Success on any diet has a great deal to do with planning and preparation. Many individuals on the Serotonin Power Diet, who are struggling with antidepressant-related weight gain or emotional overeating, lack the time and energy to spend on preparing and cooking extravagant meals. Whether due to COVID-19 related issues, family and work stressors, or other challenges, meal prep isn’t always number one on the priority list.
For individuals who don’t have the luxury of preparing elaborate, time-intensive meals, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite easy, go-to foods. By purchasing some of our favorite grocery staples, you can stay on track and create simple, delicious meals in minutes.
Here are 10 foods to pick up the next time you buy groceries:
Beans are tasty, nutritious and filling. They are also a great source of both protein and carbohydrates. Plus, they have a really long shelf life. Dried beans, if stored properly, can last up to two years, while canned beans can last up to five years. You can enjoy beans at any meal on the Serotonin Power Diet. Whether cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, lentil beans, kidney beans. If you are looking for a quick and delicious dinner option, we recommend enjoying one serving of these Madras Lentils with 90-second microwavable rice.
2. Rotisserie Chicken
Many people frequently forget to defrost meat stored in the freezer. Pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken and you can have protein for at least a couple of meals. Add some stir fried veggies and you have an easy and delicious lunch.
3. Canned (or Boxed Soup)
There’s no need to wait for winter to enjoy some hearty, nutritious and filling soup. Soup is a perfect option for individuals who are constantly multitasking and find themselves without lunch or dinner. From minestrone to tomato or chicken noodle soup, there really are very few options that are off limits. Simply stick to low-fat options and skip cream based soups. Some of our favorite brands are Amy’s, Progresso (high fiber and light), Health Valley, Pacific Foods, Healthy Choice, or Tabachnick (find it in the freezer aisle). If you are eating soup that contains protein for dinner, simply discard the meat and enjoy the broth.
4. Frozen or Fresh, Pre-Washed and Pre-Cut Veggies
One of the easiest ways to save time is to buy pre-cut and pre-washed veggies. Buying frozen veggies is another fantastic option if you don’t want to worry about eating them all before they go bad. While there are many ways to prepare these vegetables, we like to steam frozen veggies in the microwave or stir fry pre-cut veggies on the stove with a tablespoon of oil and our favorite spices.
5. Protein Powder
Stocking up on protein powder is perfect for when you want a quick and easy protein smoothie for breakfast or lunch. Blend a scoop of powder, your favorite fruit and some almond milk and you’re in business. You can get creative by adding instant coffee for an extra morning boost or spinach for some added nutrients.
Rice is a really important staple on the Serotonin Power Diet, especially for dinner. It’s also gluten free, vegan and full of serotonin-boosting carbohydrates. Whether you want to use a trusty rice cooker, boil on your stove top, or simply prefer a 90-second microwavable variety is totally up to you. Top rice with two cups of your favorite prepared veggies and your favorite jarred sauce and you have an easy and effective dinner that will leave you feeling satiated and content.
Hard boiled, poached, over medium or sunny side up eggs are all fantastic options for breakfast on the Serotonin Power Diet, to enjoy with a slice of toast and a serving of your favorite fruit. If you are running out of lunch ideas, a quick veggie omelet is a fun and satisfying alternative to a traditional salad with protein.
We love pasta for multiple reasons, the most important of which is the serotonin-synthesizing power of this type of carbohydrate, but it is also one of the easiest foods to prepare. Serve it with veggies and top it with your favorite low-fat sauce such as marinara or teriyaki. Think of all the pastabilities!
For a quick and easy protein-packed lunch, all you need is a can or pouch of tuna, some low fat or fat free mayo and your favorite spices. Scoop it onto a salad and voila – you are done.
Last but not least, we highly recommend always keeping potatoes around. If you don’t have time to roast them or pan fry them with olive oil, you can always pop them in the microwave and top them with veggies and your favorite low-fat sauce. Or you can top them with fat free Greek yogurt, garlic and herbs.
We hope these suggestions help save you precious time and help you stay focused on your own self-care during these trying times.
What’s your favorite grocery staple?