Quick and Healthy Post-Workout Dinners

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We recently posted about some easy ways to enliven chicken breasts. Consider this the expansion pack. Here are a few ideas for when you’re sick of boneless poultry but need some quick and healthy post-workout dinners.

Make-Ahead Chili

You probably already have a recipe you love. Chili is just the kind of thing most people know how to make. It’s packed with protein and, unless it’s a Texas-style chili–Texans have pretty much always banned beans and tomatoes in their chili pots–it’s got vegetables to boot. Make a big batch on a day you’re not working out (it’s better the next day anyway) and you’ve got a few heat-and-serve dinners. Serve it over brown rice for more complex carbohydrates.

If you don’t have a chili recipe here’s a basic beef chili, and here’s a vegetarian one. Both are easy as–well, chili.

Pasta

Your body needs complex carbohydrates after a workout, and whole-grain pasta fits the bill. Cook some Italian sausage or a lean ground meat of your choice (you can add spices if you want) in olive oil with a little garlic and red pepper flakes. When the meat’s done, add your favorite greens–spinach and arugula are winners for convenience, but chopped broccoli rabe is nice–and then toss with hot pasta and serve topped with cheese.

Beans

Protein-heavy winners for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. “Burgers” are easy to throw together, and you can use pretty much any type of bean, but black beans, lima beans, and chickpeas are especially good. Serve them on whole-grain buns, or just as patties with a hearty side of vegetables.

You can also turn chickpeas or any white bean into a skillet supper with a little lemony-and-smoky kick. Saute an onion in olive oil until soft, then add several minced garlic cloves, hot smoked paprika to taste (if you don’t have any, it’s definitely worth the investment), salt, and pepper. Once fragrant, add a 28-oz can of diced tomato and two cans worth of drained chickpeas. Simmer for about ten minutes, add the juice of one lemon (or more!) and salt and pepper to taste. It’s really good on quinoa.

Eggs

The most important meal of the day can also serve double-duty as a powerhouse dinner. Simple eggs and toast are just fine. Maybe throw together some sauteed cherry tomatoes or spinach on the side. But a frittata is just as easy and gives you room to throw in whatever meat and vegetable you’d like.

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What’s not to love? It’s fast-cooking, readily available, mild, and packed with protein. Roast it with a few vegetables and some mint or steam it with scallions and ginger. Or simply saute it, Italian-style.

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