It's easy to have a healthy, homemade meal every night with these make-ahead meals


"I don't have enough time" is perhaps the most common excuse that people give for not eating healthier. As much as we know it's important and say we will nix the fast food, when we're heading home late after a long day at work, the drive-through is so much easier than breaking out the pots and pans, chopping up vegetables, and wondering what to substitute for the basil you forgot that you ran out of. But you can enjoy home-cooked meals every night by preparing enough servings of one or more recipes on the weekend so that you can reheat and eat several times during the week. This simple trick is a make-or-break practice for most people's long-term weight-loss success, so here are a few recipes to help you get started.

Overstuffed Peppers


Serves: 4


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium zucchini, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

10 oz 95% lean ground beef

1 24 oz jar pasta sauce

2/3 cup canned low-sodium great northern beans, rinsed

4 cups baby spinach

8 medium bell peppers

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic. Once garlic is tan, add zucchini and onions. Sauté until onions become translucent, then add ground beef and cook, stirring, until beef is browned. Mix in pasta sauce, beans, and baby spinach, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. While sauce is cooking, slice off pepper tops and remove the cores, seeds, and white membrane. Place peppers in a 9x13 baking dish with 1/4 inch water at the bottom of the pan. Fill each pepper with the mixture and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until peppers have softened. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Per serving: 436 calories, 18g fat, 42g carbs, 31g protein, 12g fiber

Root Stew


Serves: 6


2 Tbsp olive oil

2 lbs boneless skinless, chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tsp paprika

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

1 tsp salt (sea salt preferred)

2 tsp black pepper

3 lbs yams, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 fennel bulb, chopped

4 stalks celery

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium carrots, chopped

1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth


Place olive oil, chicken, paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a crockpot. Cover with chopped vegetables and broth. Set the crockpot on low and let cook for 8 to 10 hours. If you are around, you can stir the stew every 2 to 3 hours.

Per serving: 503 calories, 9g fat, 68g carbs, 36g protein, 11g fiber

Pasta-Free Spaghetti Dinner


Serves: 2


1 medium spaghetti squash

8 oz 95% lean ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 cup pasta sauce


Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds and loose strands with a spoon. Place squash cut-side down in on a plate and microwave for 8 minutes. Flip squash halves over, cover with a damp paper towel, and cook for 7 more minutes. While squash is cooking, add ground beef, onions, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once beef is cooked, add tomato sauce and simmer until squash is ready. When the squash has finished cooking completely, carefully remove it from the microwave (warning: it will be hot) and run a fork repeatedly lengthwise down the squash to remove the spaghetti-like strands. Cover squash with meat sauce.

Per serving: 432 calories, 15g fat, 49g carbs, 30g protein, 11g fiber

Sprouted Grain Pasta with Turkey Meatballs


Serves: 4


1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey

4 Tbsp flaxseed meal

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 egg whites

1/4 medium onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 oz sprouted grain pasta (try Ezekiel 4:9 brand)

3 cups pasta sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ground turkey, flax meal, tomato paste, egg whites, onion, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Roll mixture into 12 meatballs and place on baking pan. Cook in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, until the juices are clear or the internal temperature is 160 degrees. While meatballs cook, prepare sprouted grain pasta according to package directions. In a small saucepan, warm pasta sauce over medium heat. When pasta and meatballs are cooked, combine with sauce.

Per serving: 512 calories, 15g fat, 53g carbs, 42g protein