Ever wonder what nutritionists eat when they’re craving an easy, healthy, yet super filling meal? We do. That’s why we asked our favorite food experts to reveal the meals they whip up when they’re pressed for time or stressed to the max, yet craving something hearty and energizing. Here, five nutritionists dish up the breakfast, lunch, and dinner fallbacks they always look forward to. Eat up!
Go-to grain bowl
“My favorite meal is a power bowl. I just follow this formula: a simple, cooked whole grain (such as brown rice, quinoa, or farro), veggies (greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower), plant protein (chickpeas, pistachios, tofu), and a flavorful sauce (vinaigrette, Thai sauce, tahini dressing).
This is the foundation of a great meal that provides for my nutrient needs, gives me protein for muscle maintenance, fiber to keep me satiated and boost my gut microbiota, and offers lots of phytochemicals for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Plus, it’s just so easy.”
—Sharon Palmer, RD, nutritionist and author of Plant-Powered For Life
RELATED: 14 Protein-Packed Grain Bowl Recipes
“One go-to that I feel great eating and great after eating is a ginger and sesame salmon recipe that’s easy to make—but looks and tastes gourmet. I first glaze heart-healthy salmon in an easy marinade. In a glass or measuring cup, I combine low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos, honey, ginger (fresh or ground), garlic (minced fresh or dried), toasted sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Next, I bake the salmon fillets at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the fish flakes. I’ll pair it with a simple salad or vegetable, and a piece of bread or another grain. Consider it the new ‘fallback’ fave you can feel good about eating any time.”
—Wendy Bazilian, DrPh, nutritionist and author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean
Crazy for quiche
“I love an asparagus-kale quiche. A lot of people think quiche is a rich dish, but it’s protein-packed and a great way to get your veggies, especially in the winter. I love the combo of folate-rich asparagus and kale that’s loaded with vitamin K. To make it, just whisk 5 whole eggs together, plus a cup of milk, a half cup shredded cheese of choice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, a cup of cooked asparagus (cut into one-inch pieces), and a cup of baby kale. Pour it into a premade whole wheat crust and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes until golden on top. This makes six servings and is great for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner!”
—Frances Largeman Roth, RDN, nutritionist and author of Eating in Color
Breakfast of champs
“Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, since we wake up with our blood sugar at its lowest point. I advise breaking your fast with what I call the two Ps (protein and produce) in order to boost metabolism, regulate blood sugar, and feel satiated. I love layering half an avocado and smoked salmon on high fiber crackers (like Wasa crackers) or a piece of sourdough or sprouted toast. It contains the perfect combo of healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs, not to mention a satisfying crunch factor. Another favorite: sweet potato ‘toasts’ topped with sunflower seed butter and sliced fruit!”
—Stephanie Middleberg, RD, nutritionist and founder of Middleberg Nutrition
“For my favorite salad, I first whisk together a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a teaspoon each of stone ground mustard, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and Italian seasoning, and fold in a half cup of cooked lentils to coat thoroughly. I serve this over a few cups of fresh greens, like chopped kale, spinach, or romaine, and top it with a small sliced Fuji apple and half an avocado.
In addition to containing about two servings of veggies and a serving of fruit, this meal is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory substances. The balance of fiber-rich, slow-burning carbs, plant-based protein, and good fat also makes it satiating, so it leaves me feeling energized. As an added bonus, superfoods like lentils, avocado, apples, and leafy greens have all been tied to protecting against type 2 diabetes and heart disease while promoting weight management.”
—Cynthia Sass, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor