Whether you're a student, you have kids who are returning to school, or you're just an observant gym-goer, you likely have noticed that once school starts, people get back to the gym… in droves. Working their chest, sculpting their arms and tightening their waist are the focus of millions from coast to coast. Even with our increasingly busy schedules, "back to school" just seems like the right time to get back into a healthy routine. (At least until the Holiday season starts…)
And with the return to the gym, healthy habits in the kitchen are rekindled. But it isn't always easy—how can you eat healthfully with the added responsibilities and obligations that Fall tends to drop on us?
You're in luck because I've been through this process more than a few times, and I've developed some quick tips and recipes that will help you and your entire family stay healthy—not just at the start of school but throughout the school year! Check it out…
5-Minute Dinner Recipes
The one thing that will save you hours of prep time for healthy cooking is the crock pot. Food prep does not have to be something that takes a bunch of hours on Sunday nights. In fact, cooking with crock pot recipes takes just five to ten minutes of prep time, and it works like a personal chef as you're at work or sleeping.
Here are some of our favorite high-protein recipes that the entire family will enjoy!
Protein-Packed Pulled Chicken Tacos
- 4 – 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup water
- Taco seasoning OR1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4, tsp. red pepper flakes (more if you like more heat), 1/4 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp, cumin, 1 tsp. sea salt
- 8 Corn tortillas
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Put the chicken, water, and spices in the slow cooker (crock pot), and set the cooker on low for 8-10 hours or more.
- When it's finished, add taco seasoning or chili powder. Then stir to infuse the flavor. The chicken should fall apart. This is a sign it is done.
- Place chicken into corn tortillas. Top with lettuce, salsa, avocado, and plain Greek yogurt.
Nutrition Facts (serves 4):
- Calories: 515
- Carbs: 34 g
- Fat: 18 g
- Protein: 55 g
Healthy, Hearty Pot Roast
- 1 pound lean beef steak
- 1 cup reduced-sodium beef stock
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 pound small red or white potatoes
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 single pieces of celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 1 package Mrs. Dash® Pot Roast (or your own spices—one quick, simple one is 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
- Toss all of the ingredients into the crock pot. Place on low heat for approximately eight hours. The meat will fall apart when finished.
- Serve and enjoy with a simple side salad.
Nutrition Facts (serves 4):
- Calories: 306
- Carbs: 35 g
- Fat: 9 g
- Protein: 26 g
Eating snacks is not a priority in our lives, but studies show that snacks in a daily routine help reduce overeating at meals and normalize blood sugar levels. Pre-made snacks in the cookie section of the grocery store are not always the best option due to the high sugar content and questionable ingredients. Here are a few snack recipes that are delicious, high in protein, and will keep you energized—without a sugar crash!
No Bake Protein Bites
- 1 cup of whole oats
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup refrigerated peanut butter
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes (reduced or no sugar added)
- 1 scoop Vanilla Swirl 100% BIO-ACTIVE WHEY
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.
- Roll into balls and refrigerate.
Nutrition Facts (serves 4)
- Calories: 330
- Carbs: 20 g
- Fat: 21 g
- Protein: 16 g
Cranberry Tuna Wrap
- 1 can of tuna in water
- 1 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil mayo
- 1 Tbsp. reduced sugar cranberries
- 1 whole-wheat wrap or tortilla
- Lettuce leaf
- Drain tuna and combine with yogurt, mayo, and cranberries.
- Place mixture into wrap with lettuce.
- Roll and eat!
Nutrition Facts (serves 1)
- Calories: 409
- Carbs: 41 g
- Fat: 8 g
- Protein: 46 g
A busy schedule can be a hassle on our waistlines and health. Set aside a few minutes per day to pack your meals snacks. Get the whole family involved and have fun with going back to school, getting back to your routine, and fueling up for your weight workouts!
About the Author
Siera Capesius is a nutritionist, athlete, coach, fitness model, and personal trainer. At a young age, Siera struggled with her underweight issues. It was not until she found a passion for fitness and nutrition when she began understanding the function of the human metabolism. This drove Siera to earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also an owner in the elite training studio MODEVO, located in Lakewood, CO.
As a professional health coach, Siera's day consists of personal training clients, providing nutrition consultations, and coaching competitive athletes. As an iSatori athlete, she knows the importance of supplementation in correlation with health and fitness goals. Her expertise with client transformations through weight loss and strength training can be found on her website, SieraFit.com.