How to Build Quick and Delicious Meals for Weight LossNov 09, 2021
By: Tedi Nikova, MPH, RD
Have you said these statements before?
“Planning and preparing healthy meals takes too much time!!”
“I will never able to implement a healthier diet that fits my lifestyle..”
If this sounds like your thought patterns, you may be holding some limiting beliefs around healthy eating for weight loss!
I was recently had a conversation with one of my clients where we were discussing quick and simple breakfast ideas that require less than 5 minutes to prep, as this client had a very small amount of time in the morning! This client would typically reach for a toasted bagel with butter, I provided this client with alternative breakfasts that are higher in protein and healthy fats, such as a Greek yogurt parfait. In our follow up the client told me, “Tedi, the yogurt parfait I made for breakfast takes less time to prep in the morning than my toasted bagel.. who knew!”. I hope this story shines light that many of you may be holding onto limiting beliefs around planning and preparing healthy meals. I would like to propose to you that healthy eating can fit into ANY busy lifestyle! I will break down our 3 top tips from the HMC dietitian team to begin preparing simple, delicious, and healthy meals that require little preparation and cook time.
Tip #1: Lean into convenience foods at the grocery store
There is no rule that healthy eating means preparing everything from scratch! Leaning into partially of fully prepared staples can save a lot of prep time for creating healthy meals!
Proteins are one of the most essential nutrients for weight loss and weight management! Proteins shuts off your hunger hormones and increases your fullness hormones. However, proteins typically require the most prep time, therefore, protein is the key nutrient I see my clients missing out on the most! Leaning into pre-prepped or partially prepped proteins is key for building quick meals for weight loss!
Some examples of pre-prepped proteins include
- Canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
- Canned beans
- Frozen edamame (high fibre, lower carbohydrate bean)
- Hemp seeds
- High protein yogurt ( Greek yogurt, cottage cheese)
- Pre-prepped protein from salad bar (chicken breast, seafood mix)
- Deli turkey (nitrate free)
Other already prepped foods that can be assembled with your protein to build a meal include:
Healthy fats: Nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, sliced and pre-portioned cheeses, liquid oils
Unrefined carbohydrates: Hummus, frozen and fresh fruit, whole grain crackers, high fibre cereals
Non-starchy vegetables: Pre-made salad mixes, pre-chopped vegetables
How about the right portion sizes for weight loss?
At HMC, our dietitian team teaches our clients the right portion sizes to support weight loss for their individual needs, as individual needs will vary based on our clients current lifestyle, and health goals!
Tip #2: Be flexible of your definition of breakfast
Another misconception I see is that breakfast must be complicated to be healthy, or has to consist of the same chia seed pudding that all of the influencers are promoting on social media. However, I encourage you to be flexible with your definition of breakfast. This may mean having a savoury style breakfast consistent of leftovers from the night before, or even having something as simple as Greek yogurt, nuts and seeds, and berries, packed in a mason jar. Keep breakfast simple, quick, and delicious!
Tip #3: Have 15-minute dinner recipes in mind
Dinner is often the time that many of you may struggle, as the thought patterns of leaning into less healthy options come in, “a healthy meal will take too much time to cook, takeout is the quickest!”. By the time dinner comes around you likely have decision fatigue, this means that you have been making important decisions all day, therefore your planning and logical brain is burnt out. You are more likely at night to go into auto-pilot mode (a.ka. ordering out our preparing a less healthy meal), I want you to challenge this belief system by having a reservoir of 15 minutes, or even 5 minute meal ideas.
Some ideas include:
- Taco bowls
Recipe inspiration: https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/recipes/15-minute-mexican-burrito-bowl
Recipe inspiration: https://gimmedelicious.com/quick-healthy-15-minute-stir-fry-chicken-and-veggies/
- Breakfast for dinner
The bottom line:
Healthy eating does not have to consist of complicated or elaborate meals that take hours to prepare! It is all about having the right tools and strategies on hand to prepare simple, quick and delicious meals to support your health goals! At HMC we teach our clients to prep and enjoy meals that fit their lifestyle, health goals, and food preferences. Healthy eating for weight loss can be SIMPLE, DELICIOUS and stress free!