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Nutrition matters: For healthier weekday meals, prep in advance

Posted: April 10th, 2015 | Featured, Food & Drink, Nutrition Matters, Recipes | No Comments

By Katy Kaufman

Food prep is a great way to make some healthy lifestyle changes. Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time on the weekend allows you have fast, nutrient-dense options during the week. Here are some healthy foods that I like to prepare ahead of time so that I can add them wraps, sandwiches or salads:

  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Sliced vegetables and fruit
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Granola bars
  • Almonds — ¼ cup portions into bags
  • Salads with vegetables in Tupperware

Another option is to create an entire meal ahead of time that can be refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to serve.

Chicken Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian dishes, but it can be complicated to make during the week. I frequently prepare this meal ahead of time, freeze in small baking dish and reheat when I’m ready to eat. It tastes just as good!

Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan
Adapted from Skinnytaste
Serves 6


Healthy baked chicken parmesan served with marinara and tomatoes atop zucchini noodles.
(Photo by Katy Kaufman)


6 boneless, skinless, thin-sliced chicken breasts

½ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups marinara sauce (+ 1 cup for serving)

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Season the chicken breasts with salt.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix together the Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Brush the olive oil over the chicken breasts and lightly toss the chicken into the bread crumbs.

Bake the chicken for 20 minutes and then flip and cook for an additional seven minutes until fully cooked.

Spoon one to two tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

The chicken can be served on its own or on top of whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and extra marinara sauce. To add even more nutrients to your meal, you can use a spiralizer to make your own zucchini noodles or long strands of other vegetables.

—Katy Kaufman is a candidate for a master’s degree in nutritional sciences at San Diego State University. She also works as a diet technician at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa and teaches nutrition education courses at the Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego. Visit her website at

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