You don’t need much time to cook a healthy meal. Do you feel like you just don’t have enough time…
You don’t need much time to cook a healthy meal.
Do you feel like you just don’t have enough time to prepare tasty and nutritious meals? If so, you’re in good company. “One excuse I often hear is that cooking and eating healthy takes too much time,” says Brittney Bearden, a sports dietitian and sports nutrition manager with Texas Health Sports Medicine in Dallas. “Learning how to make quick, easy, healthy and tasty meals is easier than you might think. While it takes a little planning, having the right food items on hand goes a long way in speeding up cooking time.”
You can whip up a quick and healthy meal if you have these staple foods on hand:
— Canned beans.
— Frozen fruit.
— Frozen steam-able vegetables.
— Pre-cut vegetables.
— Microwavable grains.
It’s also a good idea to have some basic kitchen equipment on hand, like a crockpot or an Instant Pot.
Once you’ve got your ingredients and cooking equipment, here are 11 quick and easy recipes to consider tonight:
1. Burrito bowl
For all the lovers of build-your-own bowl style fast-food restaurants, creating your own burrito bowl at home couldn’t be simpler, Bearden says. Throw together canned beans, microwavable rice and shredded rotisserie chicken.
You can customize your burrito bowl with an array of ingredients, including:
— Fresh lime juice.
— Pico de gallo.
— Pre-made guacamole
— Shredded cheese.
Creating your own burrito bowl could be a healthier alternative from consuming one from a fast food place, if you use fresh and healthy ingredients like the ones above.
2. Broiled salmon over white beans and kale
This nutrient-packed meal isn’t as complicated as it sounds, Bearden says. Sauté the kale with garlic and onion before adding in the white beans, seasonings — there are a wide array to choose from, including dill, sage thyme, tarragon, fennel, seafood, blackened or cajun seasonings — and a little chicken broth. While that simmers, broil seasoned salmon in the oven until it flakes easily with a fork, for around seven minutes.
Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with good heart health, while beans are an excellent source of fiber .
Kale is a good source of:
— Vitamin A.
— Vitamin B9, or folate.
— Vitamin C.
— Vitamin K.
3. Cheese omelet
This nutritious dish combines two popular and tasty foods. Sonja and Alex Overhiser, an Indianapolis couple who blog about healthy cooking, suggest trying a cheese omelet with a twist: green sauce, also known as chimichurri. This sauce consists of parsley, garlic cloves, olive oil, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and red pepper flakes. You can also incorporate chimichurri into your steak, fish, taco or sandwich dishes.
While your mind is on eggs, remember: “You can add a fried egg on top of anything and make it more of a hearty meal, like on top of (a) salad,” Sonja says. Consider adding it to leftover rice and beans to create a burrito bowl.
4. Chicken pesto flatbread
Purchasing pre-cooked chicken or cooking a large amount at the beginning of the week is a great strategy for making quick meals during the week, Bearden advises. “Dice that cooked chicken or shred it for a chicken pesto flatbread,” she says. “Start with a whole grain flatbread, top with pesto sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and the chicken. While that’s baking, throw a bag of steam-able vegetables in the microwave as a side dish.”
Rotisserie chickens are a great choice since they’re inexpensive and convenient and provide an easy way to meet your protein needs, says Lisa Jones, a registered dietitian based in Philadelphia.
5. Frozen ravioli
You can heat up frozen ravioli in a matter of minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or in a microwave for less than a minute, says Caroline Susie, a registered dietitian nutritionist who’s a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She’s based in Dallas.
“Serve with your favorite store-bought tomato-based pasta sauce and a salad,” Susie suggests. “As a bonus, add in some frozen vegetables like peas to bump up the nutrition.”
6. Mediterranean-inspired sandwich
This Mediterranean-inspired sandwich is made with hummus — and it’s vegan-friendly. “Combine whatever vegetables you have on hand with hummus on a sandwich. It’s delicious and satisfying, and it’s good for you,” Sonja says.
Here are the ingredients you’ll want to try:
— Kale white pesto bean dip.
— One-quarter of a red onion.
— One carrot.
— Pea shoots.
— Whole-grain bread.
— Feta cheese crumbles.
7. Rotisserie chicken
Many grocery stores have rotisserie chicken that’s already been cooked, which makes it easy to use the food item as the basis of a quick meal. Remove the skin to save on calories and fat and heat in an oven. Add frozen vegetables, which you can heat up in boiled water. Keep in mind, frozen veggies are flash frozen within hours of harvesting, so they may have more nutrients than fresh vegetables that sometimes sit in the store for days. And you can prepare them quickly.
Susie recommends this delicious salad that’s easy to make: grilled chicken Caesar salad. Slice up store-bought grilled chicken breast — which is a great source of lean protein — and add to a reduced fat Caesar salad kit. Serve with whole wheat dinner roll.
9. Soft scrambled eggs with goat cheese and asparagus
Mix up your typical morning routine by trading your usual bagel for this savory breakfast favorite. “Eggs are a good source of protein. A bagel contains carbs and unrefined flour, which means empty calories,” Sonja says. “Eggs taste good, are protein-filled and really easy to make.”
Jones suggests this recipe: Chop the asparagus into small pieces, then place a small amount of butter in a skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the chopped asparagus pieces into the pan and cook for five minutes, or until they’re soft. Meanwhile, beat some eggs with salt and pepper at high speed in your mixer’s bowl. Add some goat cheese to the mixture and mix well with a whisk or spatula on low speed (you don’t want to incorporate too much air). Remove the asparagus from the skillet and pour the egg mixture over your cooked asparagus.
What you’ll need:
— Chopped chives.
— Fresh-ground black pepper.
— Goat cheese.
— A mixing bowl.
— A skillet.
10. Tomato-avocado grilled cheese sandwich
This is a good option for lunch or dinner. “It doesn’t use too much cheese, and avocados contain healthy fats and nutrients,” Sonja says, adding that it’s a better option than takeout. The key is to salt the tomatoes before putting the sandwich together.
You’ll need these ingredients:
— An avocado.
— One ripe tomato.
— Mozzarella cheese slices.
— A sprinkle of salt.
Making this type of sandwich is quick and easy, Jones says. Put the bread in a sandwich maker and place tomatoes and avocadoes on one piece of bread. Add grated cheese and other ingredients like salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Put another piece of bread on top. Cook in the sandwich maker until it’s browned or grill it with butter or olive oil.
11. Veggie burgers
It’s a good idea to keep staples like veggie burgers and whole wheat buns on hand for quick and easy-to-make meatless meals, Susie says. She suggests grilling your veggie burgers on a skillet sprayed lightly with cooking spray or oil. You can also use about a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Veggie burgers go great with a cucumber and tomato salad.
It’s important to keep in mind that some popular brands of meat alternatives don’t contain vegetables. “A ‘meat replacement’ burger for your meat hamburger is different from a veggie burger,” she says. “They tend to be higher in sodium, fat, calories and rarely contain any vegetables. As a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I cannot recommend specific brands, but your veggie burger should have veggies in it. I recommend looking at the ingredients on the package.”
11 healthy meals you can make in 10 minutes:
— Burrito bowl.
— Broiled salmon over white beans and kale.
— Cheese omelet.
— Chicken pesto flatbread.
— Frozen ravioli.
— Mediterranean-inspired sandwich.
— Rotisserie chicken.
— Soft scrambled eggs.
— Tomato-avocado grilled cheese sandwich.
— Veggie burgers.
More from U.S. News
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Healthy Meals You Can Make in 10 Minutes originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 11/23/21: This story was published previously and has been updated with new information.