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17 Quick & Easy Meals Our Dietitians Are Cooking This Week

Need some cooking inspiration? See what our dietitians are eating lately.

As January comes to a close, many individuals are diligently pursuing their New Year's resolution to cook more meals at home. Beyond the financial benefits of reducing dining-out and delivery expenses, cooking meals at home can help you eat healthier, more nutrient-dense foods. But if you're new to home cooking, you know how hard it can be to find the time and energy to prepare meals or the inspiration for what to make.

Thankfully, crafting nutritious,  home-cooked meals doesn't have to be complicated and time-consuming. You can find dishes that are nutrient-dense and easy to throw together in a matter of minutes. To offer inspiration for such meals, we consulted with our team of dietitians to discover what they've been cooking recently.

From wholesome oatmeal and flavorful tacos to air-fried salmon, protein-packed toast, and vibrant smoothies, our dietitians give us a look into how they whip up deliciously healthy meals that are both easy and super quick. Read on for a glimpse into how they effortlessly create nutritious dishes that are both convenient and speedy, then check out The 15 Best Fruits & Vegetables for Weight Loss.

Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

dietitian meal, oatmeal
Lauren Manaker

A favorite breakfast for Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN is her Zucchini Bread Oatmeal.

"Protein is a must at breakfast time, so I use Bob's Red Mill Protein Oats to make the base of my meal. I combine these cooked oats with a pinch of salt, cinnamon, chopped zucchini, walnuts, and prunes, and I stir in a touch of real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)," says Manaker. "The prunes add some natural sweetness to the dish and allow me to avoid adding too much maple syrup, which is considered to be an added sugar when it is added to a recipe."

Aside from this oatmeal's delicious flavors, Manaker also appreciates the health benefits.

"Bob's Red Mill Protein Oats provide 10 grams of protein per serving, and they are made with just one ingredient (whole-grain oat flakes)," she says. "Plus, compared with other dried fruits, prunes are lower in naturally occurring sugar and have a low glycemic index of 29, and they provide 3 grams of fiber per serving to support gut health."

 65 Best Healthy Recipes for Weight Loss

Walnut Tacos

dietitian meals, walnut tacos
Lauren Manaker

"Taco night is a must in my home," says Manaker, "and I love replacing beef with walnuts for a meatless version that tastes fantastic."

Replacing beef with walnuts in some of your weekly meals can help your heart health, says Manaker.

"Data shows that partially replacing meat with walnuts improved diet quality, increased omega-3 ALA and fiber intake, and decreased cholesterol," she says, "and the study also found that all age and gender groups may benefit from incorporating walnuts into their diets."

Cobb Salad

dietitian meals, cobb salad
Lauren Manaker

Manaker is making this delicious cobb salad this week because it is an easy, filling meal that takes only a few minutes to whip up.

"A bed of lettuce topped with avocado, tomato, blue cheese, hard-cooked egg, bacon, and turkey checks so many boxes," says Manaker. "Instead of low-quality bacon, which can cause this salad to be too high in saturated fat, I use Applegate Naturals Uncured Turkey Bacon for a choice that is not only free from saturated fat but is also not made with any added sugars or added chemical nitrates/nitrites. I also use Applegate's Oven Roasted Turkey Breast for an antibiotic-free turkey that isn't made with any questionable ingredients."

She notes that "including eggs in this cobb salad is an easy way to add high-quality protein and important micronutrients like vitamin B12 and choline that support brain health, and eggs not only supply nutrition and flavor, but they can also help you better absorb the nutrients found in vegetables, such as vitamin E and carotenoids. Plus, according to the American Heart Association, healthy people can include an average of seven eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy diet."

 8 Fast-Food Chains Where Dietitians Actually Eat—& What They Order

BBQ Pizza

dietitian meals, pizza
Lauren Manaker

Craving pizza but want to stick to your health goals? Manaker suggests this BBQ pizza that she loves making during the week.

"For an easy weeknight dinner, I snag a frozen cauliflower pizza crust (I used Caulipower) and top it with Kevin's Natural Foods Korean-Style BBQ Chicken, which comes with a sweet and spicy Bulgogi sauce made with coconut aminos, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and fully cooked tender sous vide chicken," says Manaker. "After adding sliced red onion and canned pineapple (I used Del Monte Deluxe Gold), I cook and serve it with a small spinach salad."

She adds, "All of the ingredients are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free, making it a nice choice for many people."

Butternut Squash Soup

dietitian meals, soup
Lauren Manaker

"I love sippable soups, and this one is super easy to make," says Manaker. And what better time for a sippable butternut squash soup than in the middle of winter?

"Roasting squash, apples, and onion, then blending it with veggie broth, Fresh Press Farms cold pressed sunflower oil, and herbs and spices is a nutrient-packed mid-day option," Manaker says. "The sunflower oil is American Heart Association certified, and it adds a boost of healthy and satiating fats to this soup."

Watercress Smoothie

dietitian meals, smoothie
Lauren Manaker

A smoothie full of nutrient-dense ingredients is always a nice choice when you need something quick and easy, and Manaker loves making this Watercress Smoothie.

"I love a green smoothie post-workout, and I have been adding watercress to my smoothies to give them a slightly peppery taste that balances out the natural sweetness of fruit nicely," she says. "And since the CDC recently named watercress the most nutrient-dense vegetable, I am adding it to more and more recipes. This smoothie combines watercress with frozen cherries, half of a frozen banana, almond butter, almond milk, and ice. I will sometimes add chia seeds too if I want some extra healthy fats."

Quinoa Orange Chicken Salad

dietitian meal, chicken
Lauren Manaker

Salads never, ever have to be boring, and this Quinoa Orange Chicken Salad that Manaker recently enjoyed is proof.

"I whipped this up because I knew I would need to enjoy lunch while on the go, so I combined cooked quinoa with pieces of rotisserie chicken, fresh Sumo oranges, steamed broccoli, and slivered almonds," she says. "As a dressing, I combined the Fresh Press Farms Cold Pressed Sunflower Oil with Uncle Matt's Organic Ultimate Defense Juice (which is organic orange juice combined with organic turmeric, ginger, and other yummy ingredients) for extra flavor and nutrients."

A bonus? Manaker says "The addition of the juice gives this dish a boost of probiotics too, as one serving contains 1 billion probiotics."

 11 Supplements That Dietitians Actually Take

Tart Berry Yogurt and Granola

dietitian meal, yogurt
Lauren Manaker

For a quick and easy snack that is packed full of flavor and nutrients, Manaker loves this Tart Berry Yogurt and Granola.

"I love combining vinegar and honey with berries for a unique flavor that pairs well with Greek yogurt or Icelandic Skyr," she says. "Here, I used Fresh Pressed Farms Peach Cider Vinegar and Tupelo honey to make my dressing, and I topped the fruit with Icelandic Provisions Skyr and Struesli Grain-Free Granola."

Sweet Potato with Nut Butter and Granola

dietitian meal, potato
Lauren Manaker

Not sure what to do with those sweet potatoes you have left? You can always make them for breakfast like Manaker did this week.

"One of my favorite breakfast ideas is a leftover sweet potato topped with nut butter and granola. When I have it on hand, I love using Big Spoon Roaster Maple Cinnamon Pecan and Peanut Butter, but any nut butter will do," she says. "Leaning on this for breakfast helps me sneak in some vegetables right out of the gate."

Avocado Protein Toast

dietitian meals, avocado toast
The Nutrition Twins

Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins, have been cooking some deliciously healthy meals lately. One of their new obsessions? Their new Avocado Protein Toast.

"The downside with typical avocado toast," say The Nutrition Twins, "is that it doesn't have protein to help you meet your daily requirements for building and repairing muscle tissue, or preventing lean muscle tissue loss, which can slow your metabolism and make weight loss harder."

They still love avocado toast with eggs, but they note that "it's still hard to get more than 12 of the minimum of 20 grams we aim for at breakfast."

To make their protein-rich toast, "simply take a slice of 100% whole grain toast, spread one-half cup of low-fat cottage cheese on the toasted bread, mash half an avocado and spread it on top –and then add any vegetables you like," say The Twins. "We like Roma tomatoes, red bell peppers, and red onion!"

 The 10 Best Eating Habits to Fight Inflammation

One Pan Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

dietitian meals, sheet pan salmon
The Nutrition Twins

"We try to get inflammation-fighting omega-3 fats in as frequently as we can, and this recipe is so simple that you really can't mess it up," say The Nutrition Twins.

To make their One Pan Salmon with Roasted Vegetables, "Simply line a sheet pan with unbleached parchment paper, add tons of your favorite vegetables (we often simply use a ready-to-go bag of broccoli slaw and/or cabbage slaw and some greens), add a teaspoon of olive oil, a few cloves of freshly minced or crushed garlic, and toss it all. Then carve out holes in the veggies for your salmon filets and place the filets in the middle of the vegetables. Squeeze with lemon, add a dash of salt and pepper, and cook at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked," say The Twins.

Their favorite way to serve this dish? With a simple side of brown rice.

Low-fat Chicken Salad

dietitian meals, chicken salad
The Nutrition Twins

Chicken salad is the perfect quick and easy lunch, and The Nutrition Twins have created a much healthier alternative to the classic recipe.

"Most chicken salad recipes are made with mayonnaise and are high in calories and artery-clogging fat," say The Nutrition Twins, "but our easy-to-make, rich-tasting, creamy version is packed with protein and uses avocado and Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise to slash calories, increase the protein even more, and reduce the bad-for-you fat."

They say that the trick with this recipe is using shredded cooked chicken. "Simply mash up an avocado in a mixing bowl, add in a half-cup of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt, chopped red onion, and celery, and then mix in dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper," say The Nutrition Twins. "Serve over a bed of lettuce or whole grain crackers."

 10 Best Eating Habits to Help Boost Your Metabolism, Say Dietitians

Whole Wheat Pasta+Zoodles with Vegetables and Marinara Sauce

dietitian meals, stir fry
Lisa Young

Lisa Young, PhD, RDN recently made some tasty, simple, and nutritious meals, and she's shared her favorites with us—like this filling Whole Wheat Pasta and Zoodles with Vegetables and Marinara Sauce.

"Just boil the pasta, lightly sautee zoodles and other vegetables, and then add marinara sauce," says Young. "This meal is simple and delicious, and it's a healthy way to enjoy a large portion. Enjoy some pasta and add volume with your favorite yummy vegetables."

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Air Fryer Salmon

air fryer salmon and salad
Lisa Young

Another of Young's favorite healthy meals to make during a busy week is some air-fried salmon. All she does is take a salmon filet, drizzle it with lemon and olive oil, and cook it to perfection in her air fryer.

"Add salad and sliced avocado, and enjoy with a side of butternut squash drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper," says Young.

 The Best Way to Cook Salmon Perfectly in an Air Fryer

Chickpea Salad

Dietitian meals, Chickpea salad
Lisa Young

If you need a quick recipe that requires zero cooking, Young suggests this Chickpea Salad. "This salad is made with spinach, chickpeas, jicama, avocado, and red pepper, and is drizzled with olive oil, fresh lemon, salt, and pepper."

You'll enjoy tons of nutrients in this salad, like fiber from the chickpeas, healthy fats from the avocado, and iron and vitamin K from the spinach. A quick and easy way to take care of your health in a matter of minutes!

Chocolate Cherry Antioxidant Shake

Chocolate cherry smoothie

When it comes to a quick and healthy breakfast, Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD likes to start her day with her very own Chocolate Cherry Antioxidant Shake.

"This shake is chock full of antioxidant-rich foods like turmeric, cherries, and chocolate," says Sabat. To make it, she says you'll need unsweetened nut milk, chia seeds, frozen organic cherries, vegan protein powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and spirulina.

"The spirulina is a superfood full of antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamin B12, chia seeds add a healthy omega-3 fat, while cinnamon helps to reduce blood sugar and enhance insulin sensitivity in normal and overweight individuals," says Sabat.

To make it, "Allow the chia seeds to soak in milk for 15 minutes or overnight," says Sabat. "Add all the other ingredients, blend well, and enjoy."

Vegan Quinoa Salad

dietitian meals, quinoa bowl

Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements made a tasty Vegan Quinoa Salad this week, which she says is a "protein-rich and nutrient-dense meal or snack for vegan dieters."

"Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, which are commonly only available from animal sources," says Best. "The black beans and peppers also combine plant-based iron and vitamin C, which is a necessary combination for non-heme iron (plant-based iron) to absorb adequately."

All you'll need for this salad is quinoa, black beans, canned corn, bell pepper, onion, balsamic or red wine vinegar, and salt. Mix all of your ingredients and add to some romaine lettuce, and you'll have a super healthy meal to enjoy.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
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