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7 Days of Healthy Meals and Snacks (and some healthy cooking tips)

Updated on January 17, 2012

Debunking Childhood Myths of Eating Habits


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What's in this HUB:

  • HEALTHY EATING GUIDE (Spices and Tips)
  • 7 DAYS OF MEALS
  • A FEW YUMMY SNACKS
  • VIDEO
  • LEAVE A COMMENT!

Substituting Bad Foods with Good Flavors

Is is possible to eat good foods that are also healthy??

Step 1. Replace the salt you put on your foods with other flavorful options.

There are so many delicious vegetables and plants that can add lots of flavor to your foods without having to pile on the salt and pepper. By decreasing your salt intake, you will retain less water, potentially help to regulate your blood pressure, and even increase heart health. There are many spices that you may use once or twice in recipes then put them in your spice rack while forgetting about them. Here are a list of spices that when added to different meats, seafood and veggies will increase flavor and leave you more satisfied.

Spices:

  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Rosemary (try popping popcorn on the stove with some rosemary in it- delicious! Also use olive oil)
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Crushed Red Pepper

Step 2: Add more than just veggies to your meals

It is easy to get in a cooking rut when you are beginning to cook healthy again. You think ok- here are the 5 foods I know that I can have and then you get bored with them in 5 days. Here are some ways to add items to your meals to help fill you up, mix it up and keep you more satisfied overall.

  • Add sunflower seeds (to a salad, vegetable mix, diced meat to saute')
  • Add dried fruit (see my brussel sprouts recipe below in snacks)
  • Add pistachios, pecans, almonds, walnuts or cashews (But do be careful- nuts do have a lot of good fats in them, but too much-with every meal- will not help your diet)
  • PB2 (This is a powdered peanut butter and I promise that it is actually really good- add it to a smoothie, with soy sauce and water to make a dressing, etc.)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (Add a few of these to anything more a more compact flavor added bonus!)
  • Quinoa and Chickpeas (Add these to a salad/meat or roast the chickpeas in the oven for a snack)
  • Onions add flavor to any recipe
  • Artificial sweeteners such as Stevia
  • Lemon or lemon zest
  • NEVER USE BUTTER- use Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or PAM when cooking

Step 3: Put these ingredients together and get cooking!

I am going to list a weeks worth of easy meals along with some of (what my grandpa used to call them) my make-em-eat recipes which are basically whatever is in your pantry you add together and Presto! a great meal.

7 Days of Healthy Meals- Day by Day

Getting back into the swing of healthy eating and/or dieting after the holidays is much like putting your mind and body through detox. All of the fatty and sugary foods and alcohol that we have been consuming have definitely caught up with us. Do you find yourself craving sugary foods when you never did before? What about foods packed with oily sauces and cheeses? This is what a few weeks (or a month if you started at Thanksgiving and went through Christmas!) of going from each side of you and your significant other's family's homes for quality time and meals will do to your appetite.

If your grandmother is anything like mine, she makes about a dozen different candies and it seems like a cake a day in the holiday season. Although I am generally not a sweet fan, place her sweets in front of me, and I rarely tell my grandmother no.

So now, this is where you are, craving salty and sweet foods that for the rest of the year you may never even think twice about. Now what? Dieting or healthy eating plans of course! I will provide you with a weeks worth of EASY meals that will keep you full and satisfied while adding the healthy foods back into your diet and getting rid of the desire to run to your grandma's house for a snack.

Day 1:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Blueberries

Lunch: Ham and Black Bean Wraps (Weight Watchers original)

Roll out a whole wheat or veggie tortilla, and add lettuce, diced and cooked ham, black beans (canned), fat free bean dip, fresh cilantro, low fat cheese and chopped scallions.

Dinner: Vegetable Medley and Chicken Breast

Take every vegetable you like that is not starchy (if it has a white center, probably a starch, for ex. corn, potato, etc.), chop up some fresh garlic, toss in a 2 gallon bag, sprinkle olive oil and your seasoning choice, shake, bake on 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Depending on the vegetables you use will determine the cook time. This will provide enough for a few recipes.

Grill (using lemon juice and seasonings) about 6 chicken breasts so that you can have them for various meals throughout the week. Spray your grill with Pam prior to turning it on to prevent the chicken from sticking.


Day 2: (see dinner to prepare for the day- crockpot meal)

Breakfast: Fruit Smoothie

Pick your favorite fruits, low calorie yogurt or milk, ice and blend. Add mint or PB2 for a different flavor.

Lunch: Toasted Pesto and Boca Burger Sandwich, side of fruit

Put just a little bit of basil pesto on one side of a toasted piece of bread, add tomato, lettuce, sprouts, slice of low fat cheese, and a heated Boca Burger. Still hungry? Eat a banana or apple with PB2.

Dinner: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Get your crockpot out, fill the bottom with about 2-3 cups of chicken broth or water (enough to cover the bottom and continue to simmer) and put in bell peppers once stuffed on the low setting all day.

Bell Peppers: Combine ground meat, tomato paste, cauliflower, garlic, oregano, tarragon, shallots or other onion (All chopped in food processor) and season to taste. Cut the tops off of your bell peppers and clean out the insides. Fill them with the mixture and replace the tops (stem on). Add these to the crockpot and get home to a delicious meal!


Day 3:

Breakfast: Egg Whites (Egg Beaters), Chopped Tomato, Garlic, and Green Onion

Lunch: Lettuce Wraps

Remember the veggies and chicken you made earlier this week? Chop them up, add water chestnuts and some soy sauce for more flavor. Wrap this in iceberg lettuce and enjoy- you may have several.
Dinner: Salmon and Steamed Broccoli

Take the skin off of the salmon to eliminate the fishy taste if you are baking it. Put dill weed, capers and a little olive oil (salt and pepper to taste) on the fish. Bake on 375 for about 15 minutes. The cook time will depend on the thickness of the fish- ask your butcher for a recommendation if you are unsure. Steam the broccoli in the microwave or on the stove and season with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper.


Day 4:

Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito

Take a whole wheat tortilla, put scrambled Egg Beaters, Boca Burger sausage (or other lean breakfast sausage), and some of the veggies you baked earlier in the week in and roll up.

Lunch: Eggplant Parmesan (can be prepared the night before)

Slice an eggplant into disks, spray cooking sheet and lay them on it, drizzle with very little EVOO and bake at 375 degrees until they begin to get mushy (15 minutes or so- watch them). Either use leftover spaghetti or another red sauce to put on top once the eggplant is cooked, sprinkle some low fat cheese on top and bake until the cheese melts. Do a side of a steam in the bag vegetable for a larger meal or eat one of the snacks below.

Dinner: Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry (Courtesy of Weght Watchers)

Toss 3/4 lb of trimmed beef sirloin in 2 tbsp. of corn starch and 1/4 tsp. of salt. Stir- fry in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat in 2 tsp. canola or olive oil until browned and cooked through. Add 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth and 5 cups of broccoli florets, cover for about 3-5 minutes until broccoli is tender. Add 1 tbsp. ginger, 2 tsp. minced garlic, and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes. In a separate bowl mix 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, and 1/2 tbsp. of cornstarch. Mix with meat and broccoli and let simmer one minute.


Day 5:

Breakfast: Whole Grain Cereal and Fruit (banana, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)

Lunch: Avocado and Ham sandwich

To help fill you up, add about a 1/4 of sliced avocado to a sandwich with ham, lettuce, tomato and whatever else you would like. Use condiments sparingly.

Dinner: Tilapia and Asparagus

Get some pre-packaged tilapia from your grocers freezer, defrost and season with lemon slices, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook on 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes (generally thinly cut). Cut the ends off of the asparagus, roll on a cookie sheet in olive oil and Tony's Chachere's or other season-all and cook on 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or so.


Day 6:

Breakfast: Low Fat Yogurt, Fruit, and Toast

Lunch: Salad with Grilled Chicken and Veggies

Take lettuce, one of the chicken breasts and the cooked veggies from earlier in the week, add a light dressing and enjoy.
Dinner: Boiled Shrimp and Caprese Salad

Take about a 1/4 cap of crab boil, a little salt and olive oil and let it boil in water in a medium pot on your stove for about 5-10 minutes. Next, add your washed shrimp and boil until they turn pink (means they are cooked thoroughly). Serve with a caprese salad: sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil,and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and seasoning.


Day 7:

Breakfast: Poached Egg, 1/2 Grapefruit, Toast and Sliced Tomato

Lunch: Green Salad Lagniappe (something extra)

Lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, capers, pecans, cucumbers, banana peppers, blue or feta cheese, sunflower seeds.

Dinner: Wheat Pasta, Red Sauce, Cherry Tomatoes and Rosemary Scallops.

Boil wheat pasta, set aside. Buy pre-made red sauce or make your own (if you need a recipe, just ask), saute' the cherry tomatoes in garlic, olive oil and seasoning then add to the pasta. Next, seer the scallops on about a medium high heat with olive oil and seasoning. Add rosemary once they are almost cooked then take off of the heat and add to the pasta.


3 EASY SNACKS:

Rosemary Popcorn:

Pop popcorn kernels according to the directions on the bag, but use olive oil instead of regular oil (much better flavor!). Once one kernel has popped, add some rosemary and season-all and the rest of the kernels.


Brussel Sprouts, Cranberries, Pistachios and Green Onions:

Quarter and wash the brussel sprouts, add in UNSWEETENED cranberries, peeled pistachios and chopped green onions all in a cooking pan. Mix in olive oil and seasoning and cook down until tender on medium heat to medium low heat.


Baked Zucchini Strips:

Cut the zucchini into 4 strips then half them. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of salt and let them drain for an hour. Rinse and pat dry. Take 1 cup of bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp. of Italian herbs. Dip the zucchini strip (one at a time) into a bowl of whisked egg then roll in the mixture. Bake on a greased baking pan at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Please let me know if you have any questions about any meal that I gave short descriptions on by commenting below. I will be more than happy to help you out! If you have any of your own suggestions, please add them to the comments as well. Don't forget to take the short quiz at the top!

So, you are busy..here is a video for tips!

LIKE MY RECIPES?? CHECK OUT SOME MORE!

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    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      Thanks MomsTreasureChest! That recipe is very low maintenance since it is done in a crock pot- delish!!!

    • MomsTreasureChest profile image

      MomsTreasureChest 5 years ago

      Great suggestions, I will certainly be taking your advice! I especially liked the bell pepper recipe, thanks!

    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      Thanks Rebecca! One of my biggest issues is that I love salt! Finding tasty substitutions has definitely helped me decrease my salt intake.

    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      Thanks, Thelma! I am a veggie addict myself ( I call myself ab 75% vegetarian) so I am always looking for creative veggie recipes. I just found a cauliflower pizza on pinterest- all veggie, low cal and scrumptious!

    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      Thank you, chamilj! I appreciate the vote and hope you enjoy trying some out!

    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      Thanks, Brett!! I find that when I get off of the healthy eatig band wagon it is usually because I am bored with my recipes! I hope you enjoy trying some of this out when you get back to an area with a fresh market!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      These sound like great menus. I like the salt substitutions and found the Rosemary popcorn to be very interesting. I will have to give that a try! Will SHARE this Hub!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Great and healthy information.As I am fond of vegetables, I'll try these healthy meals and snacks. Voted up and SHARED.

    • chamilj profile image

      chamilj 5 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Great healthy eating ideas. Voted up!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      This is AWESOME! You have put together a great range of ideas and advice for healthy eating. As I will soon be back in an area where I can get many of the thing you mention fresh from the market, I have bookmarked this.

      Thanks for SHARING, up and awesome.

    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      CloudExplorer- I am a "part time vegetarian", so a lot of what I cook revolves around different ways to cook delicious veggies- when you start getting tired of a vegetable you have been cooking alot- change the way your prepare it. Head to the grill if you have been cooking in the oven or on the stove. Please share any recipes ideas you may have!

    • mpoche4 profile image
      Author

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      DzyMsLizzy- I am glad that you enjoyed the quiz! I thought those were funny little childhood memories to get people thinking about. I remember being terrified the first day that I swallowed a watermelon seed and someone told me it would grow!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      Good info here, I love your 7 day meal plan for a healthy diet, me & my wife are eating all organic meals and we've been doing very well with veggies as well, she's a vegatarian, and I'm transitioning. Awesome hub voted up!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I had to laugh at the bread crust question in your quiz. I have never objected to the crusts; my mother did not need to make up stories or remove the crust. It's part of the bread, you just eat it.

      What that reminded me of, however, is that we never ate the heels of the bread. Why? Becuase, according to my mother, the "purpose" of the heels was to keep the rest of the loaf fresh. LOL Once the loaf was gone, mom would cube up the heels and make bread pudding.

      Voted up and interesting. Sorry, they don't have a "delicious" button yet...