Integrative Medicine Blog

Heart Healthy Success with Meal Planning & Preparation- Easy Roasted Vegetable Batch Cooking Recipe

Mary C. Johnson, Dietetic Intern Thursday, February 04, 2016
Roasted vegetables-2

In our fast-paced lives, we demand meals on-the-go and often reach for the quickest options available. This most often involves purchasing pre-packaged or fast-food meals which are typically higher in sodium and saturated fat which are detrimental to our heart health. These quick options are also lower in fiber and phytochemicals (cancer fighting compounds found in the color of the food) that are found in plant-based foods which are important for our overall health. Optimizing your diet to include plant-based foods is a surefire way to increase the nutrient density of your diet and maximize your disease fighting potential. Spending time planning and preparing your meals each week is one of the best ways to ensure diet success for heart health. Here are a few easy tips to get you started in quick meal planning and preparation that you can start to incorporate into your routine.

Meal Planning:

1. Create a master recipe binder as your quick go-to meals for each week.

2. Take a look at your week ahead to see how many meals you need to plan and how much time you have to prepare them.

3. For saving time, find recipes that are quick to prepare that require little to no cooking time.

Meal Preparation:

1. Double your dinner recipe and have leftovers for lunch or dinner the following day.

2. Using a food processor or mandolin to chop or slice vegetables can save lots of time.

3. On busy weeks buy fresh vegetables that are pre-washed and cut to incorporate into your meals.

Get started! It may be helpful to practice making a meal plan for all of your meals over a 3 week period. In the first week, start by making a plan for all of your breakfasts. On the second week, create a meal plan for lunch. Then make a plan for your dinner meals on the third week. By the end of the three weeks, you will have a complete meal plan that works for your schedule and tastes.

Easy Roasted Vegetable Batch Cooking Recipe:

Recipe by Mary C. Johnson, Dietetic Intern


3-4 vegetables of your choice, trimmed and peeled as appropriate (i.e. broccoli, carrots, butternut squash, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, kale, celery, sweet potatoes, etc.)

Cooking oil for high heat (i.e. regular olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.)

Herbs and spices of your choice (i.e. thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, etc.)

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Put each vegetable in separate baking dishes or rimmed baking sheets.

3. Toss and coat with desired amount of cooking oil, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.

4. Place in oven and cook until vegetables are soft when pierced with fork; typically 20-30 minutes. Rotate foods on top and low rack halfway through cooking.

5. If desired, broil softened vegetables on high for 5-10 minutes at the end to slightly brown them.

Now you have ready-to-eat vegetables that can be added to your meals for quick preparation throughout the week! Just add protein!