Simple tips to "healthify" your favorite meals


Consistency is the key to success and preparation is the key to consistency. How does one succeed at preparation when life is pulling you in so many directions. Work alone eats up many hours of the day. This doesn’t even include getting ready for work, getting kids ready, so on and so forth. Many of my clients start their days at 5am and end them after 6pm. Where oh where is the time for cooking, meal prep and packing food.

This article is not about changing your life but making little tweaks. We all have those meals that are fan favorites. The meals that everyone loves and you can cook in your sleep. This article is about those meals.

If at this point you are saying to yourself… what meals, then I encourage you to check out my website. I am building a resource of easy healthy recipes that take minimal time to prepare. These are meals that are easy, tasty and you can feel good about eating and serving to your family. I am far from comfortable in the kitchen. It is only in the last couple of years that I have even attempted cooking. I often cook with toddlers vying to help or begging me to stop so if I can make these so can you.

If you do have favorite meals that are easy but are a far cry from healthy this article is for you. .

  • Always double or triple the recipe: As unhealthy, ooeey or gooey your recipe is I guarantee it is better than buying to-go, fast food or pizza for lunch. When you double and triple recipes you are guaranteeing that there is enough for at least lunch the next day.

  • Pack it up: When you clean dinner distribute what is left into glassware/tupperware for the next day’s dinner and lunch. Packing for lunch is easier the next day if the meal is already portioned out so all you have to do is grab and go. Bonus points if you pack the rest of your lunch while cleaning up dinner.

  • Add More Protein: If the recipe calls for a pound of chicken add a little more. Why would you want more protein?


        • Keeps you feeling full

        • Helps build and keep the muscle you already have  (more muscle = more calories burned on the daily)

        • Helps boost your metabolism (your body burns 20 - 30 calories for every 100 calories of protein you eat)

        • You would be hard pressed to find protein stored as fat

  • Add in Veggies: Does that recipe call for one bell pepper well add in two! No veggies in the recipe, well add your favorite in. I love adding in sweet peas. This is a great way to get in your veggies especially if you could care less for them. Veggies added into pasta sauce, taco meat, etc rarely change the taste of your dish. You get all the added benefit of veggies without the feeling of having to choke them down.

        • Veggies add nutrients to your dish.

        • They add bulk to your meal. They are nutrient dense meaning that you get to eat more and feel more content at the end of meals.

  • Sneak it in: Folks get so attached to their 80/20 ground beef that they think that anything less would never taste good. Start by using 80/20 for 75% of the recipe and mix in leaner meats such at 90/10 ground beef or even ground turkey for the other 25%. I bet you do not even notice a difference in taste. My favorite meatballs these days are those that are 2/3rds ground turkey and 1/3rd ground sausage!

  • Cut the fat: I am a big fan of fat. I think that fat keeps you full, happy and prevents you from constantly reaching for food. Fat makes food tasty.  Fat is integral to happy hormones that support your thyroid, fertility and many more life essential functions. I am the first one to say that I rather have you eat real butter and throw out the fat free yogurt and ice cream. The thing is fat can be sneaky. It is easy to go over-board especially in meals. You can often pare back the cheese, oils, mayo, butter in meals without changing the taste at all.  Give it a try. If a meal calls for half a cup of cheese only add 1/4ths of a cup. I bet no one is any of the wiser.

  • Add a starch. People are terrified of carbs. They have been told that the evil carb is holding them back from success. NOT TRUE. What holds you back is the type of carbs you choose such as a  bag of potato chips which are engineered to be hyperpalatable and keep you reaching for more. Yes - this will hold you back. A fist full of rice or half a baked potato for dinner? This will keep you full, add bulk and fiber to your meal. This is also an easy side. You can throw rice on the stove top or potatoes in the oven as you prepare the rest of the meal. Cut down on meal prep by making sides that will last multiple nights.

  • Add a fruit: Whole foods = Good Foods. Who doesn’t love a side of grapes, some sliced apples or a clementine. These items take next to no time to prepare, are full of fiber, minerals and vitamins. They also make a pretty and appetizing plate.

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