The dilemma – you want a healthy dinner … but you don’t feel like cooking.
So you’ve just got in after work, you’ve had a long day, and you don’t feel like cooking. Or maybe you feel off color but you’re still hungry. Or maybe you’ve run out of energy after running round after a toddler all day.
You recognize the situation I’m sure, or something very similar. We all have days like that. It’s the day when healthy eating resolutions can go out of the window because you just want to eat without cooking, or you want something sugary to cheer yourself up. Deep down though you know that a healthy meal will be better for you in the long run. If you snack on junk food or get a takeaway you won’t feel better and you might even have feelings of guilt or failure that you’ve ruined a healthy diet. Of course one takeaway doesn’t ruin a healthy diet, but if it happens too often, things can start to slip.
So here are my top tips to help out with healthy dinners on those evenings where you want the meal to be low or no effort:
- Keep packets of frozen vegetables in – the ones you steam for a couple of minutes in the microwave. They have just as many vitamins as fresh vegetables and ironically may be fresher.
- Baked potatoes – a potato will do in the microwave in 15 minutes. Use as an accompaniment or top with cottage cheese and chives for a main meal.
- A tin of baked beans is invaluable. Heat up in a pan for 5 minutes, or 2 minutes in the microwave. Serve on wholemeal toast, or with baked potato and grated cheese.
- Always have some eggs in the fridge. It’s easy to whip up scrambled eggs on toast, or a quick omelette with something like cheese, ham, mushroom, or tomato.
- Keep some breaded chicken or fish fillets in the freezer, which cook in about 20 minutes in the oven. Serve with low fat oven chips which can go on the same tray in the oven, together with baked beans or frozen vegetables. Choose breaded rather than battered products as they are healthier, and try and avoid the budget ranges as the quality of meat will not be very high.
- Keep a carton of fresh soup in the fridge, or tins of soup in the cupboard. Simply heat up and serve with fresh bread. Watch the salt content of the soup as it can be high.
- Investigate the supermarket ready meals section. Most of them do healthier ranges these days. Buy a couple and keep them in the freezer for emergencies. Make sure they can be cooked from frozen in the oven.
Just remember, if you give in and order a takeaway its not the end of the world. Just make sure it doesn’t happen every day!