When you're looking to lose weight and improve your health, healthy eating is a must.
I'm not talking about going on a diet here.
I'm talking about delicious, healthy home-cooked meals that are rich in nutrients and friendly to your waistline.
It's the best and easiest way to avoid harmful ingredients, artificial flavoring, and unhealthy cooking oils that lead to weight gain and health problems.
By simply cooking more at home, you can avoid those unnecessary calories restaurants love to add in for added flavors.
Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen, a nutritionist is a strong advocate. He believes home-cooked meals are the cure for obesity.
And that we can cook ourselves thin.
It's the awareness of how much "sugar", "salt", and "fat" you are adding to your food that makes all the difference.
You are in total control of your calorie intake as opposed to no control when dining out.
The only obstacle is cooking can be time-consuming and tedious.
But it doesn't have to be.
These 7 delicious healthy meal recipes are super easy and fast —ready in 30 minutes or less.
They will make home cooking a breeze, fun and exciting.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
If you only eat one meal per day, it better be breakfast. Breakfast is the most critical meal you can have during the day. It influences how we perform physically and mentally.
Below you'll find some delicious and easy to make healthy breakfast ideas that will power you through the morning.
1. Banana Oatmeal with Nut
Whole grain oats are great for your health. That much we know.
But who enjoys tasteless plain oatmeal? Not me. And I bet you don't either.
There are many ways to make oatmeal tastes better like pairing with fruits and nuts.
In particular, adding a banana to your oatmeal has its perks.
The benefits of fiber and it's aid for your digestive health are pretty well known, but most people are less familiar with potassium.
But that doesn't mean it's any 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.
Combine 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.
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 3/4 cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
- Combine the milk, water, and salt in a medium saucepan; heat up until almost boiling.
- Add oats. Cook, stirring until creamy— about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sliced banana and honey. Divide among 2 bowls. Sprinkle with walnuts and a pinch of cinnamon on top. Viola! Enjoy!
Total time: 10 minutes
2. Avocado Poached Egg Toast
This simple breakfast is nutritional powerhouses.
Thanks to the perfect triple combo of heart-healthy fat from the avocado, protein in the egg, and fiber from the whole grain, this toast is a healthy meal you want to have every morning.
The best part is, it's so simple and easy and totally fail-proof.
- 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.
Total time: 7 minutes
3. Greek Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt in general is a good source of calcium, potassium, protein, but Greek yogurt is the only yogurt I eat.
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.
Total time: 2 minutes
- 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. Enjoy!
4. Chocolate, Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie
This 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.
And the combination of two superfoods, blueberries, and dark chocolate just make things that much sweeter in terms of nutrient density.
Both are an antioxidants powerhouse.
Dark chocolate too is awesome for your health, but be sure to select ones with over 70% cacao. 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.
Healthy Lunch Ideas
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.
- 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 to the cauliflower bowl. Cover to keep warm.
- Coat a skillet with a nonstick spray and heat up to medium-high. 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 cheese 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 a 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's nothing like some delicious healthy home-cooked meals.
You know exactly what's in your food because you made it. If you're serious about your health, then cooking at home is a must.
These 7 quick and easy healthy meal recipes will help you save time.
All can be ready for 30 minutes. I hope using these healthy recipes and meal ideas can make the process much easier and painless.