No time to make dinner? Think again!

Another busy week ahead. I know I’d better take a few minutes this morning to plan my meals and my shopping for the next few days or come dinner time I’ll be facing a very hungry and super grumpy family. Sometimes even I need to remind myself of something I often tell clients: it’s worth a few minutes of planning so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. Today I’m taking my own advice.

Healthy eating does not have to be time-consuming and it definitely doesn’t have to be bland. We all know about the week night time crunch. Long day at the office, soccer practice, guitar lesson, try to squeeze a run in….no time to cook! Resorting to prepared foods runs the risk of packing more fat and sodium than you want. Once or twice a week I do try to do some batch cooking so I have choices for the rest of the week. But quite honestly, I had a lazy weekend and don’t have much left over in the fridge for tonight.

Here’s my plan:

First thing I will do when I get home tonight: prep the sweet potatoes. As a runner, I always want some healthy carbs in my meal and this one is my favourite. If I have time, I’ll make sweet potato fries but for tonight, easy baked sweet potatoes. Wash and dry thoroughly, prick the skin in a few places and pop into a 400 degree oven. They’ll be ready in 40 minutes. Yum!

Next up: I have a couple of avocados that are begging to be made into guacamole, a dish that even my picky 12 year old asks for. In 5 minutes I can whip up a yummy and healthy appetizer that everybody loves. I usually serve it up with either spelt Lavash crackers or Mary’s organic rice crackers. Another 5 minutes well spent: quickly slice some carrots, a yellow pepper and a cucumber and voila, veggies and guac. Perfect to settle the hunger pangs until dinner is ready.

Now onto the main course. I admit my kids won’t eat fish as often as I will but once a week or so they’ll humour me.  This fabulous recipe for Lemon-Herbed Rainbow Trout couldn’t be easier; it’s incredibly quick and the kids will eat it! :) Rainbow trout is a great source of lean protein, low in saturated fat yet rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. (You can use any fish fillet for this recipe: I’ve used it on cod and sole and it’s equally delicious). Be sure to make a little extra so you’ve got lunch covered for tomorrow!

Now, you’ve still got about 15 minutes while that fish bakes. Everyone knows how I feel about getting your greens in :)  Even if you had a big salad for lunch or a green smoothie this morning, no such thing as too many greens. Let’s have some rapini with this dinner. Sometimes called broccoli rabe, this leafy green is rich in Vitamins C and K as well as folate, beta-carotene, iron and calcium. Part of the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, it provides cancer-protective qualities and supports healthy liver function. It’s a staple I grew up with in an Italian family and if you haven’t tried it you should! It rivals spinach as my favourite leafy green.

Once that’s done, my fish and sweet potatoes should only be a few more minutes. Set the table, nibble on that yummy guacamole and within 45 minutes of getting home we are enjoying a fabulous family dinner. Buon appetito!


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