Noodle Salad: Cook about 10 ounces of noodles according to package instructions. Once cooked, add a cup of grated raw cabbage, ½ cup grated raw carrots, ½ cup grated cucumber and a handful of chopped peanuts. In a separate bowl, mix ¼ cup creamy peanut butter, ¼ cup rice vinegar, garlic powder, fresh ginger and Sriracha to taste. Add the sauce to the noodles, stir and top with chopped fresh cilantro.
– Rebecca Mrotek, MS, NDTR
Ingredient Improv: To save time, use prepackaged vegetable slaw mix. Roast the peanuts for more flavor and add cooked chicken or shrimp for extra protein. Use whole-wheat noodles for extra fiber.
Power Oatmeal: Cook a pouch of instant oatmeal according to package instructions. Mix in a scoop of vanilla protein powder and add more liquid to thin the consistency to your liking. Top with fresh fruit such as blueberries or sliced strawberries.
– Beryl Krinsky, MBA, MS, RDN, LDN
Ingredient Improv: Add healthy fat by mixing in a spoonful of nut butter or top with chia seeds, chopped almondsor walnuts. Instead of fresh fruit, use canned peaches or thawed frozen berries. Switch up the flavor with chocolate or strawberry protein powder in place of vanilla.
Quick Mac and Cheese: Prepare a box of macaroni and cheese according to instructions. Once cooked, add a can of drained tuna and thawed frozen peas. Stir to combine and top with black pepper.
– Carolyn Hodges, MS, RDN, LD
Ingredient Improv: Substitute canned salmon or chicken or use precooked and shredded rotisserie chicken. Add more vegetables such as canned mushrooms, sautéed onion or wilted spinach. For extra flavor, add cumin, garlic powder or a splash of hot sauce.
Waffle Sandwich: Place rinsed and drained canned black beans and corn, fresh chopped bell peppers and cheese between two corn tortillas. Place in a waffle iron and cook until browned and cheese melts.
– Cindy Gay, RDN
Ingredient Improv: Add heat with sliced jalapeño or crushed red pepper flakes. For more flavor, toss in sautéed chopped onion and minced garlic. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, salsa or guacamole.
Tuna Melt Poppers: To repurpose leftover tuna salad, cut four mini sweet peppers in half lengthwise and spoon a heaping tablespoon of tuna salad into each piece. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and cook under a broiler on high for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tuna salad is hot and the cheese is melted and golden.
– Anastasia Gialouris, MS, RD
Ingredient Improv: Make your own tuna salad by mixing drained canned tuna, chopped celery, chopped red onion, Greek yogurt and garlic, or use plain canned tuna instead. Stuff large bell peppers instead of minis — but roast the peppers first for 15 minutes to soften them.