Healthy Meals in 30 Minutes or Less
Healthy eating can be a struggle for those with busy lives. When you have kids to get to soccer practice, and an 8 a.m. meeting or upcoming deadline, it can be easy to turn to fast food. The good thing is, eating on the go doesn't have to be unhealthy. Check out our recipes below for quick breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas!
Breakfast on the Go
Prepping the night before will take the stress out of breakfast time. Even if you wake up late you should at least take something to go because people who skip breakfast are more likely to consume unhealthy foods and beverages and tend to overeat throughout the day.
Read more about how breakfast can improve your health.
Here are some ideas for stocking your pantry or preparing quick-to-fix breakfasts.
- Ready-to-eat cereal with milk and fruit
- Peanut butter on whole wheat toast
- Bagel with cheese
- Reheated rice, hard-cooked egg
- Grits topped with cheese
- Oatmeal with applesauce
- Pita bread and yogurt
- Toasted waffle topped with sliced fruit
6-Minute Microwave Denver Scramble Slider
Craving a breakfast sandwich? This recipe only takes 6 minutes to prepare! That's less time than you'll spend in the fast food drive-thru! Prep veggies the night before or use frozen for extra speedy prep.
- 2 tbsp. chopped red or green bell peppers
- 1 tbsp. chopped onion
- 1 egg
- 1 slice deli ham (chopped)
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 slider-size bun or whole wheat English muffin (split and toasted)
- Place peppers and onions in a small bowl.
- Microwave on high 30 seconds and stir.
- Add egg, ham, and water and beat until egg is blended.
- Microwave on high 30 second and stir.
- Then Microwave until egg is almost set, 30-45 more seconds.
- Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Tip: Use pre-chopped or frozen veggies to speed up prep.
Saturated Fat: 2g
Apple Oatmeal Muffins
Buy apples (or any other fruit) while they are in season and on sale and make batches of these muffins to put in the freezer for later. You can also substitute whole wheat flour to make your muffins heartier and more nutritious.
- 1/2 cup milk, non-fat
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup flour, all-purpose
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats (uncooked)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 apple (tart, cored & chopped)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place 6 cupcake holders in baking tin.
- In a mixing bowl, add milk and applesauce. Stir until blended.
- Stir in flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until moistened (do not over mix).
- Gently stir in the chopped apples.
- Spoon into cupcake holders.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pan 5 minutes before serving.
- Store unused portions in an airtight container. Freeze for up to one month
Total Fat: 1g
Sat. Fat: 0g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
DIY TV Dinners
Freezer meals are another good way to decrease your time in the kitchen throughout the week. Although this method isn't for everyone, it may be beneficial to those willing to spend a little extra prep time during the weekends to save time during the week. You can prepare multiple recipes, or just one, and save them for those days when you're short on time. Certain recipes, such as soups and casseroles, tend to freeze better than others.
Freezer recipes are also great for those with short lunch breaks!
3-Minute Frozen Bean Burritos
For extra flavor top these burritos with sour cream, pico de gallo, or cheese. This is a good recipe to prep with friends and family so everyone can customize their own burrito.
- 2 tbs. veg oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup broccoli florets (optional)
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms (optional)
- 15.5 oz. canned black beans, rinsed
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1 tbs. cumin
- 1/2 tbs. chilli powder
- 2 tbs. fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5 whole wheat tortillas
- 5 romaine lettuce leaves
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, then put tortillas on baking sheet and warm in oven for about 2 minutes. Or warm tortillas in a microwave for about 10 seconds.
- Place oil, onion, bell pepper and garlic in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour beans and cooked brown rice into skillet. Cook 5 minutes while stirring.
- Add herbs and spices and mix well. Spoon bean mixture evenly down center of the warm tortillas.
- Place 1 slice of romaine lettuce and some chopped tomatoes on top of mixture.
- Serve immediately.
To freeze: Spoon bean mixture only into tortilla, roll tortilla, and individually wrap each burrito in plastic wrap and place in freezer.
Microwave only: Remove frozen burritos from plastic wrap. Place on a microwave-safe plate, covered with a microwave-safe bowl, and defrost at high power for 3 to 4 minutes; uncover, and microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add lettuce and tomato as desired and serve immediately
Sat. Fat: 0g
One-pan or one-pot recipes aka "one-pot wonders" are a great way to speed up your dinner routine. It is easy to see the appeal in throwing ingredients into one pot and letting them simmer while you take care of other things. While the prep work is usually quick, the cooking times for this style can vary. Examples include casseroles, soups/stews, pastas, foil-wrapped meals, and many more.
Last Resort 3-can Chili
Try this simple and cheap chili recipe next time you're short on time.
- 1 can beans, low-sodium, undrained*
- 1 can corn, drained**
- 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
- Chili powder to taste
*Bean Variations: 15.5 oz. can of kidney, pinto, red, or black
**Corn Variations: 15 oz. or 10 oz. package of frozen corn
- Place the contents of all 3 cans into a pan.
- Add chili powder to taste. Stir to mix.
- Continue to stir over medium heat until heated thoroughly
Sat. Fat: 0g
Sodium: 418 mg
Chicken with Vegetables and Rice
Carrots and green peas are the vegetables featured in this recipe, but you can swap them out for whatever is in season or on sale.
- 1 can carrots, drained, about 15 oz.
- 1 cup cooked chicken, about 5-6 oz.
- 1/2 chicken bouillon cube (or 1/2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon granules)
- 1/2 dried basil (optional)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup white rice (cooked)
- 1 cup low-sodium green peas, about 8.5 oz, drained
- Combine carrots, chicken, bouillon and ½ cup water in medium-size saucepan.
If using basil, add that too. Bring to boil.
- Stir in rice; then add peas. Remove from heat.
- Cover and let stand 2 minutes.
- Stir gently and serve
Nutrition Summary for 1 serving (1 cup)
Total Fat: 2g
Sat. Fat: 1g
Dietary Fiber: 6g