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I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of making meals quick, and without much of a fuss!
I also like to make them with wholesome ingredients and as little dirty dishes as possible. And, I’m guessing you probably do, too; at least the dirty dishes part! Who wouldn’t? That’s why I want to share with you 8 quick and healthy meals to make your life a little easier and to help you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle; or make it easier to start eating better!
Lately, I’ve been in a ‘I don’t want to cook or do dishes’ kind of mood; possibly because where we live now has no dish washer so every dish we use I have to wash by hand. So, I’m a little picky about what I make as to not make more dishes dirty than I absolutely need to. Like, I still use my food processor and other appliances that need to be washed afterwards. But, I certainly don’t use my juicer like I used to (not that it could go in the dishwasher, but when it was one of the very few items that I had to wash by hands, I didn’t mind it so much)!!
What I’ve discovered during this time is that it’s completely possible to eat well and be lazy at the same time! Us mom’s deserve some time to ourselves and shouldn’t put so much pressure on ourselves to use up more than a few precious hours a day to prepare food for our families. (Or, better yet, a few hours a week meal prepping and less than an hour a day getting those meals ready to eat!)
Keep reading to find some quick healthy meals for yourself and your family so you don’t have to stand around in the kitchen all day!
One of my favorite meals lately has been salads! You can do so many different things with salads; it’s completely up to you.
You can make this meal as simple as buying pre-made salads at the store, to as complex as growing and preparing the food yourself. (I’m currently regrowing romaine hearts that I bought from the store, I’m hoping in a week or so I’ll be able to make a salad with it!)
The way I personally make my salad most of the time is super simple; I have romaine lettuce, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, and a little bit of Italian dressing. I know, I know, salad dressing is sometimes thought to be bad for you because it has oil in it. But, if it helps me eat all of those veggies, I think it’s alright to have a little bit of it; my 2 and 5 year old will even eat salad with me if it has croutons and a tiny bit of dressing on it! My 2 year old, surprisingly, even loves red onions!
If you don’t like red onions, like my husband, then don’t put them in. Simple as that.
This is honestly one of the most versatile meals there is!! Make it with the fruits and veggies you like!
When I have clementines I enjoy adding those to my salads, too. There’s really no limit to what you can add in!
Want nuts and seeds, add ’em. Tofu or beans, throw them in. If you’re not vegan you could probably even add eggs or cheese.
Be as creative as you want, or keep it low key! Even if you’re not trying to find a quick easy meal, this is a great meal to add to your everyday diet simply because of all the health benefits from eating the raw veggies. The more the better!
Oatmeal is another awesome versatile meal!
Add peanut butter, fruit, or even chocolate if you want; there’s really no wrong way to eat it!
It’s one of my youngest daughters’ favorite meals. I should really start experimenting with the oatmeal I make. I always seem to make the same oatmeal every time; cooked with water and then add in apple, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It’s delicious, but that is how I always make it and there’s so many other ways it can be made!
It could be cooked with soy milk, and there’s so many other fruits that could be added, or chocolate, peanut butter, nuts or seeds. You could make a huge beautiful breakfast bowl with oats as the base if you wanted to. Or, you could make it simple like I do.
If you don’t like warm oatmeal in the morning or are always in too much of a rush to make breakfast, then you could always make overnight oats. As the recipe sounds, you put them together before you go to bed then keep them in the fridge overnight to soak. No cooking involved! I’ve made overnight oats before without much success, but I’m willing to try again. I’m a little rusty on making overnight oats, so I don’t have a recipe that I use and love. This is a very simple option for breakfast, though, that even your kids could make! I would recommend searching for it on pinterest.
Pasta and veggies
I know, a lot of my suggestions are starting to seem vague because there a simply so many options to choose from for the meals I’m putting out there. But, that just means you’re getting way more than what you bargained for by clicking over to read this post!
Even for pasta and veggies, there are so many different ways to make this meal. Just thinking about the pasta you make; you could make veggie pasta, home made pasta, store bought pasta, edamame or whole wheat, rice pasta or regular!
There are so many different options.
Find some recipes that you like or create some new ones and write them down!
Do you want sauce on top? What kind; store bought or homemade? And that’s just for the pasta.
For the veggies portion of this meal you have all the veggies to choose from. Grab a bag of frozen mixed veggies and heat those up to go with the pasta.
Or, saute some of your favorites for a side dish!
You can have the veggies on the side or add them into the pasta!
Make a pasta salad if you want.
The choices are endless!! If you want to go super simple, one of my family’s (including my husband) favorite is simply angel hair spaghetti with mixed veggies (my husband doesn’t eat the veggies). We have different sauces on our pasta from each other, as well. But, that’s the thing with pasta; you can cater to each individual person when it comes to what’s on top! My two year old likes marinara sauce on hers; she gets so messy with it, though!
Another quick, and with endless variety, is a sandwich. So simple it may sometimes be forgotten. There’s an endless variety of breads you could use (including making your own), things to put inside, and ways of making it!
My older daughter’s favorite sandwich is probably the same as many kids’; peanut butter and jelly. Even with this simple sandwich there’s a ton of different ways you could make it. You could make your own peanut butter and jam, or use store bought, and same thing goes for the bread. If you’re not vegan, a grilled cheese sandwich would be a pretty quick meal, as well. Before I became vegan, this was one meal I knew everyone liked and I could whip up in a matter of minutes.
Now, being vegan, my favorite sandwich is tomato-avocado. I use toasted bread, spread avocado on both sides, put sliced tomato on one side and sprinkle garlic and sea salt over both sides…it is sooo good! My daughters love it, too. Although, both my daughters will eat almost anything if it has avocado on it! I’m not a big fan of avocado, but this sandwich is too good to deny. (*Hint- if you want your kids to love avocado so much that they will gladly eat it plain, have it be one of the first foods they try as babies. The first food my girls ate, other than home made baby cereal, was bananas, and then avocados, and they still love both!)
Ok, so, we only have a spiderman waffle iron, which I guess makes eating waffles a little bit more fun! My husband actually made us get it because he loves spiderman, plus it was on clearance for $7 at the time, and we didn’t have a waffle iron, so I was convinced. But, you don’t need an awesome waffle iron to make waffles. The first time I made waffles myself, I was actually amazed at how little time it took for them to be made. I was used to making pancakes on the stove and them taking forever because I would always make enough to freeze, too. But, with waffles, they’re made in no time!
The recipe I use is a vegan recipe and absolutely delicious. It’s also really easy to make; my older daughter and I loved them the first time I tried making them. The recipe I use, I found using pinterest and it was from the website theprettybee.com. Here’s a link to the amazing waffles my girls and I have fell in love with! They are soo good, just writing about them makes me want to go make some right now for breakfast!
Rice and Sweet Potato
Hey, look at that, there’s a little more straight forward meal! There’s not too many ways to make rice with sweet potato…at first glance…. But, I’ll keep it simple!
Our favorite way to have this meal, and make it quickly, is to first cook up some brown rice (you can use whatever kind you want, I usually have brown rice already cooked and in the fridge for quick meals). Then, I add some brown sugar to the rice (because everything tastes better with a little brown sugar)! That’s it for the rice. See, simple!
And, for the sweet potato, I put it in the microwave. Then when it’s cooled, I mash it up and serve it on the side. It compliments the brown sugar brown rice nicely because both are sweet. I actually make this so often that my 5 year old calls it brown sugar rice. Plus, with this name, she’s more likely to eat it and enjoy it!
There are certainly healthier ways to make this. Adding in some broccoli is certainly something to think about, or tofu.
And, you don’t have to have sweet potato with the rice to make it quick and healthy. Don’t be afraid to explore different flavors! When the movie Moana was released on Netflix (I don’t think there was a time when it wasn’t playing, at least during the first week it was on) I made a coconut pineapple flavored rice dish and it was loved by my girls. It had to have a coconut flavor in it because of that one song from the movie. If you’ve seen it, you know which one! So much for this suggestion to be straight forward and only have one meal suggestion. I guess it’s more versatile than it appears at first!
Another quick and easy meal, that can be completely vegan, believe it or not, is pizza! As long as you don’t have to make the dough on the spot, that is. Even if you do have to make dough on the spot, it shouldn’t take too much longer! (Although that all depends on your recipe.) But, once you have the dough, all you need to do is add the toppings and put it in the oven.
By the time you have the table set and the kids settled down for dinner, it should be just about ready. This is also a meal that they can help with or have some say in. There are so many different ways to make it, like most other items on this list!
You could make it the ‘normal’ way, with sauce and cheese, or you could add a whole rainbow of veggies and use non-dairy cheese or no cheese at all to make it vegan!
If you want this meal to be healthy, make sure you either make the dough yourself, buy whole wheat dough, or have an alternative crust made from cauliflower or some other veggie. DON’T buy frozen pizzas or pizza out, that would ruin this meal from being a quick and healthy option. Sure, it’d be quick, but not that healthy! (Of course, every once in awhile won’t hurt!)
Quesadillas, or I’m not sure what to call them when they don’t have cheese in them, are a super quick meal, almost as quick as making a sandwich!
Just get a pan, some tortilla shells and a bunch of veggies and other ingredients out, throw them together and heat them up. Personally, I replace the cheese with beans and nutritional yeast; the nutritional yeast makes it more cheese-like. If you’re not vegan, however, go ahead and use some cheese, just make sure to add a ton of veggies, as well. The veggies are what makes this meal so healthy!
These are also a great fast meal if you’re still breastfeeding. As long as you cut them up into bite size pieces and let them cool! I remember when I was in college and my older daughter was only a month or so old (before I stopped eating cheese while breastfeeding), this was one of my go to meals. I would load it up with peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms. And, since my daughter would not let me eat without nursing her, I was actually able to eat this while nursing her; at least more easily than other meals!
A word about staying on track with your health
Staying on the right track with your health and eating well can sometimes be a challenge and may cause you to go crazy with cravings. But, it doesn’t have to be that difficult!!
With these 8 simple meals you probably won’t even have to change too much about your current eating habits. Just add more veggies to your pizza, they’ll help fill you up and don’t add as much calories as cheese or meat. Also, veggies don’t have cholesterol and they have a ton of health benefits; same with fruit! (Go ahead and make your own dessert pizza’s, too!)
So, if you find yourself not able to think of something to eat and you have hungry kids waiting, try to remember one of these meals. Maybe even keep the ingredients on hand, just in case, and always make sure you have fruits and veggies, too. It doesn’t matter if you have fresh or frozen, either will do fine in most cases. If you’re new to eating a lot of fruits and veggies; I’d recommend frozen so you don’t get discouraged when you don’t eat them in time and have to throw them out!
You will find that the more prepared you are to eat well, whether it be stocking up on frozen veggies to quickly add as a side or keeping key ingredients in your home, the easier it will be to actually follow through with your plan to eating healthy. Creating a meal plan can certainly help, as well. So, make sure you grab my meal planning templates below to get started, if you haven’t already!
And, just in case you don’t have the energy or time to make a fancy healthy meal, keep the ingredients to some of these meals stocked!!
Share what quick meals get you through hectic days below in the comments!!
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