Posted on: September 18, 2019 at 8:44 pm

You should never have to sacrifice nutrition due to a lack of time. But let’s face it, if your week is busy with work, school, taking care of your kids, or all of the above – it’s likely that you’ve caught yourself thinking about shortcuts, for how quickly you can get dinner on the table.

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After an early morning and a long day, most of us do not want to spend the rest of our night cooking and then cleaning up the kitchen. We need that time to scroll through Instagram! (Only kidding).

New age jokes aside if you’re schedule is on the busy side, you’re not alone – but you should know that you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle, and enjoy from-scratch meals. It just takes a little organization, which can be accomplished in less than an hour, once a week.

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Recipes like this Garlic Parm Zucchini Bake can be made on repeat, and it’s such a tasty way to up your veggie intake. This recipe also fits into a wide variety of eating styles: paleo, grain-free, vegetarian – and there’s even a vegan option too!

With only 9 ingredients, including seasonings and oil (that you likely already have at home), you can whip this veggie bake up in less than 30-minutes, for a simple and crowd-pleasing one-dish meal.

You’ll love this recipe but be sure to keep reading, there are more meal-planning tips to follow!

Garlic Parm Zucchini Bake

Makes about 4 servings

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What you need:

  • 4 medium zucchini, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1.5 cups mixed cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 3-5 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoon olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded* 
  • 1.5 teaspoon dry Italian seasonings
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large glass bowl, stir to combine the chopped zucchini, cherry tomatoes, oil, garlic, parmesan and seasonings
  3. Mix well to combine
  4. Transfer to a baking dish, or a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes
  5. Garnish with finely chopped parsley
  6. Enjoy!

NOTES:

-If you’re looking for a vegan/non-dairy option, substitute parmesan for nutritional yeast

Building a Weekly Dinner Plan

As a Holistic Nutritionist, who like you – also has a busy schedule, filled with plenty of early mornings and productive evenings. Here are 3 Helpful Meal-Planning Habits to Follow:

Make a Weekly Dinner Plan

Find a way that works for you, but I like to keep a small magnetic whiteboard on my fridge, where I can jot down my dinner plans for the week. This what my current weekly meal plan looks like: 

Monday: Meatless Monday – Cauliflower Taco Bowl* (keep reading to find out more)

Tuesday: Atlantic Salmon and Garlic Parm Zucchini Bake

Wednesday: Kitchen Sink Spelt Pasta + Powered Pesto

Thursday: Arugula Pesto Salad

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Farmers Market Meal – Wild Card

Sunday: Butternut Squash Chili

Keep Note of Crowd-Pleasers

With several years of experience meal planning for my clients, my recipe database has surpassed well-over 500-recipes. However this is not what I use to plan my own meals, because I do not follow recipes on an average evening, I save those for my days off!

On my phone I utilize Google Keep, a note taking app. When I find or create a meal that is easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients and dishes, I jot it down in my notes. Then when I’m making my weekly dinner plan, I reference this – which makes the process much easier than flipping through countless recipes. 

My Meatless Monday Cauliflower Taco Bowl is not some intricate recipe that requires me to cook different components using different pots and pans and blender to make a dairy-free cashew dressing, while I absolutely love the sound of this – time intensive recipes are just not practical for me on a weeknight. Here’s how I make my Simple Cauliflower Taco Bowl:

  • Roughly chopped cauliflower, coated with avocado oil and taco seasonings. Roasted at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until golden and tender
  • A stovetop stir-fry including onions, bell pepper, pinto beans, baby spinach and anything else I have that seems fit 
  • I put these together in a bowl and top it with avocado, salsa and microgreens

Running Ingredient Lists

This tool allows me to quickly write down what I’m going to need for the week. I utilize the checklist template in Google Notes, which is very satisfying (you’ll understand why, if you use it). 

I tend to shop for fresh ingredients multiple times a week, on my walk home. It excites me to walk through the doors of Local Source Market after a day of work. 

I’m sure you can imagine, I have a tendency for being a bit of an inspired shopper, I often leave the market with more than what was on my list. So the walking home part is key because then I can only purchase what I can carry, and it also gives me time to think about my upcoming dinner creation.

Here are a few things that are always on my fresh list:

  • Cucumber
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Feta
  • Sweet Potato
  • Broccoli
  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Onions
  • Leafy Greens
  • Sprouted Bread
  • Zucchini
  • Salmon

Even though I enjoy a Fish + Veggie Bake every week, sometimes twice a week, it’s always different, depending on what’s in season, simple substitutions make this into a whole new meal.

When it comes to my dried goods I make a monthly trip to The Tare Shop to fill up my mason jars. I keep this ingredient list separate from my fresh list. 

Here’s a few things that are always on my mason jar list:

  • Pasta
  • Rice or Quinoa
  • Flour
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Rolled Oats
  • Dried Legumes
  • Dish Soap
  • Maple Syrup

This is my go-to strategy to stay on track, I may be a Holistic Nutritionist, but I can assure you that you too can create a healthy and simple weekly meal plan that does not require all your time and kitchen equipment for you to thrive & be vibrant.

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Nicole Eckert
Holistic Nutritionist
Nicole Eckert is a Holistic Nutritionist and the Owner + Founder of Holisticole. On her holistic living blog: holisticole.com - you can find amazing clean-eating recipes, informative blog posts and online programs.

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