With the business of our day-to-day lives, despite the best of intentions it is all too easy to give in to a quick and easy takeaway or frozen meal when it comes time to get dinner on the table after a long, hard day. Having a few simple go-to meals on standby means that you can still throw together something nourishing and nutritious for your evening meal, and still have time to relax and unwind.
Healthy eating doesn’t need to be complex, or time consuming, and it definitely does not need to contain fancy (and sometimes bewildering) ingredients that you need to spend 6 hours in 8 different stores hunting for! Keep things simple and low-stress.
Make sure you keep a few of these family-friendly ideas in mind next time you need dinner-in-a-flash:
- Fried Rice – whenever I make this my teenagers come back for second and often third servings. It can be helpful to cook a double serving of rice next time you make a rice dish. Store the extra rice in the fridge overnight, and then it can form the basis of a quick fried rice the following evening. Stir fry crushed garlic in a little olive/coconut oil, add some chopped bacon or chicken. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Stir-fry some fresh broccoli/carrot/snow peas or any other vegies you have on hand until just lightly cooked, then toss in the rice until heated through. Add the meat back in, and pop in some cashews or almonds, and a dash of tamari sauce for flavour.
- Wraps – I always keep a good supply of organic, preservative-free wraps in my cupboard. Some grilled chicken, tossed salad and mashed avocado in a wrap make a tasty, quick and filling meal. Consider cooking a double or triple batch of chicken, to use for lunches for the next few days.
- Mini Pizzas – A mini pizza made on a wholemeal pita bread, with quality protein and fresh vegies is going to be tastier, healthier and easier on the pocket than the home-delivered version. And you’ll probably be able to eat sooner too! Spread the pitas with pizza sauce, salsa, or pesto, add sliced mushrooms, onions, capsicum, leftover meat/chicken if you have it, and a few fresh herbs such as marjoram or oregano. Top with cheese and bake in the oven until golden.
- Frittata – What can be easier than a meal where you just throw everything in a pan and forget about it until it is ready? Grate a couple of carrots and zucchinis, throw in some sliced pak choy, finely chopped onion and about a cup of frozen corn into a large mixing bowl. Whisk a dozen eggs and pour into the bowl, add about ¾ cup grated cheese, and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Pour into a lasagne dish, and bake at 180°C until golden and cooked through. Plus you’ll have bonus leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day.
- Consider putting aside a little time on the weekend to prepare a bulk meal or two. It doesn’t take long to pop a healthy spaghetti sauce in a slow cooker that you can freeze in several portions, to be served with some zucchini noodles (finely sliced zucchini fried in a little coconut oil – yum!). Rissoles or meat balls can be easily made ahead of time using good quality grass-fed/free range mince, herbs, grated zucchini/carrot and frozen for a quick meal that you can cook and serve with a quick side of steamed vegies/salad.