One of the biggest obstacles to healthy eating my clients encounter is time, and the struggle is real. One report found that working women spend, on average, less than one hour a day preparing, serving, eating, and cleaning up after meals. And to clarify, that’s not less than an hour for each meal – it’s less than one hour per day, for all meals combined. If you experience the same type of time crunch, one of the best tools for successfully eating well is to find a handful of 15 minute go-to recipes. With quick meals at your fingertips, and the ingredients at the ready, you can whip up balanced, satisfying, and tasty dishes, and still have time for everything else on your plate. To gear up, rely on some healthy shortcuts.
When you’re pressed for time, completely from-scratch meals just aren’t practical. Fortunately, there are a number of good-for-you convenience foods you can rely on to significantly slash your prep and cooking time. Some items I frequently recommend include: eggs; canned wild salmon; canned pulses (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas); frozen vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and pre-cooked shrimp; bagged ready-to-eat greens; jarred pestos and olive tapenade; nuts, and seeds.
For example, mix canned wild salmon with stone ground mustard, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning, served over bagged greens, topped with avocado and a scoop of canned chickpeas. Or for a quick grain bowl, toss thawed pre-cooked frozen shrimp and frozen steamed veggies with jarred pesto, served over a bed of bagged kale, topped with thawed frozen pre-cooked brown or wild rice, and sprinkle of nuts. Eggs are another easy breezy meal option, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sauté frozen veggies and bagged greens in extra virgin olive oil with turmeric, black pepper, and Italian seasoning, add eggs to scramble, and serve with a side of frozen, thawed berries. Or hard boil some eggs to keep in the fridge, then peel, chop, and toss with bagged greens, olive tapenade, and canned white beans.
Once you have a few fast meals down pat, they’ll be even easier to rely on as healthy back-ups when you’re in a time crunch. And for the nights you simply don’t have time to make anything, consider combining some items in your fridge with healthy-ish take out. For example, serve a Thai or Chinese order of shrimp and veggies over a bowl of bagged greens, with a small scoop of brown rice, instead of a larger portion or rice or noodles.
For more options check out our recipe collection for 15 minute Back to Fresh dishes, and tell us about the quick recipes you’d like to see added. We’re all about making healthy and delicious totally doable!