Quick Easy and HEALTHY Meal Ideas From a Registered Dietitian April 27, 2017 | Hi Friends! Happy Friday! Today while I’m snuggling with little Lawson, I’m scrapping the Friday Edit and instead I’m introducing you to a sweet friend of mine whom I think you’ll love. I met Lauren years ago first in the Junior League of Dallas and then we ended up working together at Jc Penney. She’s always been the cutest darn thing and when I ran across her Instagram account months back, I was so excited to get back in touch. A registered dietician by trade, she uses her blog and Instagram to share (and rap about) healthy meals that are EASY and RELATABLE. I asked her to come share some of her knowledge and wit with you guys through a series of guest posts that I know you’ll love! First, you’ll want to follow her on INSTAGRAM…trust me on this one 😉 Hey guys! My name is Lauren Ott and I am a registered dietitian in Houston, TX. Mallory and I used to work together at the JC Penney headquarters! I was the corporate dietitian there while she was a buyer. Now we are both bloggers (she is obviously fashion while I am wellness). 3 different states, 2 babies, and about 4 years later- here I am guest blogging for her. Life is funny. Mallory asked me to blog about easy meals for new moms, which is obviously perfect given that she just had a beautiful new babe! This is an easy topic for me since new moms aren’t the only people who need quick, easy, healthy meal ideas. People who work full time, people who work part time, people who exercise, people who have pets… really just all PEOPLE need quick, easy, health meal ideas! I’ve divided this post into two sections. One section is meals that can be cooked ahead of time (think: pre-baby) and frozen. That way all you have to do is take the Tupperware out and defrost before eating. The other section is meals that you cook on the spot, but that require almost no prep time. And of course, in typical Lauren fashion, all of these meals have my dietitian seal of approval. As a quick side-note, I wanted you all to know what a meal requires to get my “dietitian seal of approval.” So here we go: 1. The meal should contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats. These are your most satiety provoking nutrients. Without them, you’ll be hungry again in no time. Not to mention these help with gut health, lean muscle preservation, hormone regulation, and vitamin absorption. 2. It should follow the rule of volumetrics. This essentially means that you’re getting the most bang for your buck (i.e. the most food for your calories). For example, I would recommend eating grapes over eating raisons. For 60 calories, you can have 1 cup of grapes versus 2 Tablespoons of raisons. You’re going to feel much more satisfied after the grapes since the volume is so much higher. Get it? 3. Your meal should follow the plate method, at least loosely. This means that about half of the plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables (i.e. mushrooms, broccoli, spinach), about a fourth is filled with lean protein (i.e. chicken breast, tofu, egg), and the other fourth is filled with complex carbs (i.e. sweet potato, quinoa, wild rice). 4. If weight loss/weight control is a concern, making sure that calories are considered. For the average woman, calories in a meal should be around 400-500 (of course depending on snack size, breastfeeding, activity level, etc). Prep Ahead and Freeze Meals: *You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of freezer safe Tupperware before cooking these. I recommend single serving Tupperware to make life (and portion control) even easier post baby. **Let meals cool before putting them in the freezer. Frozen meals are good for up to a year once frozen. Pulled Pork Loin I love pulled pork in ANY form: BBQ, Korean, Vietnamese… This biggest issue is the fat and calorie content. You better believe restaurants aren’t using lean pork to make their sandys. That’s why I love making my own and using pork loin (which is a lean cut of pork) instead of fattier cuts like pork shoulder. The recipe linked is for Banh Mi Bowls, but you could season this pork with just about anything (low sugar BBQ, low sodium soy), throw it in the crock pot, shred, and freeze. Pulled Pork Banh Bi Bowl Healthy Enchilada Soup I love freezing soups because they become so versatile once they are defrosted. You can throw avocado on top (like I did to this soup) to add in your healthy fat once soup is defrosted. I used Greek yogurt in place of sour cream to give it that creamy texture. You could easily throw some brown rice in to make it a bit hardier. Soups definitely fall under the “volumetrics” category because of their high fluid content, which allows you to eat larger volumes for fewer calories! Healthy Enchilada Soup Healthy Creamy Tomato Basil Soup Again with a soup. Another great idea for new moms is to put your soup in a coffee mug and drink it if you don’t have the time to sit down at a table with a spoon (which, let’s get real- you won’t). Pair it with a healthy grilled cheese or toss in some farro for a bit hardier soup. Healthy Creamy Tomato Basil Soup Chicken Chili Chili is, in my opinion, one of the easiest meals out there to cook ahead and freeze. I love this recipe in particular because it’s not only high in lean protein, but it’s chocked full of nutrient dense veggies as well. It uses rotisserie chicken which helps keep cleanup to a minimum (and we like that). Chicken Chili Pumpkin Protein Muffins Ok so this one isn’t exactly a meal, but new moms don’t always have time to sit down for three square meals. These muffins are easy to cook ahead and freeze in zip lock baggies. They taste great heated with a bit of almond butter on top. Easy to pop in your mouth when you’ve got your hands full (literally). Pumpkin Protein Muffins Easy Prep Meals: Protein Bowls This meal is a favorite of mine for both lunch and dinner. Just take pre-chopped veggies (or you could use frozen veggies and just steam them in the microwave), roast them in the oven with a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil for about 20 minutes, then top with a frozen burger patty. I love the frozen Jennie-O turkey burgers. Frozen veggie burgers work great for this meal too and can be booked in the microwave for easy cleanup! For veggie burgers, just look for brands with at least 8gm of protein per patty. Healthy Tuna and Egg Salad These recipes are all high in protein and healthy fats to keep you feeling full for hours. Not to mention they are both super quick and easy. For the egg salad recipes, I recommend using pre-hard boiled eggs which you can typically find in the same section where normal eggs are sold. Use a whole grain wrap, whole wheat bread, avocado, or even just lettuce leaves to make it into a meal. Hummus Egg Salad Skinny Egg Salad Easy Jalapeno Tuna Microwave Sweet Potato This is a favorite of mine. Just poke holes in your tater a few times with a fork, throw it in the microwave for 10 min or so, toss your toppings of choice on top, and DONE. Linked are a few ideas for toppings. Microwave Sweet Potato with Chicken Thai Peanut Stuffed Sweet Potato Frozen Dinner with added Protein/Veggie Yep, you read that right. Even dietitians eat frozen dinners. The issue is that most of them don’t have nearly enough protein or veggies to eat alone. I love grabbing my favorite frozen meal (my favorite brands are Evol, Luvo, Amys, and Lean Cuisine), adding in some additional frozen or low-sodium canned veggies, and topping with a frozen veggie burger patty or egg. This takes no time and is a healthy, quick, filling meal! Cauliflower Stir Fry For this recipe I use frozen cauliflower rice (Trader Joes has a good one), frozen stir fry veggies, and pre-cooked chicken breast. Just throw it all into a skillet to heat, top with sauce of choice (just plain ol’ low sodium soy sauce and sriracha is always good) and enjoy! I’ve also topped mine with a bit of peanut sauce (like Trader Joe’s Satay Peanut Sauce) and crushed peanuts, just to be fancy, but this is definitely not a requirement. New moms are all about survival, not keeping food pretty lol. I am so excited to hear what you guys think of my quick, easy, healthy meal ideas! If there was ever a time to take control of your health and eating, it’s when you have a new babe. They require a LOT of energy from you, and healthy eating is the best way to get that energy. Happy healthy (easy) eating! Love, Lauren, RD and Dessert Dietitian …okay wasn’t that THE BEST post?!?! I have so many new meal ideas and yet don’t feel overwhelmed by any of Lauren’s suggestions as they are all easy to prepare and relatable…right?! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise, Lauren…can’t wait to have you back! Follow Lauren’s Blog HERE. Follow Lauren on Instagram HERE.