Preparing healthy meals doesn’t have to mean hours in the kitchen. When your freezer, refrigerator and kitchen cupboards are well stocked, you can easily whip up a healthy meal in just 30 minutes.
Setting aside time to prepare a healthy meal at home may sound like an impossible task – especially if you think it’s going to require hours of your time, and it can sometimes seem easier to eat out or order a takeaway. But doing this can make healthy eating a lot more difficult, so I’m going to show you how to make 9 healthy meals in 30 minutes or less. Not only will this save you money, but it also gives you complete control over ingredients, calories and portions, to help you reach your health and weight loss goals.
What to Keep in Your Freezer:
Fish fillets: easy to use, since they don’t need to be thawed before cooking.
Prawns: cooked or raw, and ideal for soups, salads, and stir-fries.
Frozen vegetables: great for sprinkling into soups, pasta dishes or omelettes. My favourites are spinach, broccoli and peas.
Frozen fruit: good for adding to smoothies, Formula 1 shakes or stirring into yoghurt.
TOP TIP: Frozen banana can be blended up as a delicious healthy alternative to ice cream.
What to Keep in Your Refrigerator:
- Milk (cow’s milk, soy milk or almond milk) for Formula 1 shakes or smoothies.
- Eggs for omelettes or added to soups.
- Greek-style yoghurt is a great alternative for sour cream, and is a delicious snack with some fruit.
- Citrus fruits and apples are fairly long-lasting. Add fruits to salads for a nice flavour contrast, and use citrus fruits such as lemons and limes in cooking for extra flavour.
- Peppers, celery and carrots usually last longer than leafy vegetables, and can be eaten with a meal or as a snack: raw, chopped and enjoyed with houmous.
- Pre-washed salad greens such as spinach, kale or cabbage are convenient for putting together a side salad in minutes.
What to Keep in Your Cupboard:
- Chopped tomatoes make a great base for soups and homemade pasta sauces.
- Tinned kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas are great for making soup, curry or houmous.
- Quick-cooking whole grains such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, couscous, whole grain pasta make great high-fibre side dishes.
- Tinned tuna adds extra protein to salads or pasta dishes, and can be used to make homemade fishcakes too.
- Vinegars such as apple cider vinegar are great for adding flavour and provide many health benefits too.
- Dried herbs and spices provide endless flavour variations.
- Chicken and vegetable stock – great for adding flavour to pasta sauces and soups.
- Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil etc. are all good for cooking everything from meat to stir-fried vegetables.
- Onions and garlic – the flavour stapes that should be stored in a cool, dark place.
TOP TIP: Make your own healthy salsa by frying diced onion and garlic, then mixing with a couple tablespoons chopped tomatoes, diced avocado and herbs.
30 MINUTE MEAL IDEAS
Once you’ve got all your basics, it’s time to let your imagination run wild. Since none of these recipes require extended cooking times, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare your healthy meal. Here are some of my favourite recipes for putting a delicious, healthy meal on the table quickly.