We all know home-cooked meals are healthier and good for our health and our wallet.
It's the best way to avoid harmful ingredients, artificial flavoring, and un-healthy cooking oils that destroy the nutrients in the foods.
But let's face it. Prepping and cooking a meal takes time. And between work, family, and other commitments like workouts, time is something we don't have.
We get it.
Spending extra energy to cook healthy meals is exhausting and overwhelming. Enough to say "forget it and head over to the nearest Chinese restaurant or McDonalds."
But before you do, check out these "7 quick healthy meals" for "breakfast", "lunch" and "dinner" with minimal prep time. All under 30 minutes.
1. Banana Oatmeal with Nut
Whole grain oats are great for your health. We know (1).
But who enjoys tasteless plain oatmeal? Not me. And I bet not you too.
There are many ways to make oatmeal tastes better like pairing with fruits and nuts.
In particular, adding banana to your oatmeal has its perks.
Now, you may know fiber well, and how it helps with your digestion, but potassium is less familiar.
But that doesn't mean it's no less useful.
Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps balance sodium levels in your body. It has also been shown to help regulate blood pressure and strengthen your heart.
Combined with your whole grain oats and some healthy fats from the nuts, you have yourself one healthy breakfast that's good for your heart.
Not to mention it’s super easy to make and definitely filling.
How to make banana nut oatmeal: Heat up the oats with almond milk, then top with banana slices, crushed walnuts, and cinnamon. Viola!
2. Avocado Poached Egg Toast
Creamy and hearty avocado is one healthy fruit.
And it goes with almost anything including protein and some grains.
Combining "healthy fats" from the avocados, protein from eggs and good carbs from the whole grain toast, this simple dish is a power breakfast that lasts you through your morning.
It’s hard to image eating a better breakfast.
The best part is, it's so simple and easy and totally fail-proof.
This one delicious avocado poached egg toast recipe is from Pinch of Yum.
Ingredients to make 1 serving:
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices whole grain bread
- 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper for topping
- fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, or basil) for topping
- quartered heirloom tomatoes for serving
- Fill your pot with water - enough to cover the eggs and bring it to boil. Drop the metal rims (mason jar lids work great) into the post, so they lay flat on the bottom.
- Turn off the heat and gently crack the eggs and drop directly into each rim. Put a lid on the post and poach for 4-5 minutes, depending on your liking. Shorter time gives a soft boiled egg.
- Toast the bread and smash the avocado on each piece of toast. Scoop the egg with a spatula and discard any water. Gently pull the rim off of the egg and place the eggs on your toast.
- Top with Parmesan cheese, salt and fresh herbs. Serve with fresh quartered heirloom tomatoes.
3. Greek Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt in general is a good source of calcium, potassium, protein, but Greek yogurt is the only yogurt I eat (2).
It has double the protein, half the carbs and half the sodium of the other regular yogurt (3).
And when you combine it with fruits, you add some fiber and vitamins. Go fancy, and you can top with nuts (walnuts and almonds) to get some crunch and a good dose of healthy fat.
With that, a cup of Greek yogurt becomes a nutrition powerhouse that tastes like dessert.
And the best part of it is you can change your toppings to match your mood and taste buds.
Love chocolate? Add cocoa powder. Want a comfort food? Add granola.
Your options are practically endless.
Here are some of my favorite toppings: chia seeds, granola, bee pollen, and honey.
- 1/4 cups of plan Greek Yogurt.
- 1 cup of granola ( 4 ounces)
- 1 cups of mix berries ( blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey
- Spoon 1/4 cup yogurt into small bowls. Top each with 2 tablespoons granola and 1/4 cup berries. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon honey. Serve!
4. Chocolate, Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie
Healthy smoothie is the perfect quick breakfast option, especially for those mornings you are dashing out of the door.
Smoothies come really handy for times like that.
If you are fast, 5 minutes is all you need to throw ingredients into your blender and put it in your travel mug and be out the door.
It's a healthy and delicious option also perfectly doable.
And just because it tastes like a decadent chocolate milk shake, it doesn't mean it's got any less nutrition punch.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which fights free radicals and destructive molecules and prevents heart disease and other aliments, says Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy’s National Institute for food and nutrition.
Yes, chocolate in its pure form is awesome for your health. Here is a post on dark chocolate benefits if you are interested.
It's certainly a guilt free drink great for overall health— even while on diet.
- 1 ½ cups of organic dark chocolate
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 1 banana (sliced)
- ¾ cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey
- Take all of the ingredients, throw them in a blender, and blend for 30-60 seconds. Viola! You’re done! Pour it all into a glass (or a travel mug/bottle) and enjoy.
OK, time to each lunch.
5. Niçoise Sandwich
Unless you are Paleo, it's hard to imagine a complete meal plan without a sandwich.
Sandwich is a lunchtime stable, easy to make and great for on-the-go.
The simplicity of stuffing tons of healthy ingredients between two slices of bread is very appealing because it requires no cooking skills. I mean none.
Two slices of whole grain or spelt bread, you favorite lean protein (chicken, tuna, or turkey), and some veggies, are all you need.
- 6 oz. can of albacore tuna or any other lean protein of your choice.
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
- ¼ pitted black olives (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 slices of whole grain or spelt bread.
- kale leaves (optional)
- Place the tuna in a bowl and smash with a fork. Add the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- In another bowl, combine the tuna, tomatoes, olives, onion, pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Toast your bread if desired. Spread that mixture on one of the toasts, place kale leaves over, and cover with the other toast. Serve and enjoy!
- Tuna is an excellent source of high protein and full of omega-3 fatty acids. They not only provide good fats but also bring many health benefits to your brain, hair, and even heart.
- Tomatoes are plentiful in vitamins A and C, as well as heart-healthy antioxidants.
- Olives are not too shabby too. They are a rich source of iron and fiber, and their flavorful oil is full of good healthy fats.
- Together, these ingredients makes for a small, but filling healthy sandwich that keeps you energized and focused throughout the day.
As with any meal including bread, using whole grain bread ensures you have the healthiest ingredients possible.
6. Healthy Mac and Cheese
Creamy and cheesy macaroni and cheese is the perfect comfort meal you can eat. But the problem is out of the box one is loaded with unhealthy ingredients we can’t even pronounce.
So why not make one that is both delicious and healthy?
It'll be easy, mouth-watering good, and guilt-free with less sodium, no artificial colors, and unknown ingredients. It's good for your stomach and your soul.
Unlike what most people think, it actually doesn’t take that long to make mac and cheese using fresh ingredients.
This "healthy mac and cheese recipe" is from Hungry Girl.
- 3 cups frozen cauliflower florets
- 4 1/2 oz. (about 1 1/4 cups) uncooked high-fiber elbow macaroni
- 1 cup diced onion
- One 7-oz. can diced green chiles, drained
- 2 tbsp. chopped jarred jalapeño slices (about 10 slices)
- 2 tbsp. fat-free sour cream
- 4 wedges Swiss cheese
- 2 slices fat-free American cheese
- Place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and stir. Cover again and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until hot.
- Drain excess liquid. Roughly chop cauliflower, return to the bowl, and cover to keep warm.
- In a medium-large pot, cook pasta per package instructions, about 8 minutes. Add the boiled pasta into the cauliflower bowl. Cover to keep warm.
- Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and heat it with medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion until softened and slightly browned, 4 – 6 minutes.
- Add cooked onion, drained chiles, and jalapeño to the cauliflower and pasta. Stir well, and re-cover to keep warm.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, mix sour cream, cheese wedges, and cheese slices, breaking the wedges and slices into pieces as you add them.
- Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. Microwave for another 30 seconds, or until cheeses is melted. Stir well.
- Add cheese mixture to the large bowl and thoroughly stir. Enjoy!
7. Grilled Chicken with Roasted Kale
Chicken is one of the healthiest meat you can eat. It's lean and full of essential nutrients your body needs.
A single 3-oz of boneless chicken breast has 27 grams of protein, containing all the nine essential amino acids.
Protein is the building block for muscle tissues in the body, including skeletal muscle, heart tissues and smooth muscle found in the walls of your intestines.
Paired this protein king with kale, this dinner dish is a sure win for all health nuts and protein lovers.
Heard of "Kale is the new beef"
Amongst kale's numerous health benefits, high protein content is one benefit we can appreciate about kale.
Since there is so much to love about kale, we did a post on kale recipes to show many ways to add kale to your eating.
This chicken and kale recipe is from the Food Network.
- 1/2 pound small red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 large bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn (about 10 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 4 cups mixed salad greens
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the potatoes with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer and roast for 5 minutes.
- Toss the kale in a large bowl with the garlic, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add to the baking sheet with the potatoes and toss.
- Roast until the kale is crisp and the potatoes are tender, stirring once, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium and brush with olive oil.
- Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets. Coat evenly with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Toss the kale, potatoes, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, the salad greens, tomatoes, parmesan, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.
Serve and top the chicken with any collected juices.
There you have it!
7 quick and easy healthy meals all under 30 minutes to prep and make. As you can see, prepping and cooking healthier meals is not as time consuming. I hope using these healthy recipes and meal ideas can make the process much easier.