Last year I dumped all of my everyday food iPhone photos into a post containing one full year of healthy meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). Well here we are, one year later – and I have another whole new, entirely different, year of meals to share!
I always get questions about what we eat on a day to day basis which was one reason I wrote last year’s healthy meals blog. I found myself referencing it all the time this year for meal planning! I also wrote it to keep track of all the healthy staples that we make often. I find that most of those simple, everyday meals don’t make the blog – the recipes are really basic and not super special. However, they are easy, healthy, reliable, and worth collecting into a post like this. I hope this year’s compilation gives you some ideas, encourages you to revisit some old standbys, and maybe even jumpstarts you out of a food rut. Enjoy!
For this year’s post I want to break breakfast down into three categories: breakfast at home, breakfast at work, and breakfast on the go. What I eat varies immensely depending on where I am and how much time I have. Except my morning tea. I always have tea with breakfast, no matter the time, place, season, etc.
For breakfast at home I love a leisurely meal. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be something I spent a little bit more time making. This usually includes waffles, eggs, and/or juice. You’ll also notice I’m a big fan of veggie breakfast sausage (I buy Whole Food’s 365 brand); it’s so good!
Left to Right: Gingerbread waffles with strawberries, veggie sausage, and OJ, english muffin with eggs, veggie sausage, an orange, and carrot juice, and toast with eggs and artichokes and veggie sausage.
For breakfast at work, ease is key. My go-tos this year were cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese, and quickbreads. I also discovered Spectrum’s Mixed Berry ground flaxseed which I kept at my desk and sprinkled on pretty much everything.
L to R: Yogurt and an orange, vegan pumpkin walnut bread with tea and OJ, cereal and cottage cheese, Spectrum’s Mixed Berry ground flaxseed, cereal and yogurt with flaxseed on top, raisin bran cereal with almond milk and OJ, and bran cereal with almond milk and strawberries.
Breakfast on the go is super important. It has to be convenient, easy, and portable. This goes for pretty much every morning situation – running to an early morning meeting, something to stash in your gym bag, a bite to bring on an early morning flight, avoiding the high cost/unhealthy breakfast items at Starbucks, or just something easy so that you’ll actually remember to eat breakfast every day. No matter what the situation, these breakfast-on-the-go items definitely helped me out.
L to R: Oatmeal packet with DIY ziplock bag of mix ins (dried cranberries, coconut, and almonds), lemon blackberry breakfast cookie and tea, Soft Baked Belvita with fruit leather and tea, Belvita biscuits with vanilla almond butter and an orange, and yogurt with Cheerios and clementines.
I tend to stick to a handful of lunch categories and make variations on a theme. The various ingredients and add ins change up a lot, but the meals themselves stay pretty standard. This is great for work-week lunches because I can keep it interesting while packing something healthy and filling every day. Also, I’m so not one of those people that buys lunch out every day (the thought of the cost kills me!) so making my lunch, even if it’s something really basic, is key. Here are my go-to lunch categories and a bunch of examples.
L to R: Giant cobb salad (made with tomatoes, deli turkey, cucumber, asparagus, hard boiled egg, cheese, artichokes, peppers, and greens), mixed green salad with chickpeas, corn, avocado, quinoa, red pepper, and black beans, and a super fresh caprese salad with basil, balsamic, and fresh ground pepper.
L to R: Tuna wrap with chips, homemade chicken parmesan leftovers in a sub roll, tuna melt with tortilla chips and salsa, BLT with an orange and cheddar crackers.
L to R: Chicken noodle soup, tomato soup and grilled chicken caesar salad, chicken and rice soup, and tomato soup with a veggie wrap.
Protein + Grain + Vegetable Combo
Here is just one example of the classic protein + grain + veggie combination = chicken sausage and brown rice with onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. The variations on this theme are endless though. My frequent fliers are: protein = chicken, chicken sausage, pork chops, ground turkey, rotisserie chicken, chicken or turkey tips; grains = brown rice, quinoa, couscous, barley, orzo, soba noodles; vegetables = asparagus, squash, carrots, peppers, onions, shallots, corn, broccoli, cauliflower. The possibilities are endless with this one!
L to R: Freezer burritos (I buy Whole Food’s 365 brand) on a bed of fresh greens topped with greek yogurt, salsa, and peppadews, Spaghetti-O’s (Trader Joes brand) and a veggie burger on an english muffin.
Dinner is my favorite because I don’t have to make sure it’s compact and portable, it can take as long to prepare as my free time allows, and I can really keep it varied and interesting. Here is a collection of my favorite at-home dinners this year!
L to R: Salmon cakes with waffle fries and asparagus, spaghetti squash carbonara, rotisserie chicken with caesar salad and cheesy rice, chicken stir fry with veggies and brown rice, BBQ pulled pork and veggie slaw over a baked potato, turkey burger with sweet potato fries and corn on the cob, buffalo chicken quinoa bites, turkey tips with corn on the cob and garlic bread, baked salmon and dijon quinoa with a caprese salad, BBQ pulled pork sliders with tortilla chips and salsa, veggie burgers and waffle fries, freezer burritos on a bed of fresh greens topped with greek yogurt, salsa, peppadews, and corn salsa.
A favorite category of dinners in our house is tacos and quesadillas (we love our quesadilla maker!). In addition to the standard ingredients (chicken, peppers, and onions), which we made a bunch of, we also tried some new variations on this theme this year. Three of my favorites were pulled pork tacos with corn, pineapple, and avocado, spaghetti squash tacos with avocado and hot sauce, and black bean and butternut squash quesadillas.
And finally, in the dinner category, I have to mention storebought help. When we don’t feel like cooking or need something delicious and ready made, we default to the hot bar at Whole Foods. The offerings change every day and everything they make is delicious. Plus, you can create a tasty smorgasboard and enjoy a little of everything they put out. Here are two examples of Whole Foods hot bar meals we had: turkey meatballs with sauteed veggies and quinoa and rotisserie chicken with potato latkes, caprese salad, and butternut squash.
Snacks are a must for me – whether it’s mid-morning, mid-afternoon, on the road, in my backpack, in the car, on the train, or anywhere in between. Having easy and healthy snacks really helps keep me on track and away from vending machines and pricey trips to the cafeteria/coffee shop. Here are just a few examples of my favorite go-to snacks.
One thing I’ve loved this year for snacks is my Graze box subscription. There is so much variety! Two of my top favorites are the Summer Berry Flapjack with OJ for a mid-morning snack and the Black Pepper Popcorn for a mid-afternoon snack.
Last but not least – my gum bowl. A coworker turned me on to the idea of a gum bowl to keep snacking in check (especially afternoon snacking). Having a whole bunch of flavors of gum really holds my interest and keeps me away from mindless munching. Plus it’s a great conversation piece at work and you can put it in a cute bowl (I got this one for $4 at Target!).
And finally, desserts. I have such a sweet tooth so we always have a little something in the house for dessert. Here are a few of my favorite dessert items from the past year!
I hope this post has been helpful and inspiring. Stay tuned for next year!