Staying on a clean and sensible diet can seem like a pretty big challenge – especially when you are trying to prepare healthy meals for one. If you aren’t versed in cooking it seems much easier to rely on take out or prepackaged foods, but this certainly isn’t the way to achieve your fitness goals. Even restaurants and prepared food manufacturers who claim to have healthy alternatives can feature foods that are empty calories, full of preservatives or loaded with sodium or saturated fats that can prevent you from achieving the desired results.
Thankfully, there are plenty of fast and easy recipes that produce protein packed, low fat, healthy meals for one:
Eggs are the ideal food for anyone who wants their meal fast, affordable and versatile. Three eggs can be prepared over easy with a side of lean turkey bacon and a cup of fruit for a meal that is high in muscle building protein, essential vitamins and minerals.
Bonus meal two – Eggs are also great as scrambles or omelets with cheddar or feta cheese, mushrooms and other fresh veggies. Eggs any style cook up quickly and require very little in the way of prep work so you can get in and out of the kitchen fast in the morning without starting your day off with something unhealthy. If you need to move even faster, put that omelet between two slices of toasted whole grain bread and take it with you on the go.
Lunch is a meal that can really trip you up if you fall into a pattern of going out with coworkers as this practice often leads to drive thru eating (almost never a good idea). If you prepare your lunch ahead of time and bring it with you, you can dramatically cut down on your caloric intake and ensure that you are getting essential nutrients from fresh sources.
Grill or bake a boneless chicken breast (no butter, sauces, etc.) and put in the refrigerator to cool. Once cooled down slice the chicken and put on whole grain sliced bread or pita with fresh sliced tomato, avocado and lettuce for satisfying, low fat, high protein lunch.
If you are restricting your carb intake or would prefer to go without gluten, you can take that cooled chicken breast and cube it. Place it over a bead of fresh spinach or mixed greens with carrots, tomatoes avocado and chia seeds for a low fat, high fiber, nutrient dense lunch (just be careful with the dressings or go dressing free).
At dinner time most people have a little bit more time to experiment, which allows for more diverse meals. The basic thought process should remain the same as with breakfast and lunch though – focus on quality proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains in order to build and maintain your ideal physique.
One fast and easy dinner favorite is a delicious burrito. Start out with a whole wheat tortilla, fill with 2-4 ounces of pre-cooked, shredded white meat chicken; ¼ cup of whole grain rice (prepared according to package directions); diced tomatoes, black olives, shredded cheese and a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Serve with a side of refried beans to up your dietary fiber intake and add more protein. The whole meal takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare and will fill you up for the night.
Another fast and tasty option is a play on steak and potatoes. Grill (or pan fry) one 6 oz lean cut of steak (fillet or sirloin)until desired temperature while you are boiling 2-3 cups of cauliflower florets in a saucepan (takes about 6-10 minutes). Drain the cauliflower and combine in blender or food processor with a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese, ½ teaspoon of mashed garlic and 2 ounces of shredded parmesan cheese – whip until creamy. This is a delicious, low carb, high nutrient replacement for mashed potatoes. As an additional side to round out the meal – sautée 1 cup of chopped kale with ½ teaspoon of chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
These 5 tasty healthy meals for one show just how easy healthy eating can be – even the last recipe (which is the most complex of the bunch) can be readily handled by a kitchen amateur and all deliver a solid balance of essential nutrients and muscle building protein to keep you on the right track for optimal health.