Not everyone wants to be a top chef, or even enjoys cooking. But knowing how to make a few healthy meals without using a recipe book is a great skill to have. Cooking your own nutritious food helps you stay healthy, save money (the cost of takeout sure adds up!) and helps you stick to your meal plan or diet. These simple, healthy dishes are good for you and don’t take much time to prepare.
Hot oatmeal on a cold morning is the ultimate healthy comfort breakfast. It’s high in soluble fibre, the kind that keeps your cholesterol levels low, and a hearty bowl of oatmeal will keep you full until lunch. Skip the processed, single serving packets and make your own by simmering one part oats in two to three parts water. When all the liquid is absorbed, top it with your favorite fruits and a tablespoon of nut butter.
While nutritious, hearty stews may seem complex, they’re actually super easy! To make a simple stew, just put some cubed protein (such as fish, beef or tofu), diced carrots, potato and celery, beef broth and your favorite herbs in a slow cooker. Then, cook the mixture on low for eight hours, or on high for four hours.
It’s no secret that fish is full of nutrients, contains omega-3 fatty acids and is a lean source of protein. But what most people don’t know is just how easy cooking fish can be! Baking fish in parchment paper is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to enjoy a fish dinner. Simply place your fish and your favorite veggies in a large piece of parchment paper, top with a homemade sauce (try combining oil, mustard, soy sauce and garlic), fold up the parchment paper into a packet and cook for 15 minutes at 425ºF. For more easy fish recipes, check out this list.
While mac and cheese from a box is a quick dinner fix, there are much tastier and healthier versions you can make from scratch. Steer clear of cream or cheese-based pastas, and instead look to the produce section for inspiration. Try tossing your favorite type of cooked pasta noodles in pesto and adding grilled veggies like zucchini, tomato or broccoli.
One of the best things about stir fries is that not only are they easy to make, but you probably already have most of the needed ingredients! To make a stir fry, simply heat your wok or frying pan over high heat, add some olive oil and then add some cubed fish, tofu or beef and cook until browned. Then, add whatever veggies you have in the fridge—broccoli, carrots, onions and corn are all great picks. Then, pour in a simple stir fry sauce, let the mixture simmer for a few minutes and enjoy! Stir fries are a great way to use up leftover vegetables.
Once you know how to make these healthy foods, you’ll always have something nutritious and satisfying to eat. Next time you’re at the grocery store, skip the pre-made meals and add the ingredients for these simple dishes to your shopping cart so you can cook a delicious meal from scratch.