As the theme of my blog suggests, healthy eating does not have to be time-consuming or complicated. Most of the meals Will and I put together are finished in about 30 minutes. (That’s faster than driving to your local fast food place and ordering junk!) I wanted to share a few tips that we have found make it easier to create healthy meals in less time at home.
1. Have a game plan, ie. a meal plan! Planning your meals ahead of time will make your life so much easier. You will have a list of things to pick up at the store and you’ll be less likely to make impulsive purchases because you will be more efficient at shopping.This is also a great way to help manage your grocery budget. For example, here is a weekly meal plan for us:
Monday: Lentil “Meat” Loaf and steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Seitan, Roasted Squash, and Broccoli stir fry (link to similar recipe!) with couscous
Wednesday: Broiled salmon, salad, and baked sweet potato
Thursday: Canned or homemade soup, cheese toast, green beans
Friday: Dinner out! No cooking tonight. 🙂
Saturday: Cauliflower crust pizza and salad
Sunday: Tofu (beef for Will) in spicy peanut sauce, roasted beets, and baked sweet potato
2. Do a little prep-work on the weekend. Usually, we try to make a large pot of dried beans or lentils. After cooking, portion out in Tupperware to keep on hand for adding to salads or other dishes throughout the week. Sometimes, we will just reheat a few cups of beans, add some seasoning, greens, and cheese and call that dinner – so easy! If we are feeling ambitious or I see a recipe I really want to try, we’ll make a bit batch of soup or chili and freeze some for easy dinners later on! There are tons of great weekly meal prep ideas and tips to be found on the internet. One of my favorites is The Lean Green Blog’s weekly Sunday Food Prep recaps.
3. Buy lots of frozen vegetables! These guys are cheap, won’t go bad, and are easy to heat up and add to any dinner! We usually season them with a bit of butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder but the options are endless! Stir fry and curry is often on the menu at our house; by keeping a variety of frozen veggies on hand to toss in the pan makes them so tasty!
4. Try to keep some of the following items on hand for healthy little-to-no cook dinner options:
- Canned tuna – Season as you like and toss on a salad, sandwich, etc.
- Hummus – Chop up veggies and dip them or make a wrap!
- Salad mix – A large salad is one of my go-to meals when I want something quick and don’t feel like cooking. Simply top your greens with some protein (beans, tuna, deli turkey, cheese) and healthy fat (salad dressing, nuts, avocado) to make it a meal.
- Canned beans – Add a bit of taco seasoning, heat, top with cheese, and wrap it up in a whole wheat tortilla or pile on top of a baked sweet potato.
- Low-Sodium, Organic Canned Soup – We often buy a can/box of organic soup on our shopping trips. They make for a great meal when you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen. We make them a little more interesting by adding more vegetables or topping with some cheese. Yum!
- Quinoa – This high protein seed is great to have on hand. It cooks quickly and makes a great starchy base on which to pile your stir fry.
- Sweet Potatoes – These are so easy to bake up in the microwave and top with beans (see above) or chop in uniform pieces and throw into a tasty stir fry.