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    Hey! I'm Beth - a 27 year old foodie living and working in the Washington, DC area who has lost almost 90 pounds through Weight Watchers. I love good food, wine and getting creative in the kitchen, and then balancing that out with running, The Shred, and yoga. Please feel free to browse around and hopefully you'll find some ideas, recipes and motivation!

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Whole Foods Weight Watcher: Quick Meal Ideas

So it seems like the general consensus in the comments section of yesterday’s post was to keep the grocery store/menu planning posts going. Glad to know you all enjoy the ideas and planning tips because I really like writing them, too! Bargain shopping and menu planning are two things I have a knack for, so I’m happy to share I just wanted to make sure you all didn’t feel like it was overkill.

And honestly, it helps me stay on point and put a little more thought into planning than I would otherwise so its win-win! The only problem will be that starting in April/May when farmer’s markets open, I’m going to start to do a lot of my produce shopping there so I won’t be doing all my shopping on the weekends, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Quick Meal Ideas

This week I’ve had an especially busy week, but have still managed to prepare all my meals at home! Monday night I was at work late, so didn’t get home until 7:30, and last night and tonight I have Weight Watchers meetings, so won’t get home until 8:30/9. I much prefer getting home at 5:30/6 and having the night free to putz around the kitchen and relax, but I don’t always get that luxury.

Weeks like this make cooking at home a real challenge, but with a little planning and enough ingredients on hand for a quick meal, its quite doable. I make sure to always have enough staples on hand with a long enough shelf life that I can make a balanced meal just by digging through my pantry, freezer, and into the depths of the fridge. Sometimes this is planned like when I know I have something going on and will get home late, but sometimes things come up and I walk in the door later than planned and hungry!

Some things you can always find in my kitchen for quick meals:

  • Eggs
  • Canned Tuna (in water)
  • Canned Beans (Chickpeas, kidney beans, pintos)
  • Cheese (Shredded, goat, sliced, babybels)
  • Soba Noodles
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Salsa
  • Greek Yogurt
  • English Muffins/Bread of Choice

Having a few quick to throw together, but still healthy meal ideas can be a life saver in a lot of situations. Or, if you just don’t love to be in the kitchen but still want to cook for yourself, all of these ideas are on the table in less than 15 minutes, some a lot less.

  • Linguini with Clam Sauce – Cook 1 serving of linguini or spaghetti (preferably whole wheat). While that is cooking, add 1 tsp olive oil, 1 clove crushed garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and some fresh parsley if you have it on hand. Next add in a whole can of clams with their juice, and let simmer until the pasta is done. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the white clam sauce, and toss to combine. Garnish with fresh parmesan. (8 pts+)
  • Tempeh Tacos – Grate a block of tempeh on a cheese grater, and combine with a sautéed onion and a packet of taco seasoning (I love Trader Joe’s brand!). Let cook for about 10 minutes and serve over a salad or with tortillas and all the fixings. (11 pts+ for entire filling recipe)

  • Buffalo Tofu – This one does need a little planning because you want to press the tofu ahead of time. I have a TofuXpress (which I hiiiiiiiighly recommend if you eat tofu) so I just placed the tofu in there in the morning, and then when I got home I was eating within 10 minutes. If you don’t have a tofu press, you can wrap the block in paper towels and place on a plate with another heavy plate or pan on top. Once the tofu is pressed, heat a pan over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. Cut tofu into desired size and cook for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently until it’s browned on all sides. Place the cooked tofu in a tupperware container and add in a generous amount of Frank’s Red Hot, cover the container and shake. Top with crumbled blue cheese and serve with celery and/or over a salad. (1/4 block of regular organic firm tofu with 1 oz. crumbled blue cheese = 6 pts+)
  • Microwaved Sweet Potato with Black Beans – Wash and poke holes with a fork into a sweet potato, cover with a wet paper towel and microwave on high 6-8 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, open a can of black beans (or chickpeas, kidney beans, refried beans, baked beans, etc), rinse them, and add 1/2 a cup to the potato once it’s done. Top with salsa, goat cheese, greek yogurt, or any combination of toppings. Serve with a salad or steamed veggies (from the freezer!). (6 pts+ for a large sweet potato with 1/2 cup beans plus pts+ in toppings)
  • Egg scramble – Eggs are great any time of day. Beat 1 egg with 2-3 egg whites and set aside. Take frozen veggies and heat through in a pan with nonstick spray. Once veggies are defrosted, pour in egg mixture and cook until eggs set. Add in fresh herbs, crumble goat cheese or feta on top, or serve with salsa. Toast on the side, and you have a rounded meal. (7 pts+ for 1 egg, 3 egg whites, veggies, 1 oz soft goat cheese, 1 slice ezekial toast)
  • Tuna Pasta Salad – This one is great made ahead of time (and also what I had for dinner last night!). Cook 1 serving of whole wheat pasta and rinse with cool water. Mix it with a drained can of tuna, light mayo or greek yogurt, and chopped celery, carrots, and/or onions. (9 pts+ for 1 serving pasta, 1 can water packed tuna, 1 tbsp light mayo, celery and red onion)

  • Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce – Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are DELICIOUS, plus ook in just 6-8 minutes. While the sobas are cooking, defrost asian veggie mix in the microwave. While the veggies and noodles are cooking, make my peanut sauce and toss everything together. The peanut sauce and noodles pack enough protein to make this a complete meal. (7 pts+)
  • Black Bean Quesadillas – Heat a pan with nonstick spray and add in a corn tortilla, flipping so both sides are heated. Add in 1 serving of shredded cheese, 1/4 cup of black beans, 1/4 cup of frozen corn, and 2 scallions, chopped, and cover with other tortilla. Flip once tortilla begins to brown and continue to cook until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy. Serve with salsa, greek yogurt (extra protein!) and a salad for an extra veggie kick. (7 pts+ if served with 1/3 cup greek yogurt)
  • Spiced Lentil Mushroom Tacos – If you use canned lentils like I did for this recipe, it will take 10 minutes from start to finish. You basically cook mushroom, onion, and garlic, then add in the lentils with taco seasoning and cook until the flavors combine. It’s almost scary how meat like this taco filling is! (8 pts+ for entire filling recipe)

lentil tacos

  • Mexican Mashed Beans – Take 1/2 cup of pinto beans and combine with 1/4 cup of salsa and 1 tsp of cumin. Mash and place on a toasted english muffin. Top with 1 serving of cheddar or mexican cheese and microwave or broil for 5 minutes until cheese is melted/crispy. (7 pts+ with english muffin, 1/2 cup beans, and RF cheese)
  • Eggy Pasta – One of my favorites. Cook a serving of pasta, and while that is going heat oil and garlic in a pan with any herbs you’d like. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the oil and garlic, and crack an egg directly into the pasta. Stir quickly to cook the egg through and it will coat the pasta with an almost alfredo-esque sauce. (9 pts+ with 2 oz pasta, 1 tsp oil, 1 egg, and 1 tbsp Parmesan)

Hopefully that gives you a few quick ideas that are a little outside the box!

What is your go-to meal to make when you’re running low on time?

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29 Responses

  1. Well you know how I enjoy my egg scrambles (ha ha), but lately I’ve been hitting tuna in a can pretty hard. I’ve been trying to up the protein in various ways…

  2. To be honest…I don’t know if I have any quick go-to meals, but I’m adding tempeh tacos & buffalo tofu to my list! I can’t wait to try them out!

  3. The lentil and mushroom tacos are amazing. I also love replacing the “meat” part of tacos with veggies (like zucchini with added spices…).

    My favorite “I have no time” dinner is frozen veggies and protein, reheated and covered in salsa from a jar. Easy, easy.

  4. My BF is traveling for work all week adn I already have your linguine with clams on my menu plan while I’m cooking for one. I’m going to add the eggy pasta, too!

    The only quick, go-to meals I have come from the drive through… 😦 But I am trying to change that!

  5. When I’m low on time, we always have eggs — on toast or omelets, scrambles, etc. We always have them in the house and just take a few minutes. To be honest we have eggs for dinner even when we have a ton of time — we just like them that much!

    I’ve never heard of that egg in pasta though — sounds interesting!

  6. Working late is killer when you still have to come home and make dinner. Crock pots are great for that, but sometimes, you just don’t have that time to prepare. Our go to fast meals are usually wraps or eggs or baked potatoes with broccoli or sometimes chili!

  7. love all these ideas!!!! great even if you’re not on weight watchers 🙂

  8. Well after that post I should NEVER find myself without a meal (like I am today). My problem is I DON’T keep my kitchen stocked or I have a lot of items but not really items I can combine for a meal.

    I like that you do the meal plan and its made me want to do that. Tomorrow night I will sit and write/type a meal plan for the next week and buy accordingly. I should not be sitting here at work with an apple, a cottage cheese/fruit container and a piece of cornbread that has to last me until 5:30. lolol don’t laugh. I know better right? lol

    • 🙂

      My only suggestions would be, don’t let meal planning bog you down. When I first started, I would plan out 2-3 meals a week, and just plan to make enough extras for lunch the next day. I wouldn’t map out what days each thing would be, I’d just play it by ear when I got home (which I still do, to a degree). Maybe each time you go to the store for the next few weeks, pick up a few staples you can keep around the house (especially if they’re on sale!). I noticed canned tuna was 59 cents at CVS this week!

  9. I love the sweet potato + black bean combo. This weekend I hardboiled a dozen eggs, which has been awesome to have on hand to put together quick meals…except peeling them all was a b*tch. I also keep frozen veggie burgers on hand to have in a pinch.

  10. I shred a whole cabbage when I return from shopping and, at the beginning of each week, I cook a package of lean ground turkey with Mexican seasonings/onion. I use these ingredients throughout the week as my quick “go to” foods. The cabbage adds crisp to salads, becomes a quick “slaw” and is used for morning egg tostadas. The Ground Turkey becomes taco filling and also tops salads.

    Breakfast Tostada: Heat a corn tortilla in a non-stick pan on med/high heat (no oil), crack egg on top of tortilla, add seasoning, add a little water to pan and put a lid on it to cook the egg from the top. Add shredded cabbage with light sour cream, chunky salsa (Pico de gallo) and hot sauce. It’s great to get veggies in the morning as they fill me up. (4-5 pts)

  11. I usually rely on a Boca burger or egg. It’s the easy for cheesy! 🙂 I love seeing what you eat – it’s so balanced and totally divine on the flavor spectrum! I love using lentils and tempeh for tacos instead of ground beef now!

  12. I’m definitely going to try the taco tempeh. I finally bought tempeh and tried it as is…not bad, but I had no clue how to make a meal out of it. Thanks for the awesome idea:)

  13. Hi Beth,

    I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and have yet to comment. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy it and what fabulous progress you’ve made in healthy living. I was a yo-yoer on WW and have just started running myself.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Hailey

  14. I loooove this post! I am going to try your Tempeh tacos this week!

  15. Haha, all those recipes sound delicious! That egg pasta, in particular, sounds familiar! I’m still meaning to try that out. Perhaps tomorrow after my weigh in…

  16. Yes! I love easy-to-make recipe posts! I totally want to try to your peanut sauce now, too! But, I just heard the worst news! (Well not the worst haha, but disappointing none the less!) I just discovered Trader Joe’s Peanut Flour this week…and fell in love. And now in some cruel twist of fate (ok a little dramatic again) I heard it has already been discontinued and the only supply left is what is on the shelves in the stores??? Have you heard this? So bummed!
    Thanks for the recipe ideas! They look awesome!

    • Yes unfortunately I have heard this! I stocked up so I still have three full packages of it left, but I’ll have to figure out a solution for after then!

  17. mmmm the egg pasta sounds wonderful!

    Being a single mama with a very demanding 2 year old, our go to meal is a whole wheat tortilla with some scrambled egg whites (I just keep egg beaters egg whites on hand) and cheese. Fast, easy and ready in about 2 minutes, perfect for when she’s having a fit and mama is hungry! I usually throw in some spinach and mushrooms too!

  18. We’re having BBQ tofu tonight. In love with my Tofu Xpress as well!

  19. Love this list! May have to print it out and keep in the kitchen 🙂

  20. Stir fry is almost always my go to quick meal because I can just throw together whatever is in my fridge that needs to be eaten and it takes less than 20 minutes!

  21. I love egg white omelettes with goat cheese, spinach, and tomatoes. Plus I love to cook larger portions of meals I can keep in my freezer. I made a lovely quiche that I ate one serving for my dinner and froze the other 7 servings for me to grab for a quick meal.

    Plus nitrate free turkey breast+whole wheat bread+mustard+spinach=delish sandwhich!

  22. Anythings with eggs in my go to, but recently bagels or cereal are about the only thing my body wants. Can’t wait to get back to normal eating after the first twelve weeks are done. 🙂

  23. […] Whole Foods Weight Watcher: Quick Meal Ideas […]

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