I frequently see clients whose health is suffering because of the food choices they make. Many times this is due to time restrictions which result in nutrient poor and energy dense options because they are fast. However, there are actually many quick options that you can throw together and that will be far more nutritious! A small amount of preparation will always be involved but if we are serious about our health, I am sure most of us could spare the 5-15 minutes. It probably takes this long anyway to detour to a drive through and wait.
The suggestion provided below may not be the most gourmet option but they will certainly be a lot healthier than opting for takeaway or heavily processed products. These choices are actually quite nutritious!
Here are some quick dinner options to get you inspired:
√ A lean serve of protein with brown rice and vegetables
Keep some frozen vegetables in the freezer and heat them up for a couple of minutes in the microwave. You can also keep some microwave brown rice in the cupboard for days where you are rushed. Combine these two ingredients with a tin of tuna/ salmon or some tinned lentils. Alternatively you can cook a piece of fish or steak in the oven or on a pan – even this only takes 5 or 10 minutes and you can prepare the rest whilst it is cooking.
√ Stir fry
This may seem like more effort but it can actually be really quick. Bags of frozen stir-fry vegetables can be bought at any supermarket. Just combine these with some lean chicken strips, beef strips or tofu, add some brown rice and you’re done in about 10 minutes!
Salad can be very quick to prepare. Alternatively, you can buy a bag of pre-washed lettuce and add some cherry tomatoes and carrot. Choose a protein like tinned tuna/ salmon or cook a quick chicken breast, steak or fresh piece of fish. Add a wholegrain bread roll or microwave potato for some carbohydrates. If time permits, cooking some quinoa is also a great addition.
Boil up some pasta; add a tomato based sauce and lots of frozen vegetables. Tinned fish or cooked chicken breast can be added.
An omelette can be another very quick option. Combine a couple of eggs with some milk, cook the omelette in a pan and then add your vegies of choice! Popular options are baby spinach, corn, tomato, onion. You can also add some fat reduced cheese and a lean protein of your choice.
Simply buy a small pizza base and top it with vegetables (basil, baby spinach, tomato, mushroom, pumpkin, lean chicken/ beef) of your choice and a small amount of fat reduced cheese. This whole process should not take longer than 10 minutes. Then just throw it in the oven! This is a far healthier alternative to the pizza you purchase out. Accompany it with a side salad.
Many people also report lunch time as being a problem. They often turn to takeaway meals each day, like Thai – a popular one. It is actually really easy to prepare a quick lunch! So no excuses for this meal.
A sandwich doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to prepare, the toppings can be varied from day to day, it can help contribute to your vegetable intake for the day and they can be low GI. They can also be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge. Good toppings include salad veg, low fat cheese and a lean type of protein such as tuna.
√ Brown rice with vegetables
This can again be made the night prior or quickly done in the microwave at work. A lean protein like left over grilled chicken can be added.
There are many low fat, low energy soups out there now – these take only a couple of minutes to heat up. Have a soup with a bread roll.
√ If you are in a position where you need to buy your lunch out, opt for brown rice sushi, a salad (with minimal dressing) or a stir-fry without noodles and rice.
Many meals can also be frozen into single serve portions. These can then be saved for nights where you are running low on time.
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This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have questions about diabetes or other nutrition related issues, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.