I just finished up teaching a two-part series about Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy at the Institute for Integrative Health. We had a great time and made some tasty recipes. I love showing how eating well can be easier, more fun, and delicious, and these classes are the perfect opportunity for me to do that.
I summed up my top healthy meal planning tips from week #1 in this post and shared links to over a dozen simple recipes, including the mason jar salad and tropical-inspired smoothie we made and sampled during the session.
In class #2, we focused on batch cooking, my favorite gadgets, the ultimate food storage guide, and my top tips for eating healthy on the go. Batch cooking is a technique of preparing larger quantities of simple foods that can be mixed and matched throughout the week. I love what Nutrition Stripped has to say about strategies for how do this in her Batch Cooking 101 blog post.
We kicked off the class with a sample of one of my favorite new packaged foods – Swapples – which is a new spin on a traditional waffle. Swapples are gluten-free, vegan, and paleo and can be used as the base of or topping for just about any meal. We tried the Tomato Pizza version, which I’d recommend dipping into marinara sauce! For the “eating on the go” part of class, we also sampled one of my favorite real food snack bars – an Almond Cranberry Everbar.
We had fun playing with our food and making this easy 10-minute white bean, tomato and zucchini noodle saute. Two brave volunteers came up to help me spiralize the zucchini into noodles and did a great job! Want to get your own spiralizer? Check out this one.
Since one of the main concepts I wanted to introduce was batch cooking, we talked about how to use quinoa two different ways – one savory preparation and one sweet. If you prepare a big pot of plain quinoa (let’s say you cook 4 cups) at the beginning of the week, you can use it for a number of different dishes. If you’ve ever made a mistake cooking a batch of quinoa and ended up with a giant mass or unevenly cooked pieces, read this post that reveals the SECRET to cooking perfect quinoa…every time!
You can use it as the base of grain bowl like this Sweet Potato, Edamame & Quinoa Bowl that was a BIG hit. You could substitute it rice in a stir fry, toss it into a soup or stew or on top of a salad, or use it to make a breakfast bowl. Think of the quinoa as a substitute for oatmeal. Since it’s already cooked, this is a great way to save time in the morning. I’m going to experiment with other versions of this recipe that combine different ingredients, but this is a simple one to start with, so I hope you’ll give it a try!
Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
This tasty and easy breakfast is a great way to use leftover plain quinoa.
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
- 1/2 apple (diced)
- 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
Combine all ingredients except apple and walnuts in a small saucepan on the stove over medium low heat, stirring until heated through and quinoa begins to thicken, about 8-10 minutes.
Pour into bowls and top with chopped apple, walnuts, and, if needed, a light drizzle of maple syrup.
You can also top this dish with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds or hemp seeds.