Sometimes it seems as though the workweek is one big blur of frozen meals, Seamless, Munchery, and the old college move of snacking as dinner. In search of some healthy inspiration, we tapped Marissa Lippert, nutritionist, dietitian, and author of The Cheater's Diet, who founded the über-popular West Village eatery Nourish Kitchen + Table (a favourite of A-listers and models alike). Keep scrolling to read how a food pro shops and cooks for a week of healthy meals!
Shop Seasonally, and Plan Meals Around Veggies
"I usually weave and wander through the grocery store or farmers market and get inspired by what looks most amazing, fresh, and seasonal, because it’s going to be the most flavorful and most nutritious," says Lippert. "I start with the produce and greens first because I typically root my meal prep 'theory' in some gorgeous vegetables or greens depending on what I find, and then I'll build a meal around that. I use a lot of random spices and herbs and will blast some old-school hip-hop while I’m prepping. That methodology, of putting vegetables in the forefront, has definitely influenced how I conceived Nourish Kitchen + Table’s menu and overall philosophy. Our dishes and sweets are very vegetable and fruit forward." When you root a meal around a vegetable, it's also going to be healthier and less expensive.
In New York City, Lippert's favourite places to grocery shop for the week are the Union Square Greenmarket, Tompkins Square Greenmarket, and Eataly: "They have really great quality produce, fish, and meats at shockingly reasonable prices—best-kept secret!" she says. She also stops into Whole Foods, "my local butcher, Honest Chops, and some local health food stores here and there. And of course my spice mecca: SOS Chefs on Avenue B."
Stock the Staples
Lippert says the best staples to have on hand for a full week of meal prep are "garlic, lemon or lime, a fresh herb or two, Aleppo pepper or fresh chilli, a really solid olive oil and vinegar (I love a good hit of acid), two to three vegetables, fresh farm eggs, avocado, a whole grain like quinoa, farro, bulgur or great potatoes, and some fish, grass-fed meat, or chicken."
Keep It Simple
Like most people after coming home from a long day of work, cooking a complicated meal isn't in the cards for Lippert during the week, so she keep things simple. "When I’m not at Nourish, most of my cooking these days is done later in the evening at home, so I make a quick, simple dinner. On Sundays, I cook for a small group of close friends. I’ll usually run to the Tompkins Square Greenmarket and attempt to create an entire meal of what’s available there—roast chicken or grilled fish with some spices and seasonal herbs, the randomest, the tastiest salad combination I can think of (the off-the-cuff salads are usually the best ones!), and whatever whole grains or healthy carbohydrates are in my pantry or fridge," she says. "I love the challenge of pulling an incredible meal together out of what you’ve got to work with."
Go the Distance
In terms of maximizing meals, Lippert says to start with a salad and a large batch of vegetables. The next day, make a sauteed dish or tagine with the vegetables or greens that were in the salad from the night before; a frittata with any leftover vegetables; and a pasta dish with the same vegetables and shrimp, meatballs, or chicken.
Check out Lippert's book on eating all of your favourite foods while still losing weight, and share your favourite weeknight meals in the comments below!