Dinner. It’s the same grind every week, but that doesn’t make it any easier — especially when you’re short on time (always) and sticking to your health goals (mostly). We present the 10 Healthy Dinner Shortcuts for Meals.
If you’re struggling to keep things fresh and fast each night, it’s time to rethink your approach. Follow the lead of these inspiring food gurus who show us that when you strip down your expectations and focus on mastering a few basics, mealtime is never more than 20 minutes away.
10 Easy Shortcuts for 20-Minute Meals
1. Batch-Cooked Roasted Vegetables
By roasting a big batch of vegetables once or twice a week, you can have the foundation for multiple meals to take you through the week. The weekly vegetable haul will get cut into wedges, circles or slices, drizzled with oil or ghee, sprinkled with spices and roasted in the oven at 375°F. Once cooled and stored in glass containers, it’s merely grab-and-go to create a veggie bowl or creamy vegetable soup made with coconut milk.
2. Canned Seafood
With a love of all things oceanic, While canned seafood hasn’t entirely caught in the United States, they’re highly revered in parts of Europe. Small fish, such as sardines, anchovies, and mackerel are sustainable, healthy, inexpensive, versatile and easy to prep. They’re already cooked, so it’s just a matter of opening a can and adding a little creativity. With a box in hand, it’ll become dinner when layered on a big green salad, tossed with pasta, served over beans, or even spread on toast.
3. Simple Stir-Fry
A Guide to Master Meal Planning, making a simple stir-fry on most evenings. The formula: leftover roasted vegetables, a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat (such as coconut oil). Then also relies on a changing mix of herbs and spices to keep things interesting. Not only is it quick and straightforward, but it leaves you feeling great.
4. Eggs Anytime
“Where is the rule that eggs are only for breakfast?” Even when not short on time, making a scramble for dinner by sautéing garlic, onions and whatever vegetables she has on hand along with three to four eggs is the best. Once cooked, add a dollop of almond milk ricotta, a few avocado slices, and some gut-boosting chopped kimchi. Voila! Your 20-minute meal is served! Then eat some variation of avocado, eggs, vegetables, and kimchi almost every other day.
5. Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie
Another breakfast-for-dinner winner: A well-balanced smoothie. Smoothies are a weeknight staple. A tasty smoothie takes five minutes to make, and it’s one of the cheapest dinners around. Usually, it’s under $5 a serving. The secret to making a dinner smoothie is making sure there’s a right amount of greens, fat, and protein. Mint chocolate chip and cilantro cucumber are the best combinations.
6. Cooked Quinoa
To make a low-stress week, Batch-making quinoa on Sunday is a secret. We love that quinoa is so versatile! You can add it to veggie chili, toss it with roasted vegetables, top it with a fried egg or mix it with some pesto for a quick, nutritious meal. The options are endless. Quinoa is a complete source of plant-based protein and is much more affordable than meat.
7. Canned Chickpeas
With a can of chickpeas that always have stashed in the pantry, whip up a chickpea salad using half a can of chickpeas paired with half an avocado, a sprinkle of feta on top and a swoosh of balsamic vinaigrette. If mixed greens are in the crisper, all the better. How easy and quick this salad is, right?
8. Red and White Cabbage
Hearty, versatile and extremely affordable, there’s a lot to love about the humble cabbage. Slice it up thin or grate it, and you’ve got the beginnings of dinner. The favorite go-to: a riff on Filipino pancit, made with a base of sautéed cabbage, carrots, onions, and garlic. Top it with broth-soaked rice noodles, any leftover pork or shredded chicken you may have and eggs. Whether served hot or at room temperature, it’s a low-maintenance dish that tastes anything but.
9. Anything-Goes Tacos
Tacos are the perfect foil for leftovers. We love taking what’s in our refrigerator and pantry and making it into tacos — especially using eggs since they’re so quick to cook. We are big believers in quick ‘improv’ cooking. Rehashing food as mix-and-match tacos isn’t only a creative dinner, it’s one that helps reduce food waste, too.
10. Frozen Cauliflower
Did we say 20-minute meals? This one takes five! For a creative twist on your usual smoothie, look to frozen riced cauliflower. Cauliflower packs a nutritious punch, plus it won’t alter the color of your mixture. Adding veggies to smoothies helps to make sure you’re getting daily servings of vegetables without feeling like you have to be eating salads all day. Adding a source of protein like almond butter, hemp seeds, or plant-based protein powder will make a smoothie a more substantial meal.
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