Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Dinners—March 19-23
Monday: Mushroom and Asparagus Grain Bowl
Grain bowls are great for fast weeknight meals—just top with precooked or leftover grains with veggies. Serve warm on a cool night, or make it ahead and dish it up cold the next day. For a little extra protein, you can top it with shredded chicken. This recipe delivers about a third of your daily fiber needs—and research shows fiber is filling, helps with weight loss, and lowers colorectal cancer risk.
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Curry Flatbreads
Think of this as curried chicken salad served on a grill-toasted flatbread. The quick-pickled carrots can be made ahead and hold well for several days; make a double batch to add to salads or sandwiches or even to serve on a cheese board. Prepared whole-grain naan is available in most supermarkets in the bakery or deli department. Change it up with snap peas instead of snow and—if you're serving a nut-free crowd—skip the peanuts. No grill pan? Toast the naan in a large toaster oven or heat in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes. Keep it kid-friendly with a mild curry powder, or give it a kick by using spicier Madras curry powder.
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos
This is going to become your new go-to on taco night. Pork shoulder becomes meltingly tender as it slow-cooks in the chile- and garlic-infused citrus sauce. Searing the pork in a skillet for just a minute adds a depth of flavor you don't otherwise get in a slow cooker. Mildly spicy ancho chile (dried poblano peppers) adds authentic chile flavor to the sauce. Look for dried chiles in the produce or bulk spice department in large supermarkets. To serve taco truck–style, tuck the carnitas into warm corn tortillas and keep the toppings simple with diced white onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Pair with slaw on the side.
Thursday: Cauliflower Puree with Barbecue Rotisserie Chicken
Don’t rush processing the cauliflower; it’s key to giving the puree the consistency of grits. You can also use purchased riced cauliflower. If it’s frozen, you can toss it right into the saucepan unthawed.
Friday: Creamy Avocado Soup
This superstar soup packs half your daily fiber, and it's perfect served chilled when the weather gets warmer. If your blender doesn’t get the soup silky-smooth, add up to 1/4 cup more water and blend some more. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the soup as it chills to help prevent browning.
Bonus Breakfast: Orange-Walnut Coffee Cake
A tall cup of joe knows no better match than a wedge of coffee cake. But nutritionally, standard coffee cake does no favors: Packed with up to two sticks of butter, a trio of added sugars, and sour cream, the beloved breakfast classic comes in north of 500 calories with 13g sat fat (more than half the daily recommended limit) and a whopping 40g added sugar in a single slice. To build a better breakfast cake that won’t send you into midmorning nap mode, we start by building a whole-grain base bolstered with warm spices and brightened up with citrus juice and zest. The savory notes of olive oil lend complexity, while the oil’s characteristic fruitiness is accentuated by the citrus zest. The finished product: a bakery-quality coffee cake with a fraction of the sat fat and only 333 calories.