We are all busy with work, school, and kids. Sometimes it is hard to figure out things that we should be cooking for us and our kids and fit it in our lives everyday because we are all so busy. Here are 5 foods that are pretty quick to make that are good for you to eat!
If you can spare up to 5 minutes of your time, smoothies are a great breakfast or snack. If you want to have a healthy breakfast option, check out my Mixed Berry Smoothie recipe. This takes at the most 5 minutes to make. Now let’s talk to basics on a smoothie. A good mixture has veggies, fruit, and milk/yogurt/protein of some kind, especially if you are going to eat it as a meal. So you don’t have to follow my recipe, but you can create your own. Get creative. What types of fruit do you like? You can add spinach to practically any smoothie and you won’t taste it. Spinach provides great nutrition for your body! One of my favorites is a strawberry/kiwi smoothie. While I have yet to find frozen kiwi, I’ll buy fresh and freeze them so that they don’t go bad. It is the perfect mixture of sweet and tart. You can throw any fruit in a smoothie and be satisfied. If you are allergic to milk, try the alternatives (i.e. almond, coconut, silk, cashew milk). This is perfect for those on-the-go moments where you need something quick and easy.
Salads look time consuming and hard. If you think making a salad takes a lot of time, you are wrong! It takes 5-10 minutes to make a really good salad. There are many different types of salads but I like to narrow it down to 2: fruit salad and traditional salad. Here is my recipe for a fruit salad: Berry & Feta Cheese Salad. Here is my recipe for a more traditional salad: Grilled Chicken Salad. So the basics of a traditional salad are lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots, cheese, (meat if you like- I’d say grilled chicken), olives, peppers, and any other vegetables that you like. Restaurants makes salads look like works of art, so we buy them from a restaurant instead of making it at home when it is so easy to buy the ingredients at the store and make A LOT of salads. If you go to the store and see the romaine lettuce on the stalk and know that you don’t have the time to chop it, they have the bags of romaine lettuce already chopped up for you. The same goes for iceberg lettuce. Spinach comes in a bag or in a big box.
Let’s talk about tomatoes. It can be time consuming to chop up tomatoes. I like to buy cherry tomatoes and just mix them in with my salads. It saves time while still getting what I want in my salad. Cucumbers aren’t necessary, but I take the minute to chop mine (it’ll take longer if you choose to peel them). You can buy the frozen grilled chicken and just microwave and put on top or you can grill it on the stove. You can buy cheese that is already shredded – choose low-fat cheese! Practically every item that you want in a salad can be bought already chopped, but it will cost a little extra. So, if you look at this, you are looking at 5-10 minutes to make a salad. How can you beat that? You’ll wait 10 minutes in a drive through for a salad that could have been sitting there for days.
Fruit salads take a little longer because you have to chop the fruit, but other than that it should take the same amount of time to make the salad or you can buy already cut up fruit!
3. GRILLED CHICKEN / SEAFOOD
As a dietitian, I’m always telling my patients that they need to make the switch from fried foods to baked foods. Do you think that it takes longer to bake or fry food? In fact, it is quicker to put the food on a counter-top grill (think George Foreman grill) or stove top and cook it until it is done. It takes about 10-15 minutes to bake fish/seafood. It can take up to an hour for chicken to bake if you have a large chicken breast. If you have a large chicken breast, I recommend slicing it in half to make it thinner and cook quicker. You can then put it on a George Foreman grill (or similar brand) and let it cook. The reason that this is quick is because the heat is coming from both sides. This doesn’t need to be on a high heat because it’ll burn, but it does cut down the timing.
Now, let’s go through the process of frying food. You have to get your oil out and let it heat up. You also have to make a batter and flour mixture. Then you have to dip the meat into the batter and flour mixture before you can fry it. You also can only do this in small batches. So while one batch is done, you have to repeat this process over until you are done. This can take 20-30 minutes by itself or longer depending on what you are frying. You may also have to make more batter or add more flour. Think about this too, if you are even 10 minutes into frying a batch, your first batch is COLD at this point. You will also use less dishes by baking instead of frying!
I almost didn’t want to include this one on my post, but I felt like I needed to talk about hamburgers. We all eat out at some point. It doesn’t take long to make a hamburger at your house with QUALITY ground meat that will taste amazing. The basics of a hamburger are ground meat (which I say you need to get 90/10 ground meat: the less fat the better), eggs, and breadcrumbs. You mix those three together (with whatever seasonings – salt/pepper) and you have a hamburger. That George Foreman grill comes in handy when you are making a hamburger at home because it cooks both the top and bottom at the same time. You can also cook it on your stove top. If you purchase your bread, lettuce, tomatoes, and ketchup from the store, you can whip up some hamburger for your whole family in 10 minutes. I’ve waited in a line at a fast-food restaurant longer then that at one point in my life. Also, you don’t have to worry about workers messing up your order. Pair this will a salad and you have a quick and easy dinner that your family will love. 😉
5. MACARONI & CHEESE
The notorious Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese is a staple in most people’s houses because kids love it. Heck, my kids LOVE macaroni. With all of the extra ingredients involved in that little box, I don’t make it or like it. It is much easier for me to cook it from scratch. Do you really believe that the yellow packet of cheese is good for you or for your kids? The answer to that should be NO. So the basics of macaroni and cheese are the same as the box, but you need real cheese instead of a packet of cheese. You need pasta that has been boiled (which you also have to do with the boxed macaroni), butter or margarine, milk (I choose skim), low-fat cheese, and salt/pepper to taste. SEE! The only difference between the box and the homemade is the REAL cheese. Can you imagine cooking macaroni and cheese from scratch in the same amount of time as the box with REAL food? The thing with this is to make sure you portion it and not eat a huge bowl. To make this even better, chop up some broccoli and throw it in there! Pair this will some fruit and a salad for the perfect meal for your family.
These are just 5 foods that are easy to make, but many think these are difficult to make. It is also quicker to make these items at your house because you don’t have to place your order, wait in line, check out, and then leave. Ultimately, it is also CHEAPER to make food at your house. A salad at a restaurant can cost you $10 for one and cost around $10 for 5-6 at home. That decision is easy to make!
Let me know if you have any other food that you think is hard to make and I’ll try to post my recipe for it that way you can follow it!