Sunday, 19 January 2014

:: 5 top tips for fast healthy eating ::

We're all guilty of getting home when it's right on tea time, and not knowing what to cook or where to start. You only know that you don't want to be chopping & stirring for the next hour. Plus the family is expecting something in the next 5 minutes (don't you love how food just 'appears' for them all the time?). So it's GOT to be something quick. This usually means it involves bread, 2 minute noodles or a trip back out to KFC. Yeah? 

Over time, I have found that there are ways to make super fast meals that are full of fresh foods, filling & nutritious. And a lot of the time, they are just as fast (or faster) than cooking up a bag of starchy, bloating pasta. Some of the time it comes from confidence in the kitchen and the ability to cook without a recipe, but other times it really is a matter of having the right things on hand to be able to create something that doesn't revolve around empty refined carbs.

1. Keep "long life" fresh veggies on hand.

That's the worst thing about veggie shopping, isn't it? You need to know in advance what you're going to do with that bok choy or those capsicums, because if you don't, they end up being avoided in the fridge till they go rotten. So you don't buy them. Next thing you know you're looking at a fridge with nothing fresh in it. There are a couple of specific fresh foods I buy even when I don't have a clue when I'm going to use them. They end up always saving the day: Carrots, Drumhead Cabbage (half), Pumpkin. These 3 keep for weeks I find. Even the cabbage. Usually it needs it's cut edge shaving off (goes a bit brown) but under that it's perfect. Carrots & cabbage fry up really well together with a few spices (or even just butter and salt) and either had on their own or served with something else (rissole, fritter, frozen fish fillet etc). Or they can be the start of a stir fry. Throw anything in and soy sauce makes it better! At least there are fresh veggies happening!

2. Canned beans and lentils.

Keep at least 2 cans each of chickpeas, cannellini beans, lentils & kidney beans on hand at all times. They are pre-cooked, so they only need warming really, making them faster to get on the table than chicken (which has to be fully cooked before consumption). They are a source of protein when you need to make sure your daily needs are met (and you've eaten slack all day otherwise). Throw these into a soup, salad, or in that cabbage/carrot concoction!

Recipe idea:

Savoury Spiced Cauli & Silverbeet
1/4 thinly sliced (basically just broken up) cauliflower set to fry & soften in coconut oil. Flip a couple of times. Drain & rinse a can of cannelini beans and add to the pan to warm. Meanwhile roughly chop some silverbeet (5 leaves) & add to the pan, giving it all a stir. Give a few generous shakes of paprika, cumin, tumeric & black pepper. Salt to taste. Wait till silverbeet has wilted and serve! 

3. Non-boring Salads

I cannot stand a boring salad. Nor one that still leaves me hungry. If a salad can be made into an entire meal, that's fantastic. I find a good place to start is that pumpkin that you always keep on hand. Attack it first - peel, chop into 1 inch chunks (or a little bigger), lay on a baking tray, smear with some oil (coconut is best) and bake for 10mins on 200degrees while you look at the rest of the salad. Any salad leaves you have (or just a lettuce ripped up) goes into the bottom of each persons bowl first. Chop some almonds or walnuts roughly (these can be slid into the oven for a little roast too if you like, though some of the goodness will be lost). Check your pumpkin, and flip and bake for another 10mins if needed. When done, place on lettuce and continue to fill the bowl with whatever else you can find... drained tuna, lentils, chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, nuts and even grated cheese. Season or add dressing if you like. I find the roasted pumpkin really turns it into a 'meal'.

4. Rice Paper Rolls

These keep in the cupboard for months. Buy some and have them on hand at all times! You can put anything in them. Thinly slice your carrots that you have on hand, cabbage if you want (though I'd opt for shredded lettuce if you have it), tuna from a tin, cooked meat, deli meats, leftover dinner from last night (bolognaise etc), or beans! Dip in soy sauce (or tamari for a GF option) for flavour.

Recipe idea:

Thai Turkey Rice Paper Rolls

5. Hit up the "recipe" section on The Stone Soup!

I'm not getting paid for this (though maybe I should be!) but I'd highly recommend you spend time on the blog, "The Stone Soup". She specialises in this very thing - simple, fast healthy eating. Her recipes all contain no more than 5 ingredients, and can usually be on the table in under 15mins. In fact, she has a book (widely published) called "5 Ingredients - 10mins". Along with all her recipes (which are catagorised by main ingredient, handy!) she has tips for minimising food waste, keeping within your budget, pantry organisation, etc etc! Read a couple of articles and you'll be changed I promise. And try those super simple recipes!

I hope you've been inspired to rethink the takeaway tonight, or the cheese toasties. Just try experimenting and you'll be surprised how tasty things can be.


1 comment:

  1. Great tips here Hannah, thanks for sharing :)



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