'Quick Wins': Three ways to boost your next meal

simple smoothies, chicago dietitian, healthy treats, #mealprep, #chicagoeats, registered dietitian

If you’re like me, you don’t have / want to spend a ton of time finding new recipes, meal prepping, cooking etc. It can feel overwhelming. And I’d rather spend time with friends, my husband and running around with Dexter on the weekends.

To help prevent #mealmonotony and also keep meal prep to a minimum, I often make the same things week-to-week, experimenting with variations of each dish depending on what I have on hand.

Lately, I’ve been making lentil pasta, adding chopped spinach, tomatoes and basil before mixing in chili flakes with a dollop of dairy-free mayo. I’ll add some pan-fried tofu and call it a day. It’s satisfying, super simple to assemble and I can mix it up by adding in different spices, herbs or veggies. It also gives each dish a slightly different flavor and nutrition perks.

If you’re short on time but want to maximize your nutrition, here are a few ‘quick wins’ to add to your next meal.


For both sweet and savory dishes, consider adding in spices such as turmeric, cinnamon or ginger. Spices contain compounds that function as antioxidants, helping to protect our body by controlling levels of inflammation.*

  • Turmeric
    Containing the compound curcumin that helps to combat inflammation, sprinkle dried turmeric onto roasted veggies, guacamole or green smoothies. Boost absorption by including turmeric with fat-rich foods such as olive oil or avocado.

  • Cinnamon
    Packed with antioxidants, one active compound in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, may positively support blood sugar balance. Sprinkle into coffee, yogurt or oatmeal; add to warm cooked dishes like mashed sweet potato, or roasted squash.

  • Ginger
    Containing several compounds that may help with nausea and acid reflux add ground ginger to tea, toast, or fresh fruit; splash fresh ginger juice into sparkling water, yogurt or smoothies for a refreshing kick.


Rich in dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids as well as phytochemicals, flax is a fantastic way to make your next meal nutrient-dense. Mix ground seeds into oatmeal, stir into spreads or add whole seeds to stir-fries, smoothies or baked goods.


Foods rich in dietary fiber keep us fuller for longer, helping to keep appetite in check and cut back mindless munching. Since much of the fiber is found in the skin of our fruits and veggies avoid peeling them before cooking and choose those with a skin (berries) vs. a peel (banana).

*Note: further research is needed to make clinical recommendations.