenly shaped patties and sprinkle with hamburger seasoning. Cook in large skillet. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  2. Optional- Prepare salads and snacks in single serve containers for easy access at meal times.

  3. Enjoy Healthy Meals all Week! With 4 main meal options (Burger + mixed greens, Spinach + tuna, 2 different frozen meal options) and 3 snack snack combos you wont feel bored with your choices!

Easy Under An Hour Meal Prep

laura lomax

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This meal prep encompasses a variety of short cut methods to completing a meal prep with ease and in under one hour.

INGREDIENTS:

MAIN MEALS:

3 cups Instant Brown Rice

1 cup Quinoa

32 ounce low sodium Chicken Broth

Boneless skinless chicken breast

16 oz bag Frozen peas and carrots

Frozen Shelled Edamame

11 ounce bag Steam fresh mixed Vegetables

Tuna Pouches (in water)

Olive oil

Seasoning of your choice (I used Penzeys Mural of Flavor)

BREAKFAST

Greek Unflavored yogurt

Blueberries

Granola

SNACKS

Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas

Pears

Hummus

Cucumbers

Optional Evening snack/dessert: Mini KIND bars and Strawberry Greek Yogurt


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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook Chicken- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cooking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Spray foil with non stick spray. Remove wrapper from chicken, rinse and place back in the container purchased in. Drizzle both sides with olive oil, seasoning of your choice, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Place in oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until thermometer reaches 165 degrees.

  2. Once chicken is in the oven the remainder of the preparation can be completed. First prepare the quinoa. Bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil. Add 1 cup Quinoa reduce heat to simmer covered for ~ 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, stay covered and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

  3. While quinoa and chicken continue cooking prepare instant brown rice follow instructions on the box. For this prep I used 3 cups rice + the remaining 2 cups Chicken broth + 1/2 cup water and microwaved for 12 minutes per instructions. Remove from microwave and sit covered for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

  4. The vegetables used for this meal prep are all frozen and the mixed vegetables and edamame are from steamer bags. Once the microwave is free steam the vegetables according to package instructions.

  5. Remove chicken from oven and allow everything to cool before preparing in individual portions or in bulk. Enjoy a variety of meals for the week.


MEAL PREP PROVIDES

6 Chicken Servings (large breast cut in half)

2 Servings tuna

4 - 1/2 cup servings of Edamame

6 - 2/3 cup servings of rice

6- 1/2 cup servings of Quinoa

6 - 1/2 cup servings mixed vegetables

6 - 1/2 cup servings peas and carrots

Prepares a total of 12 meals

Breakfast: 4 servings - Greek Yogurt + blueberries + granola

Snacks: 4 servings of Pears + Roasted chickpeas

Snacks: 4 servings Hummus + 1/2 cucumber

After Dinner Snacks 8 Total : 4 servings Mini KIND bars and 4 servings Strawberry Single Serve Greek Yogurt Cups

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Blueberry Walnut Spinach Salad

laura lomax

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Blueberry Walnut Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serving per recipe: 8

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

2 Bags or bundles of spinach, washed 

1.5 cups blueberries

2/3 cup walnuts

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped

Dressing:

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup. Red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. Perfect Pinch Salt free seasoning

Salt and Pepper

Place mason jar in middle of salad bowl to form wreath shape. Add spinach to the bowl, then top with washed blueberries, tomatoes, and walnuts. For dressing combine all dressing ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl then pour into the mason jar. Pour dressing over salad when ready to eat.   

Tips:

To round out as a full meal top with protein of your choice. Grilled chicken, tofu, sauteed shrimp, baked salmon, lean beef, beans, edamame, or tuna are all great option.

Light and Fresh Mediterranean Couscous

laura lomax

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Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes   Total time: 30 minutes

Serving size: 1 cup       Servings per recipe: 8


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INGREDIENTS:

2 cups couscous

2 cups water, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

10.5 oz box cherry tomatoes

1 large cucumber

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup feta cheese

DRESSING:

½ cup olive oil

2 lemons

4 cloves of garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

1.     In a 2 quart sauce pan bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat.  Allow to stand covered ~ 5-6 minutes.  Once finished cooking remove lid, fluff with a fork, and transfer couscous to a bowl to cool.

2.     While couscous is cooking wash and chop the tomato, cucumbers, and basil. Place in a large bowl.

3.      Prepare dressing by combining olive oil, juice of lemons, and minced garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside.

4.     Once couscous is cool add to the large bowl of chopped tomato, basil, and cucumber then top with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.     Top with feta cheese and lightly mix to combine.

6.     Store in the refrigerator and serve cold.


TIPS:

- Feel free to modify this recipe to your preference. Other great additions or replacements include chopped red onion, olives, roasted corn, or artichokes.

- For an extra boost of protein top this salad with canned low sodium tuna, chickpeas, grilled chicken or lean beef, salmon, fish, or grilled shrimp.

 

Nutrition per serving: ~315 calories, 16 g fat, 37 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein.

 

3 Ingredient Homemade Trail Mix

laura lomax

Homemade trail mix with pistachios, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate!

Homemade trail mix with pistachios, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate!

This is one of my favorite snack mixes for simple snacking. It is great to keep at the office,, in the kitchen, or an excellent pre-workout pick me up. Its the perfect combo of sweet and salty, provides protein, and is nutrient dense. Check out the recipe below.

Prep time: Less than 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup shelled pistachios

1/4 cup Dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container. Enjoy for snacking during your week!

Tips: If you can not find shelled pistachios, add ~ 10 minutes shelling time to prep the recipe.

Best Choice Convenience Items

laura lomax

A few of our favorite convenience items to stock in the freezer, fridge, and pantry for those days and evenings when cooking just doesn't fit in the schedule. 

A few of our favorite convenience items to stock in the freezer, fridge, and pantry for those days and evenings when cooking just doesn't fit in the schedule. 

If you follow me on social media or browse my site you know I enjoy meal prep. While I love meal prepping and believe it is a wonderful tool to healthy eating it requires time to plan, prepare, and clean . It would be unfair for me to not share that along with meal prepping I use a variety of other strategies to provide healthy options when cooking just doesn't fit the schedule. Today's post focuses on these strategies. 

FROZEN MEALS

1.  Frozen dinners....yes I said it. I know for years frozen meals were cringed at by most dietitians with their high sodium content, high calories, tons of preservatives and additives, and flat out horrible taste.  However, over the past years with consumer demand and the popularity of quality ingredients, less additives, and overall healthier options several manufacturers of frozen meals have stepped up to meet the demand. As always when searching out the best options refer to the nutrition label and ingredient list. Several guidelines and nutrients to examine  when selecting a frozen meal include calories, protein, sodium, fiber, and fat. 

General Guidelines For Choosing a Frozen Meal- 

~350-450 calories (varies by individual needs)

~10-15 grams or less (<30% total calories) of fat

- Sodium ~600 mg or less 

- At least 15 grams of protein  

- At least 4 or more grams of fiber

If a meal you enjoy doesn't meet your calorie  needs or falls short on other nutrients below are healthy and simple ways to boost the calorie and nutrient content and round out your frozen meal.

For example: Pair Newman's Own Frozen cheese pizza with a frozen vegetable or salad. With 2 slices of pizza at 260 calories adding a vegetable will boost the calorie and nutrient content to turn a frozen pizza into a meal.  

  • Protein:  For a boost of protein add a serving of dairy to your meal. Examples include adding a glass of low fat milk or a  string cheese. 
  • Vegetables: For frozen dinners short on vegetables considering mixing additional vegetables to the meal, having a vegetable side, or serving with a side salad (using bagged or bin of pre-washed lettuce makes this an easy side). Another great option is snacking on a side of edamame as an appetizer. Simple pop a steamer bag of edamame in the microwave and sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. 
  • Nuts/Seeds - Add a serving of nuts to your meal or as a dessert to round out your meal with healthy fats to keep you feeling full longer.  

Several examples of frozen meal brands with minimal additives (and some of my favorites) include Amy’s Light and Lean, Healthy Choice Café Steamers Simply, evol, Luvo, and Saffron Road. 

CONVENIENCE ITEMS:

2. Convenience Items are great time savers when it comes to choosing healthy foods at home. Stock up your fridge, freezer, or pantry with these items to always have a healthy meal on hand. 

VEGETABLES:

  • Pre-cut vegetables
  • Bagged Salad or salad bins
  • Frozen vegetables 
  •  Steamer vegetable bags  
  • Cauliflower rice 

PROTEIN:

  • Low sodium canned tuna or tuna pouches
  • Canned or pouches of salmon
  • Canned low sodium beans  
  • Dry roasted chickpeas 
  • Nuts/seeds 
  • Pre- cooked natural minimal or preservative free chicken or beef patties 
  • Eggs
  • Cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, low fat milk
  • Nuts/seeds 

FRUIT:

  • Ready to eat fruits that do not require slicing or peeling such as apples, bananas, peaches, pears, blueberries.
  • Canned or single serve cups of fruit in natural juice or no sugar added
  • Dried fruit
  • Freeze dried fruit  
  • No sugar added applesauce 

STARCH/WHOLE GRAINS:

  • Microwave brown rice cups 
  • Steamer brown rice 
  • Protein plus pasta 
  • Popcorn
  • Oatmeal 
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Whole grain crackers 

With these pantry staples there are a variety of combos that put a meal on the table in 5-20 minutes. Examples include:

  • Microwave bag of brown rice + Microwave bag of steamer vegetables + low sodium canned beans. Served with a side of Applesauce sprinkled w/ cinnamon. 
  • Whole wheat crackers + tuna pouch + raw pre-cut carrots. Served with an apple 
  • Protein Plus pasta + frozen vegetables. Served with canned pears.  
  • Oatmeal prepared with milk (or water if no milk available) + smashed banana (for sweetness) + sprinkled with crushed nuts and cinnamon.
  • Scrambled eggs + bagged spinach  + Peaches 

 

High Protein Salted Caramel Iced Coffee

laura lomax

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This iced coffee is the answer to all those skipped breakfast mornings. I hear all to often "I don't have time for breakfast or I'm not a breakfast person", but often those people still enjoy their morning cup of coffee. This combo allows you to enjoy your morning cup of coffee with a bonus 20 grams of protein with less than 200 calories. While for years there has been debates on the amount of protein needed daily often its forgotten that just as important as the amount of protein is the timing of protein intake, especially in those working on building and maintaining muscle.  Aim for 3 meals with at least 20 grams of protein can help preserve muscle mass, prevent overeating later in the day, and protect muscle loss during weight loss. 

HIGH PROTEIN SALTED CARAMEL ICED COFFEE

Total Prep and cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 scoop salted caramel Protein powder 

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk 

3/4 cup Coffee, cooled

The addition of coffee and almond milk to the traditional protein shake transforms this beverage into a protein packed upgraded version of your traditional iced coffee.&nbsp;

The addition of coffee and almond milk to the traditional protein shake transforms this beverage into a protein packed upgraded version of your traditional iced coffee. 

Directions:

Combine almond milk, cooled coffee, and protein powder to blender. Add 4-5 ice cubes or you may blend without ice and pour over ice once complete. Blend until ingredients are well combined. 

 

Meal Prep: Plan for Success

laura lomax

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Total Prep time:

2.5 hours with whole uncooked chicken

*1 hour 15 minutes with pre- cooked rotisserie chicken*  

Ingredients: 

3.5 pound whole chicken

2 - 4 oz steaks 

3 heads of broccoli

2 yellow squash

8 Apples 

1 bag or bundle of spinach 

2 cups brown rice 

1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

4 -1oo% whole wheat pitas 

2 cups of quick oats

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Salad dressing of your choices 

olive oil 

Cinnamon 

Raisins 

Chopped walnuts

 Salt and pepper 

Steak seasoning 

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Directions: 

1. Set racks evenly apart in the oven (to cook both chicken and vegetables the last 20 minutes). Preheat oven 415 degrees . Remove chicken from packaging, drain off any liquids, and place in cooking dish.  Drizzle generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in oven and cook for the first 20 minutes at 415 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees.  For this 3.5 pound chicken it cooked for for 1 hour and 20 minutes. You will base your prep schedule on the chicken cook time so be sure to calculate an estimated cook time based on the weight of your chicken before you begin preparing other dishes. A rule of thumb is approximately 20 minutes per pound, but as always when cooking chicken check temperature with thermometer and chicken is done when internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

2. While the chicken is cooking. Wash and chop vegetables placing squash on one sheet and broccoli on the other. Wait to season the vegetables until closer to cook time.  The vegetables will be added to the oven the last 20 minutes of the chicken cook time. To season drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and increase the oven temperature to 415 degrees.  

3. Next cook the rice. In a large pot add 4 cups chicken stock and 2 cups brown rice, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 35- 40 minutes.

4. At this point the chicken likely still has at least an hour of cook time so if desired use this time to prepare other foods for the week. Options include cooking hard boiled eggs, chopping single serve fruits or vegetables, preparing instant oatmeal packets, or planning next weeks meal prep. As pictured  I prepared oatmeal with 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and 2 tbsp. raisins or crushed walnuts. I also use this time to clean up any mess and dishes used thus far. 

5. As the chicken has ~ 40 minutes left to cook work on the steaks.  Season each steak with steak seasoning or other seasoning of your choice and cook over stove top or outdoor grill. Remove from heat and allow to cool. While the steaks are cooking open black beans, drain, and rinse then set back in the can. 

6.  Once the chicken nears completion with ~ 20 minutes left increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees, season the vegetables and place in the oven to cook.  While the chicken finishes and vegetables are cooking set out all your single serve containers and begin to fill with prepared foods.

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7. Remove chicken from oven and check temperature with meat thermometer (make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Remove from cooking juice onto a new plate to cool. Remove vegetables and allow to cool. 

8. While chicken is cooling begin assembling single serve containers with beans, brown rice, spinach, and steak. Once chicken and vegetables are cool add to the meals. 

4 Meals - Black bean + Broccoli + brown Rice + chicken 

2 Meals - Spinach salad + roasted yellow squash + steak

2 - Meals Chicken + Spinach + Roasted broccoli + chicken + 100% whole wheat pita

4 Meals - Oatmeal with cinnamon + raisins or walnuts + (Add milk or milk alternative when ready to serve)

Tip: 

*The bulk of this meal prep time is spent cooking the chicken to save time use a store bought rotisserie chicken. If using a pre-cooked chicken skip the first step. start your meal prep by preheating the oven to 415 to heat up for the vegetables then cook the rice. From there proceed to step 2 and continue with the meal prep eliminating or portions of steps that pertain to cooking the chicken. 

 

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

laura lomax

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If you are in need a quick side to bring to your next family gathering, picnic, or just looking a fresh new recipe to incorporate into your meal rotation this shaved Brussels sprout salad is the perfect fit. Pre cut vegetables such as the shaved Brussels sprouts are a great way to save time in the kitchen making it simple to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. 

Serving Size: 8 (1/2 cup servings)

Recipe time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients: 

Salad 

2- 10 oz bags shaved Brussels Sprouts 

1 Pint Fresh Strawberries

2 large Avocados, cubed 

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil 

1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar 

2 tsp. All purpose salt free seasoning 

Juice of 1 lemon 

Optional salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:

First prepare the salad dressing. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, juice of lemon, and all purpose salt free seasoning. Whisk to combine. 

Just add the dressing and this simple side dish is ready to serve.&nbsp;

Just add the dressing and this simple side dish is ready to serve. 

In a large bowl add shaved Brussels sprouts. Rinse and slice strawberries. Cut avocado into cubes.  Add strawberries and avocado to the Brussels Sprouts. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Add salt and pepper if desired. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

* Tips: After pouring the Brussels sprouts in the salad bowl I typically run my hands through and grab any large pieces and chop to match the rest of the salad*

 

Meal Prep: Simple Steps to Success

laura lomax

A colorful meal prep using leftovers from previous meals and convenience items in the kitchen.&nbsp;

A colorful meal prep using leftovers from previous meals and convenience items in the kitchen. 

 A great strategy to save time in the kitchen is to double recipes or build off dishes from meals prepped. This a strategy we use in our house when we aren't able to meal prep on weekends. With a little planning ahead and cooking extra portions of meat and rice those core items can be used to expand and build meals for the rest of the week. 

4 meals: Cilantro Rice + black beans + tuna + 1/2 cup blueberries

4 meals: Lean ground beef + sugar snap peas + 1/2 avocado + orange 

4 Snacks: 1/2 cup Grapes + protein shake

4 Breakfasts: Banana + 1 cup yogurt + 2 tbsp cashews 

Ingredients: 

1 pound 99% lean ground turkey 

4 tuna pouches 

1 can low sodium black beans 

1 Bag frozen sugar snap peas 

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 

4 cloves of garlic 

2 avocado

2 cups Grapes 

4 Oranges

4 bananas 

1 pint of blueberries

4 scoops protein powder

32 ounce Plain Yogurt

Cashews  

Olive oil

Cumin 

Salt

pepper  

Directions:

1. Begin by starting the rice.Cilantro rice. Add 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water bring to a boil, reduce heat to low cover and cook for 35-45 minutes.

2. Next add the turkey to a skillet and brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool

3. While rice continues to cook rinse the cilantro and chop. Chop the garlic and set aside. Using a strainer drain and rinse the black beans. 

 

4.  Cook snow peas in steamer bags in the microwave. While they are heating wash fruit and portion in single serve containers. Remove snow peas from microwave and place in a bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper. 

5. Once rice is cooked remove from heat and allow to cool off for a few minutes. Add chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup cilantro, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. 

6. Fill meals in single serve containers and enjoy your week! 

* For best results add tuna when you are ready to eat your meal. 

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Bake

laura lomax

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Serving Size: 1 square 

Serving per recipe: 16 

Prep time: 15 minutes          Cook time: 35 minutes         Total time: 50 minutes 

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened (additional butter or non stick spray optional for greasing the baking dish)

2 cups oat flour  

1 tsp. baking soda 

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. ginger 

1/2 tsp salt 

2 Eggs 

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup brown sugar packed

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree 

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray the 9 inch baking dish.  In a medium  bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and ginger. In a large bowl whisk eggs,  brown sugar, butter, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract until combined. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until combined. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly combined. 

 

Add batter to a prepared baking pan and smooth off the top. Bake approximately 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

 

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Meal Prep: Build your own Bowl

laura lomax

The final product of this meal preparation provides a variety of ingredients to build your own bowl including brown rice, quinoa, roasted chickpeas, grilled chicken, roasted broccoli, tomato, orange bell peppers, and avocados! Snacks are a breeze with hummus and pre - cut carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Breakfast are KIND bars and plain yogurt with strawberries for a sweet evening snack.&nbsp;

The final product of this meal preparation provides a variety of ingredients to build your own bowl including brown rice, quinoa, roasted chickpeas, grilled chicken, roasted broccoli, tomato, orange bell peppers, and avocados! Snacks are a breeze with hummus and pre - cut carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Breakfast are KIND bars and plain yogurt with strawberries for a sweet evening snack. 

This is one of my favorite meal preps. In addition to meal prep this spread also works great for friends and family when they visit.  Friends and family really enjoy all the variety and it is great to have options that are gluten free, diary free, and vegetarian (just swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth or water).

Of course this spread includes several of my favorite options, however feel free to swap out veggies and grains per your preference. Below are  several other options we commonly enjoy in our house

Carbohydrates: Couscous, whole wheat pasta, roasted sweet potatoes, or orzo.   

Vegetables: Zoodles or zucchini, carrots, squash, asparagus, corn, bell peppers, roasted cauliflower, roasted brussel sprouts, or green beans.

Protein: tofu, black beans, lean beef, ground lean turkey, shredded rotisserie chicken, tuna or salmon single serve pouches, or boiled eggs. 

With bowls the possibilities are endless and really that is what makes this meal prep so versatile. If you are preparing for a family it leaves all kinds of options or if you are preparing for one person the variety of combos makes it easy to enjoy the meals for most of the week (Consume meal prep within 4 days of cooking). 

This meal prep prepares enough for approximately 16 bowls assuming a 1/2 cup grains is used, 1/2 cup beans or 4 ounce chicken, and mixture of tomato, peppers. avocado, broccoli in each bowl. In addition to the bowls this meal prep provides 2 snacks daily and a breakfast option. 

*Total meals prepared might be adjusted for those with higher calorie needs/meal.*

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Brown rice (5 cups cooked)  

Quinoa (3 cups cooked)

Roasted chick peas (Prepares 3.5 cups)

Roasted broccoli (~5 cups)

Grilled chicken (3 cooked chicken breast) 

Avocado, tomato, yellow peppers 

6 Snacks of hummus + veggies 

4 Snacks Yogurt with strawberries 

4 KIND bars for breakfast

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Ingredients: 

1 bag baby carrots 

3 Heads of broccoli

1 head of caulflower 

1 orange pepper 

4 roma tomatoes 

2 Pints of strawberries 

2 Avocado

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast 

2 cans of garbanzo beans 

1 Low sodium chicken broth 

Quinoa 

Brown rice 

Olive oil 

Garlic or garlic powder 

Salt and pepper

1 Hummus 

32 oz plain low fat yogurt

4 KIND Bars 

1. Cook brown rice. Add 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 35-40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. 

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2. Prepare the chicken- Trim excess fat from the chicken breast fillets and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper or other seasoning of your choice. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to cooking skillet and cook approximately 10 minutes covered on the first side. 

3. Wash hands and begin prepping vegetables. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil. Wash cauliflower, broccoli, tomato, and orange pepper. Drain and rinse chick peas in a colander. Lay several paper towels on one of the cooking sheets then pour chickpeas onto baking sheet with paper towel and pat the remaining liquid off. At this time the chicken is likely ready to be flipped. 

 

4. As the chicken is cooking cut the vegetables.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower in container to have with hummus, broccoli on the large foil lined baking sheet, tomatoes in a 2 storage container, and bell pepper in a storage container. Season the broccoli with 1-2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lightly drizzle the chickpeas with olive then  season with fresh garlic or 1-2 tsp. garlic powder and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Place the broccoli and chickpeas in the oven to cook. The chicken is likely done (depending on your speed). Check the chicken with a thermometer and ensure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from heat to cool. 

5. At this time the rice is likely cooked. Remove from heat and place in a large bowl. Rinse the pot used to cook the rice and this will be used to prepare the quinoa. Add 2 cups low sodium chicken broth to the pot and increase heat to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat and allow to cook ~ 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. After quinoa is cooking check on vegetables and chickpeas. After cooking for ~ 10 minutes use a spatula to mix chickpeas for even cooking. Return to oven and cook for ~ 5-10 more minutes depending on your crispness preference. Remove broccoli after cooking for ~ 10-15 minutes. 

6. While vegetables are cooling and quinoa finishes cooking slice wash and remove stems from strawberries. Slice chicken breast. Move broccoli and chickpeas to bowls to cool. Clean dishes. Once quinoa is done cooking move to a bowl to cool and wash pot. 

7. Store each ingredient for bowl making in its own large container or prepare single serve combo bowls per your preference. 

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COCOA DATE ENERGY BITES

laura lomax

Serving size: 2 energy bites

Servings per recipe: 10 

INGREDIENTS:

20 Dates, pitted 

2 Tbsp. quick oats 

2 tsp. cocoa powder 

2 tsp. peanut butter 

DIRECTIONS:

Place dates in a small bowl and fill with warm water to soak. While dates are soaking add oats and cocoa powder and pulse to combine then place in a bowl. After dates soak for ~10 minutes drain and place in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Remove dates from food processor and place in a bowl. Add peanut butter to dates and combine. Then slowly add oat cocoa mixture (depending on size of dates you might not need to use all the cocoa oat mixture) until the ingredients stick well together but are not getting stuck to your fingers. Roll into small bite sized balls. Store in tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Enjoy.

 

Chicken, Vegetable, and Gnocchi Soup

laura lomax

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Prep time: 15 minutes                 Cook Time: 25 minutes          Total time: 40 minutes 

Yields: 9 servings (serving size 1.5 cup) 

Ingredients: 

2 pounds chicken breast tenders, cubed

17.6 oz package of Gnocchi 

8 cups low sodium chicken broth 

1 bundle of spinach, washed  

16 oz bag sliced carrots

6 cloves of Garlic, chopped 

1 white onion

2 tbsp. Olive oil    

Salt

Directions: 

1 package Gnocchi 

1 pound chicken 

 Add chopped onions, garlic, and 8 ounce sliced carrots into large stock pot. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and turn heat to medium. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Next add in 8 cups low sodium chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. 

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While waiting for the soup to boil season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for ~4 minutes then stir and flip to the other side and cook for an additional ~4 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly (internal temperature reaches 165 degrees). 

Add the cooked chicken and its cooking juices to the boiling soup.  Gently add in the gnocchi and spinach. Once gnocchi floats the soup is complete. 

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Meal Prep: 16 Meals in 60 minutes (12 Lunch/dinner + 4 breakfast

laura lomax

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Meal Prep Menu:

4 Breakfast -1 cup plain fat free Greek Yogurt + 1/4 cup Granola + Small Banana

4 Meals: 1/2 cup Quinoa + 3/4 cup peas and Carrots + 1 Boiled egg 

4 Meals: Salad Jars with Edamame + 1/2 Small Avocado + Triscuit crackers

4 Meals: 2 Baked tenders with carrot sticks

- All meals served with apple or orange  

Total Meal Prep time: 1 hour

Grocery List:

4 Bananas 

8 Apples 

4 Oranges 

2 Avocados

2 tomatoes 

1 Orange pepper 

1 Cucumber 

1 bag baby carrots 

1 Bundle of spinach or 9 oz bag of spinach 

1 head of lettuce or 9 oz bag of lettuce 

Meat

1.5 pound boneless skinless chicken breast tenders or chicken breast cut into tenders

Grains

3/4 cup Whole wheat bread crumbs

1 cup Bear Naked Cacao and Cashew butter granola 

3/4 cup Quinoa

1.5 cups chicken broth 

Triscuit crackers 

Diary/Eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

32 oz Greek plain yogurt

8 Eggs 

Frozen:

2 cups Edamame (steamer bag)

3 cups Peas and Carrots blend

Other:

Olive oil 

Salt free all purpose seasoning or Penzey Mural of flavor seasoning 

Salt 

Pepper 

Nonstick spray

1. Prepare baked chicken tenders. Recipe link http://www.greensandgrainsnutrition.com/greens-and-grains-blog/2017/7/6/baked-chicken-tenders. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. In a bowl cracker and scramble the 2 eggs. In another bowl combine 3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp salt free seasoning, and 1 tsp salt and pepper. Gently mix. Take the chicken tenders and dip in the egg first then breadcrumb mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat process until all tenders are complete. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. 

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2. While tenders are baking place 8 eggs in a large pot. Cover with water and place on stove. Bring to a boil, once boiling cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. While the eggs are cooking cook the quinoa. Add 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth and 3/4 cup quinoa to a small pot. Bring to a boil, cover and turn off heat. Allow to stand covered for 10 minutes. 

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3. While the quinoa and eggs are finishing steam the edamame in the microwave according to package instructions (typically 3-4 minutes) then empty into a bowl to cool. Chop the tomato,  cucumbers, and orange pepper. Drain the hot water from the eggs and add cool water or ice to the eggs. 

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4. After standing for 10 minutes remove cover from quinoa and allow to cool. After cooking for 30 minutes, remove chicken tenders from oven and allow to cool. Peel the eggs.  

6 Assemble salad jars with 2 tbsp. dressing first (optional you may also add when ready to eat), cucumbers, tomato, and orange pepper first. Next layer edamame and 1 chopped egg. Generously fill with lettuce and spinach. 

7. Assemble remaining meals: 1/2 cup Quinoa + 3/4 cup peas and carrots  + 1 sliced boiled egg - 4 meals. Then 2 baked chicken tenders + 10 carrot sticks.   Pre-portion 1 cup yogurt servings.  

*Tips and Variations*

- May swap proteins in the salad per preference- other great options include black beans, tuna, chicken tenders, or lean beef. The black beans would go well in the jar method, however other options are best added to the salad at time of consumption

- If you don't have travel salad containers or large jars to fill don't worry. It works just as well to store in a glass or plastic container. 

- As with many meal preps vegetable and fruit swaps are welcome per preference or convenience. 

- You may add salad dressing with carrot sticks if preferred.