This week got the best of me! It was likely the sweltering heat, the multiple deadlines at work, the mid-week concert in Central Park, the dinner celebration for a family member and the general running around like a headless chicken that all contributed to me feeling more exhausted than usual by the end of this week. I haven’t welcomed a weekend with the enthusiasm as I did today in a very long time.
We’ve all had those weeks! For some reason, these action-packed and exhausting weeks tend to happen most often in the balmy summer months. It must be something in our blood that makes us want to spend as much time outdoors as possible in the summer and fill our calendars during these months to the max.
During these frenzied weeks, the last place most of us want to be is spending hours in our kitchens preparing meals. For some, increased stress and crazy schedules are the perfect excuse to veer off the healthy eating path. This doesn’t have to be the case, though! Plenty of quick, easy and most importantly diet compliant options are available even when time is of the essence.
My Healthy Eating Tips for Hectic Weeks
Unfortunately, most of the convenience foods that do not take long to make tend to be the most unhealthy for us (TV dinners, prepared foods from stores, etc.). And hectic weeks seem to give some of us an excuse to hop in the car and head straight to fast food joints for our meals. Don’t be tempted, though! During the weeks when I am running around like a mad woman, I try to keep the following healthy items stocked in my kitchen instead of any unhealthy “convenience” foods:
- Natural and Organic Rotisserie Chicken (from a local store)
- Ground turkey or chicken (for a simple stir fry, burgers or meatballs)
- Eggs (for quick and easy scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs)
- Sweet potatoes
- Spinach, arugula, carrots and other salad fixings
- Plenty of fruit (for snacking and smoothies)
- Nut butters (click here for information about how to find healthy nut butters)
- Dairy-free and gluten-free protein powder
Also Keep Simple Recipes Handy for Snappy Cooking
During crazy weeks, I also rely on my quick and easy recipes that encourage the use of only a few staple ingredients and pre-diced or cut vegetables (which cuts down food prep time immensely). I have shared some of these speedy recipes in previous blog posts, including:
- The Ultimate Turkey and Veggie Burger Mashup
- Chipotle Chicken Meatballs with Crunch and Easy Asian Salad
- Delicious and Easy Ground Turkey Italiano
- One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
Beyond my recipes, there are many fast and delicious recipes that you can browse in other blogs, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and food-related websites. Keep them simple, though. I recommend focusing on recipes with only a few ingredients that can be made in under a half hour. Any more elaborate recipes just lead to more stress and post-cooking clean-up – which is the last thing we need when we are frenzied. Save the fancy recipes for quieter weeks.
Before I go put my feet up, slap on a facial mask and officially kiss this crazy work week goodbye, I wanted to share one more quick and easy dish: Carrot Slaw. This colorful dish is fabulous as a side dish or you can add grilled chicken for a full-on entrée.
Recipe: Carrot Slaw
This recipe is so incredibly simple! This dish will literally be ready in about ten minutes, including prep time. This recipe below yields 2 servings.
Kitchen Items You Will Need:
- Frying pan/skillet
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 3 tablespoons oil (olive oil, avocado oil, hazelnut oil or coconut oil all work well with this recipe)
- 2 cups of shredded carrots (I recommend buying the pre-shredded carrots available at most grocery stores.)
- 1/3 cup of slivered almonds (unsalted)
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tablespoon dried thyme
- Some fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary or parsley (optional)
- A pinch of sea salt (I use fine sea salt for this recipe.)
- A pinch of black pepper
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- Set the stove heat to medium.
- Add the oil to the skillet/frying pan.
- Pour in the carrots followed by the slivered almonds.
- Add the cayenne pepper, dried thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Mix all ingredients well until all carrots and almonds are coated in oil.
- Add the fresh herbs if applicable.
- Stirring regularly, cook on medium heat for approximately 8-10 minutes (or until you begin to see a bit of brown on the carrots).
- Serve as a side or add grilled chicken if preferred.
Enjoy! And Happy Weekend!