Creating Highly Nutritious Meals – Journey With Healthy Me


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March is National Nutrition Month, a yearly campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The month presents the perfect opportunity for learning to make better food choices and for developing healthy eating habits. The theme this year is Personalize Your Plate.

In recognition of National Nutrition Month, I created a four week series. Week One, I posted Eat a Variety of Nutritious Foods. It shares the benefits of eating highly nutritious food. Find the list of foods that I selected on that post.

Week Two, Shopping for Nutritious Food, serves as the bridge between knowing what to eat and preparing delicious, highly nutritious meals. I shopped at Aldi Grocery Store for nutritious food, using the previous week’s list as my guide.

This week, you get a peek at the results, with Creating Highly Nutritious Meals. And finally, next week, I’ll share tips for keeping the nutrition habit going.

Putting the Pieces Together

Shortly before becoming plant based, I shared with others a desire to cook more at home. Cooking is a way to express creativity and I felt drawn to that.

Little did I know that embracing a plant based lifestyle would open that door to fulfilling my desire.

It’s fun for me, creating highly nutritious meals. And crafting this series, I especially enjoyed this week’s meals based on the list of highly nutritious foods. It was like having all these pieces laid out before me and then putting them together to create beautiful, colorful works of art.

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals chopped salad
Creating highly nutritious meals – chopped salad containing a dozen veggies 

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals

Using the foods from the Week One list, that I purchased at the Joplin Aldi Grocery Store during Week Two, I created seven days of meals. Here they are.

Day One

Breakfast – gluten free oats with berries and chia seeds. I discovered it’s easy to make oatmeal in the microwave. Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats, regular or gluten free, to a large mug or bowl. Pour 1 cup of water over the oats. Microwave for about 2 minutes. That’s it! I typically add a dash of sea salt and then top the oats with berries and chia seeds or bananas and walnuts.

Lunch – chopped salad. Check out how easy it is to create these amazing bowls of chopped veggies HERE.

Snack – 1/2 a sliced apple

Dinner – steamed Brussels sprouts, asparagus and cauliflower with a baked potato

Snack – Cara Cara orange

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals breakfast oats
Creating highly nutritious meals – breakfast oats with fresh berries and chia seeds
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals snack oranges
Creating highly nutritious meals – snack – Cara Cara orange
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals steamed veggies
Dinner – baked potato and steamed veggies

Day Two

Breakfast – fruit smoothie. I combine fresh bananas with frozen fruit and enough chilled filtered water to create a smooth blend.

Lunch – chopped salad with organic vegan tomato soup (from Pacifica)

Snack – handful of walnuts and cashews

Dinner – avocado and kale pasta (recipe below, adapted from Forks Over Knives)

Snack – apple slices

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals snack apple slices
Creating highly nutritious meals – snack apple slices
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals avocado and kale pasta
Avocado and kale pasta
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals avocado and kale pasta

Avocado and Kale Pasta

This creamy pasta dish comes together in minutes

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 30 mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine American

  • 1 16 oz package of gluten free pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup baby kale
  • 1 avocado, halved
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving one cup of pasta cooking water. Return pasta to pot.

  • In a large skillet, saute asparagus and tomatoes in olive oil.

  • In blender, combine remaining ingredients, through crushed red pepper. Cover and blend until creamy, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of reserved pasta cooking water to make a smooth sauce.

  • Add sauce and sauted asparagus and tomatoes to pasta. Gently toss to combine. Season with sea salt and fresh or dried dill, if desired. Makes four servings.

Keyword Asparagus, Avocado, Gluten Free Pasta, Kale

Day Three

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

Lunch – vegan tostadas (we ended up enjoying an afternoon out and had a fabulous lunch at the vegan restaurant The Veggie Table.

Snack – handful of walnuts and cashews

Dinner – avocado and kale pasta (leftovers)

Snack – apple slices

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals breakfast smoothie
Creating highly nutritious meals – breakfast smoothie
Vegan Tostadas from The Veggie Table
Vegan Tostadas from The Veggie Table.
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals snack nuts
Creating highly nutritious meals – snack – walnuts and cashews

Day Four

Breakfast – gluten free oats with sliced bananas and walnuts

Lunch – stir fried brown rice and veggies. This is a great way to use left over brown rice and an assortment of fresh or cooked veggies. I saute the veggies together, add the brown rice and a sauce made from 2 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos (soy sauce substitute), 1 tsp toasted sesame oil and 1 tsp fresh or powdered ginger. This lunch stir fry contained at least a dozen veggies.

Snack – skipped due a larger than normal lunch

Dinner – red lentil and sweet potato curry (recipe below, adapted from Forks Over Knives) served with brown rice

Snack – apple slices

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals stir fry
Creating highly nutritious meals – stir fry brown rice and veggies
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals lentil and sweet potato curry
Red lentils and sweet potato curry over brown rice for dinner.
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals lentil and sweet potato curry

Red Lentils & Sweet Potato Curry

Prepare this savory curry in the slow cooker.

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 5 hrs

Total Time 5 hrs 20 mins

Course Main Course

Cuisine Indian

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red lentils
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh or dried ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Hot cooked brown rice, couscous or quinoa
  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker along with 2 cups of water. Stir to combine.

  • Cover and cook on high heat 4 1/2 to 5 hours or on low heat 9 to 10 hours. Check for doneness after 4 1/2 hours (or 9 hours). Season with sea salt and black pepper, if desired. Serve over brown rice, couscous or quinoa. Makes 8 – 10 servings.

Keyword Curry, Red Lentils, Sweet Potatoes

Day Five

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

Lunch – leftover avocado and kale pasta with chopped salad

Snack – handful of walnuts and cashews

Dinner – red lentils and sweet potato curry with brown rice (leftovers)

Snack – Cara Cara orange

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals lunch avocado kale pasta and salad
Creating highly nutritious meals – the last of the avocado and kale pasta paired with a chopped salad

Day Six

Breakfast – oats with berries and chia seeds

Lunch – cup of red lentil curry (leftovers) topped with fresh kale. I failed to get a photo of this but I loved the added kale.

Snack – apple slices

Dinner – my parents took me out for a meal. I had rice noodles with vegetables

Snack – chocolate avocado mousse. This simple dessert is so easy to make. Combine in a blender 3 ripe avocadoes, halved, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/4 cup plant based milk (I used unsweetened almond milk), 4 tbsp pure maple syrup and a dash of sea salt. Blend until creamy. Divide into four small dessert cups. Chill at least one hour. Top with fresh berries.

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals snack chocolate avocado mousse
Creating highly nutritious meals – snack – chocolate avocado mousse

Day Seven

Breakfast – fruit smoothie

Lunch – roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with chopped salad. Recipe for roasted potatoes HERE.

Snack – Cara Cara orange

Dinner – navy beans, brown rice and kale. Recipe HERE.

Snack – chocolate avocado mousse with berries

Creating Highly Nutritious Meals lunch roasted potatoes
Creating highly nutritious meals – lunch – roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with chopped salad
Creating Highly Nutritious Meals navy beans and kale
Creating highly nutritious meals – dinner – navy beans, brown rice and kale

Seven Days of Highly Nutritious Meals

After a week of delicious and healthy meals and snacks, I STILL have plenty of food remaining for several days worth of meals. I bought more bananas today and almond milk. That’s it.

As you noticed, I don’t mind eating left overs the next day. In fact, I love knowing I have food already prepared in the fridge. There’s still a large amount of red lentil and sweet potato curry to enjoy. I’ll need to make another batch of brown rice tomorrow, in the pressure pot.

Throughout the day I drink plenty of filtered water and at least one cup of herbal tea.

I hope this week of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks shows you how easy and doable it is, creating highly nutritious meals. Truly, I love eating this way and my body and health show the benefits from it.

If you are not plant based, add in salmon or chicken. However, I encourage you to try meatless meals, and not just on Monday. The body thrives with this level of nutrition.

Next week I’ll share how to keep the good nutrition going, past the month of March!

Amazon Finds to Make Cooking Easier

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