It is hard to believe that we are already two months into the New Year. If your best efforts toward your “eat healthier” resolution have fallen flat, don't despair: it only takes a little planning and a dash of inspiration to jump-start your healthy eating goals for the year. Planning ahead so that you’re able to cook more and order out less improves your health and keeps that budget in check! Here are a few tips and a delicious recipe to get you started:
Start planning before heading to the grocery store. "Winging it" in the meal department can cause you to be famished in grocery aisles, leaving you more inclined to fill your cart with unhealthy, heavy snacks like potato chips and candy bars. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead.
Set aside 30 minutes of your weekend to lay out your meals for the week. Call your family and ask for the recipes to your favorite dishes or spend some time perusing some of your favorite cooking blogs or magazines for inspiration. Before hitting the grocery store, make a list of the week's essentials. Be sure to take a peek in your pantry to take stock of what you may already have. I am usually surprised by just how many cooking ingredients I’ve acquired from past trips.
Ordering groceries online is another option to help save time. Sites such as Freshdirect can be helpful in planning a week’s menu. There are also a number of farmer’s market distributors that will deliver seasonal, local ingredients. Nothing beats the perk of having your groceries delivered right to your door!
Get creative with leftovers. I’m not saying you need to eat chicken and rice for 3 days straight. Think of delicious ways to reinvent ingredients. Try adding to the rice chopped chicken, chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas and feta to make a delicious lunch salad.
Find a block of time to prepare fresh foods. Whether you’re making a whole dish that you can reheat for later, chopping vegetables for snacks, or marinating meat a day ahead, using a spare 30 minutes here and there will cut down on the work required on busier days, and leave you with satisfying, efficient meals.
SHRIMP TACOS WITH CITRUS CABBAGE SLAW
Adapted from Real Simple
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
The slaw in this recipe actually gets better as it sits in your refrigerator, covered, up to 4 days. So you can make it whenever you’ve got 20 minutes to spare. The shrimp cooks in about 5 minutes. Make extra slaw, and you won’t regret it! Use slaw leftovers, and add black beans, a sliced hard-boiled egg, and (optional) crisp bacon pieces and pack it to go for lunch.
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 large cabbage, shredded
1 cup corn kernels (from 1 to 2 ears, or frozen and thawed)
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp
8 small flour tortillas, warmed
1. In a large bowl, whisk the orange and lime juices, sour cream, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
2. Add the cabbage, corn, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro and toss to combine. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
4. Season the shrimp with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Serve the shrimp with the tortillas and the slaw.
Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD
Suzanne practices as a Clinical Dietitian in Los Angeles, where in her free time she enjoys running, hiking, cooking and exploring Southern California (including frequent attempts at the stuffed animal claw machine). Recipes packed with seasonal flavors, conversation-sparking surprises, and easy prep work are her saving graces year-round. Check out her musings on delicious food and healthy living at