Meals Under 30 Minutes
As much as I would love to cook lavish meals everyday, it's just not realistic when you have to work, go to school, engage in half-marathon training, and a social life to maintain. It's always so hectic...and it's kind of sad that I don't remember the last time I sat and ate a proper dinner at the table. Being a dietitian and a food blogger, people assume that your kitchen is always stocked and you eat balanced meals everyday in proper dining table setting...oh how I wish. On most days, you will find me eating out of a bowl hurriedly on a couch. If it looks good, I will even instagram it as I am taking a bite. So when meal planning, I try to focus on three things : simple, balanced, and quick meals. It is usually some sort of one pot rice/pasta based, or a meal-worthy salad because I like to make extra and pack it for lunch the next day too. So here are some of my favorite meals under 30 minutes. Most of the meals are vegetarian-friendly but feel free to add your choice of meat.
Fried rice is one of the easiest and all around meals (in my opinion). I normally use frozen veggies, soy sauce, hot sauce, and eggs to make a quick meal. I find a day old cold rice makes better fried rice but you can make it fresh easily on the stove or in a microwave. Brown rice is healthier than the white variety but the cooking time is little bit more, however, instant one like this is a good option.
Pasta is another favorite of mine - I make it at least once a week switching between different sauces and noodles . Currently, I am in love with creamy avocado pasta sauce. I have been itching to try this creamy pumpkin sauce, just waiting for a little Fall (ish) weather to kick in. This cheesy pasta bake takes a little over 30 minutes but so worth it. When looking for store-bought pasta sauce, try to get the ones with least ingredients. If you are concerned with fats, stick with tomato based and get the ones with no added sugar and no saturated fats. For noodles, I usually go with 100% whole wheat type but lately, I have also seen quinoa pasta, bean pasta, and almond flour pasta - never tried any of them though. Have you?
Salads, not talking about measly lettuce kind but a hefty one with tons of protein, fiber, and color. I have been eating a lot of salad bowl similar to the ones from Chipotle with different beans (low sodium canned), frozen corn, shredded greens (cabbage is my current favorite), lots of avocado,, chopped tomatoes, and hot sauce. Some other meal worthy salads include : orzo salad with tahini lemon dressing, chopped kale and chickpea salad, and soba noodle and edamame salad.
If you like fish, may I suggest salmon en papillote with a side of rice or a salad?
When I need a lazy meal or if I am completely out of groceries, I opt for canned soups with bread. Canned soups have a bad reputation for being high in sodium, BPA plastic lining, and other additives. But there are companies like Amy's, Pacific, Healthy Choice, Progresso that makes really good low-sodium soups. Always read the ingredient list, sodium content and serving per container to score the healthiest canned soups. Here is a great post on how to boost the nutritional content of the soup.
You probably did not expect this coming from a dietitian but Ramen noodles does make an appearance in my kitchen every once in a while. By no means it is healthy for you but there are ways you can make boost the nutrition of Ramen. First toss away the seasoning packet and cook the noodles in low-sodium broth or use salt, pepper, and hot sauce for the flavor. Also, I like to add mushrooms, carrots, frozen peas, spinach etc to make it heartier. Poached eggs or sliced meat makes a great addition as well.
I hope this gives you some inspiration to make wholesome meals at home without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. I am also joining Jenn for WIAW party today.