Wearing the many hats of a registered dietitian, Sammi Haber‘s calendar is permanently packed—seriously, she works at a medical center, runs a private practice, and is the mastermind behind the colorful Instagram account @veggiesandchocolate.
Busy schedules often spell the downfall of healthy eating, so Haber relies on make-ahead meals to keep her diet on track. But instead of a Sunday night meal-prep marathon, she takes a segmented approach.
“Because my week days and nights are busy, I don’t like to spend my Sunday meal prepping—there are so many other things I’d rather be doing!” Haber says. “Instead, I’ll cook two nights a week and make sure to have leftovers for the other nights.”
The one exception? Breakfast. Her days usually begin around 5 a.m., so making breakfast the night before is non-negotiable (no one wants to be cooking an omelette at 4:30 a.m.). Her go-to make-ahead option that still tastes great the next morning? Overnight oats.
“Overnight oats give me an easy way to refuel with protein and carbs, and the zero morning prep needed works perfectly with my busy schedule.”
“Overnight oats are my weekday lifesaver. I’m usually running out the door in the morning and, aside from a banana pre-workout, the first chance I get to eat is once I get to my desk,” Haber says. “Overnight oats give me an easy way to refuel with protein and carbs, and the zero morning prep needed works perfectly with my busy schedule.”
To simplify things even more, she stocks her fridge with cups of Quaker Overnight Oats—her hassle-free hack for getting a hearty, nutritious breakfast every morning. Quaker Overnight Oats come in four creative flavors (like Toasted Coconut and Almond Crunch, or Orchard Peach Pecan Perfection), so instead of spending your evening chopping toppings, all you have to do is add milk for your protein (you’ll get at least 11 grams of protein if you add a half cup of skim milk fortified with vitamins A and D, FYI), stir, and stick them in the fridge to cold-steep overnight. Plus, it’s made with 100 percent whole grain oats (and other grains) with no artificial flavors or added colors. Minimal effort, FTW.
Scroll down to take a peak inside Haber’s fridge—and to find out more of her dietitian-approved meal-prep hacks.
What’s your food philosophy? What do you keep in mind when stocking your fridge?
I’m a big believer in “all foods fit.” In order to make your healthy diet a sustainable lifestyle, you have to allow all foods. Healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains are just as important as the occasional cookie or French fries. When you allow all foods, it takes those less healthy foods off their pedestal so that you can enjoy them mindfully without the guilt. No food is good or bad—food is food!
It looks like you have a few cups of Quaker Overnight Oats ready to go. How much prep does that entail?
I love that Quaker’s Overnight Oats come already mixed with a flavorful blend of oats, fruits, quinoa, flaxseed and nuts, so I don’t even have to think about what to add to the oats to spice them up (if you haven’t noticed, I’m big on the easy meals theme). I add almond milk and a little Greek yogurt to make them perfectly creamy with a little more protein. The Blueberry Banana and Vanilla Bliss flavor is insane! I love a little taste of sweetness for breakfast.
I see a lot of dairy products. How do you use them?
Cheese is such a go-to for me. I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat much meat. Greek yogurt with either overnight oats or high fiber cereal is a staple for me in the mornings to make sure I’m getting some protein. String cheese is a perfect way to add protein to a snack, and I usually end up cooking with some kind of other cheese (my fiancé loves parmesan!).
What are your go-to snack options? It looks like hummus is a favorite.
Ha, yes! We love hummus in our house. Between snacking on it with veggies or adding it to meals, hummus containers go so quickly.
Do you always keep your bread in the refrigerator?
I know it’s like against all refrigerator rules to keep bread in the fridge…but we go through it quickly, so it pretty much never gets stale. I eat a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and some kind of fruit all the time (seriously, just look at my Instagram). It makes the best easy snack.
So much fresh produce! How do you usually use the fruits?
I’m obsessed with summer produce—so much is in season, and I literally can’t get enough of berries lately. I always keep fresh fruit on hand to grab as a snack. If there’s any fruit left over, I put in the freezer to throw into smoothies later on.
What about the veggies?
For veggies, I usually buy whatever’s in season. Lately, I’ve been keeping cucumbers and tomatoes on hand to throw together quick Greek salads. I try to keep all my veggies in one place so I don’t forget about any.
Is that a container of baby spinach on the top shelf?
I like to keep the spinach around to add as a base to any meal, sauté quickly, or freeze to throw into smoothies—it’s so versatile.
Do you usually take your coffee cold?
Once I learned you could buy big bottles of Starbucks iced coffee, it was a game-changer. In the winters, I use my coffee maker to make hot coffee. But during the summer, this is such a time and money saver! I always add almond milk and a little sweetener to my coffee.
Photos: Sammi Haber
Graphics: Abby Maker for Well + Good