3 Healthy Meals That Will Last You All Week

Let’s face it — having the time and energy to cook your own healthy meals every night is simply not a reality. With a hectic and demanding schedule, we’re sometimes lucky if we have the willpower to microwave some frozen veggies. This often leads to frequent trips to restaurants (or worse, fast food) which we know by now is just as damaging to our wallet as it is our waistline.

But how can you combat this when your energy meter has been used up by the time you get home, especially if you actually managed to squeeze in your workout for the day? Make meals in bulk. In other words, cook one nutritious meal on Sunday evening, but double (or even triple) the recipe. Then use the same meal with simple and easy variations throughout the week. Need some inspiration? Try one of these bulked-up recipes.

1. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes

Sweet potato and black bean chili can be made to eat all week long | iStock.com

This chili from Ambitious Kitchen is so delicious, you won’t even mind that you’re eating the same dish all week. The spicy chili is packed with as much flavor as nutrition — one serving of sweet potatoes alone has 400% of your daily vitamin needs along with tons of fiber and potassium.

How to stretch it for the week:

Monday: Serve cold chili on top of kale salad.

Tuesday: Add a few spoonfuls to your morning omelet.

Wednesday: Cook up a side of chicken breast or fish for some extra mid-week protein.

Thursday: Try it on top of brown rice or quinoa.

Friday: Toss some in whole-wheat tortillas for tacos, along with a sprinkle of cheese and sour cream.

Bonus: Toss some avocado on top, because we all know avocado makes everything magically tastier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 habanero, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Head to Ambitious Kitchen for the full recipe. 

2. High-Protein Basil Pesto

Pesto pasta

Get your protein fix all week long with this pesto | iStock.com

This pesto from Oh She Glows is a fantastic option for an easy yet versatile all-week meal. Unlike regular pesto, which is made with oil and pine nuts, this recipe uses navy beans for an extra protein punch. Removing the oil also makes this much healthier and therefore a guilt-free way to enjoy flavorful dinners all week. You can also add other ingredients like kale or sun-dried tomatoes to make it an especially flavorful and nutritious way to get you to Friday.

How to stretch it for the week:

Monday: Use it as a dip with whole-wheat pita chips.

Tuesday: Toss it with whole-wheat pasta.

Wednesday: Drizzle it on top of baked sweet potato disks.

Thursday: Make a salad with pesto dressing.

Friday: Spread it on your sandwich for a flavor and nutrition boost.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 (15-ounce) can navy/cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoons kosher salt

Head to Oh She Glows for the full recipe. 

3. Simple Roast Chicken

Roasted chicken

Roast chicken goes great with anything | iStock.com

You know how every Thanksgiving you have enough turkey leftovers to last you for days, if not weeks? Well just because it isn’t Turkey Day doesn’t mean you can’t use the same time-saving technique. But instead of a tryptophan-filled turkey, go for a simple roast chicken. Roast an entire chicken Sunday night with this recipe from Eating Well, and then use the leftovers all week long. To keep it healthy, ditch the skin and try to stick to the lighter meat when you can. Try these variations on the basic chicken dinner and you’ll have enough of this tasty bird to keep you full ’til Friday.

How to stretch it for the week:

Monday: Toss together a green salad with chicken, walnuts, tomatoes, and a vinaigrette dressing.

Tuesday: Throw chunks of chicken, noodles, carrots, and celery into a pot of low-sodium chicken broth for a soup that’s ready to go in just a few minutes.

Wednesday: Mix up a lightened-up chicken salad with Greek yogurt, celery, salt, and pepper.

Thursday: Put shredded chicken in whole-wheat tortillas topped with salsa and guacamole for easy tacos.

Friday: Go for a classic leftover — combine slices of chicken, tomato, lettuce, and a bit of low-fat mayo between two slices of whole-grain bread for a healthy sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 (5-pound) chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Head to Eating Well for the full recipe.

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