Healthy Meal Hacks From a Dietitian

peas-166969_1280 The last week or so I have had absolutely no desire to cook. I have been in complete protest mode. It's easy to think the only hope of healthy eating is spending long hours prepping fresh produce, spending hours boiling dried beans over the stove, or sweating next to the oven as the chicken bakes. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be so.

To make a healthy meal in a snap I keep frozen vegetables, no salt added canned beans, whole grain tortilla chips, canned sardines, no salt added canned tomatoes, whole grain pasta, low sodium broth, and quinoa (only needs 15 minutes to cook compared to 45 minutes for brown rice) on hand.

Below you will find 4 meals I use when I don't want to spend a long time in the kitchen. There is some cooking involved but no chopping or cleaning, and minimal pots and pans are involved (I also don't feel like doing dishes when I don't feel like cooking...)

Quick Nachos

Frozen corn+ frozen bell peppers+ canned beans+ tortillas

Defrost and warm frozen corn and bell peppers over medium heat. Add canned beans. Heat to your liking. Serve over tortilla chips. Cheese and guacamole optional.


Quick Pasta

Whole Wheat Pasta+ Frozen Spinach+ Canned Chickpeas+ Canned Tomatoes+ Sardines

Boil pasta. Drain and return to pot over low heat. Add frozen spinach. Once Spinach is thawed and warmed, add drained chickpeas, drained tomatoes, and drained sardines. Olives and Parmesan cheese optional.


Quick Vegan Curry

Quinoa+ frozen onions+ frozen cauliflower+ frozen broccoli+ frozen carrots+ frozen potatoes+ curry powder

Boil quinoa. While quinoa is cooking sautee frozen vegetables in a Tbsp of oil. Once fully cooked add 1 tbsp of curry powder. Mix together. When quinoa is completed, serve vegetables over quinoa.


Quick Veggie Soup

Broth+ frozen peas+ frozen carrots+ frozen potatoes+ frozen onions+ pasta

Boil pasta in broth, do not drain extra liquid. When pasta reaches a boil, add frozen vegetables. Cook until vegetables are hot all the way through and pasta is cooked.  Add black pepper and dill to taste, optional.


Bonus tip for breakfast: bring water for oats or boiled eggs to a rolling boil (placing the lid on the pot will cause the water to reach a boil faster.) Add cereal or eggs to the boiling water then turn the stove off. Hop in the shower, get dressed, read a blog post or two, and voila! Perfectly boiled eggs or oat meal (or whatever hot cereal you like); cooked while you were doing the things you would have had to wait until you were done making your breakfast to do without burning down the kitchen.

Kendra TolbertComment