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You had to work late, the boss yelled at you, you’re emotionally and physically drained, and the last thing you want to do is open up a healthy cookbook and try to make some sort of extravagant meal.
Might as well pop a frozen pizza in the oven and call it a night, right?
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Healthy food preparation doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming, even if you’re a kitchen novice. Here are a few incredibly simple meals that will satisfy your cells, your stomach, and your taste buds.
1. Loaded baked sweet potatoes.
Wash some sweet potatoes and pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes. (Tip: it’s always good to bake extra to have in your fridge for a later date.)
They can be microwaved if you’re running short on time too, just wash, prick a few times with a fork, and microwave on high for about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on size. Slice down the middle and add toppings of your choice.
For a Mexican-style meal, add guacamole, steamed veggies, corn and beans, and top with salsa. For Italian, add steamed vegetables such as broccoli and zucchini and top with tomato sauce.
2. Pasta primavera.
All you need is some whole grain pasta, a bottle of tomato sauce (preferably low-fat, low-salt, and low-sugar), and a package of mixed frozen vegetables. (Whole Food’s California Blend is my favorite.)
Cook the pasta according to directions and throw the veggies in the water with 3 or 4 minutes to spare. Then drain and cover with tomato sauce. For extra protein, add some garbanzo or kidney beans to the sauce right before serving.
3. Healthy pizzas.
Get a whole grain pizza crust, tortilla, or pita pocket and top with tomato sauce, any healthy veggie you have in the house, and nutritional yeast. Bake in the oven at 375 until the toppings look cooked and the crust is crispy, around 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Monster salads.
Fill up most of a large mixing bowl with greens of your choice and top with raw or cooked vegetables and beans. For a more filling meal, add some whole grains like brown rice or pseudograins like and quinoa and wild rice.
5. Bean burritos.
Put a whole grain tortilla on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds. Once it’s warm, add your fillings – guacamole, beans (refried or whole), salsa, brown rice, veggies, etc. Wrap up into a burrito and enjoy!
Preparing a healthy meal doesn’t need to take more than 15 minutes if you don’t want it to. While healthy cookbooks and fancy recipes are great for entertaining or experimenting with new cuisine, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple.