Weeknight Quick Meals from a Dietician’s Own Recipe Book

Some people spend Sunday afternoons preparing and freezing dinners for the week, but dietician Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD is not one of those people! Zelman knows the foods you need as part of your diet for your wellness but that doesn’t mean she knows what she’s having for dinner until after she’s finished work that day.


According to Zelman ‘My strategy for quick and easy meals starts with the shopping’ to take care of your mental wellbeing, as well as your body’s. She ensures that the fruit and vegetable drawers in the fridge are always full, as well as stocking up on ‘low-fat yoghurt, a variety of cheeses, houmous, eggs and skimmed milk’. When it comes to the freezer, Zelman recommends dividing ‘items such as pork and beef fillet, salmon, and boneless chicken breasts’ into the portions you’ll eat them in so you can ‘easily defrost them a few hours before dinner’. Zelman also freezes a supply of wholemeal rolls, ciabatta rolls and bags of frozen vegetables, and fills the cupboards with unsweetened breakfast cereals, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, tinned tomatoes, mandarin orange segments, nuts, a variety of tinned beans, soup, coffee and assorted teas.


So that’s the food, but what about the equipment? Zelman favours the grill, steamer, microwave and toasted sandwich maker for quick meals because ‘Most fresh vegetables are simply washed and lightly steamed, followed by a squeeze of fresh lemon. The exceptions are asparagus, red peppers and courgettes which are pure perfection when grilled.’ She also notes that ‘The easiest and quickest way to prepare meats and seafood is to grill them’ but you should treat these as side dishes, rather than the central focus of the meal.


Why not try Zelman’s Greek salad wrap and brown rice salad? Throw some fat-free feta cheese, sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, hummus and sliced olives in a whole-wheat tortilla,  drizzle with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil and then roll it up and serve with brown rice mixed with a small tin of drained mandarin oranges, toasted, slivered almonds a pack of baby spinach and ginger salad dressing to taste. You could also try chicken breasts with baked sweet potatoes (which you can make ahead of time and reheat in the microwave), mixed salad greens with goats cheese, pears, and toasted walnuts with light balsamic vinegar and ciabatta rolls with a few teaspoons of olive oil for dipping.

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