You know the facts: Preparing meals at home is good for your health and your wallet. But let’s face it — you have other priorities taking up space in your schedule and minimal free time, so spending hours or even minutes in the kitchen isn’t always at the top of your to-do list.
So many things can crowd out meal prep (think: long hours at work, significant others, keeping in touch with family, maybe even a workout here and there).
But before giving in to endless Seamless clicking, becoming a regular at the Chinese place near the office, or living off frozen meals, know that in the time it takes to watch your favorite cat videos on YouTube, you can make a nutritious home-cooked meal.
All these recipes are easy and healthy — and ready in 10 minutes, tops. For every meal of the day, including make-and-take breakfasts and lunches, this is fast food that health experts would approve of.
Forget flavored oatmeal packets and go au naturel with this oatmeal that’s reminiscent of a cobbler. With fresh peaches, chopped pecans or your nut of choice, and cinnamon, it will satisfy your sweet tooth so well that you may find yourself making it for dessert.
Avocado toast is all the rage, but adding a poached egg takes it to a new level and completes the trifecta of nutrition: protein, fats, and carbs. Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs sprinkled on top make it look and taste fancy.
A stack of homemade flapjacks doesn’t take that long to make. These are high-protein and free of gluten, but they still taste amazing and fluffy, thanks to bananas, oats, vanilla, and of course blueberries.
A Southern classic, cheesy grits don’t have to be a complete fat and calorie bomb. Cook them in water rather than milk and omit the butter. But keep the cheddar: The 2 tablespoons per serving here keeps the dish gooey and rich and provides almost 10 percent of your daily calcium.
Then add eggs for staying power, chopped chives for their slightly oniony flavor, and garlic, which makes everything taste better.
Fabulous as it is, quinoa takes some time to cook. While some people have said it can be nuked, that takes more than 10 minutes in most microwaves. But quinoa flakes, which are similar to oats but are a complete protein, can be ready in a flash.
Cook them in your preferred milk with dried berries, and then top away with nuts, nut butter, seeds, and fresh fruit.
When properly prepared, tofu is anything but blah — and this version provides as much protein as a scrambled egg. Toss the vegan staple with cheesy nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, and paprika (buy smoked for even more flavor). Even egg lovers will enjoy it.
This healthy, autumn-inspired oatmeal gets its pie-like flavor from pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and vanilla. A sprinkling of dried cranberries adds natural sweetness.
A breakfast sandwich can be so much more than a smashed bacon, egg, and cheese eaten behind the wheel. Yes, this one calls for a fork and knife, but it’s worth it.
Toasted bread is topped with spicy arugula, a good source of vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. Then add an egg, salty ricotta — it has more protein than cottage cheese — Parmesan, and thyme. It’s a sandwich like no other.
Toss your favorite breakfast meat (or skip it if you’re vegetarian), salsa, eggs, and cheese in a mug and zap it for 1 minute. Stir, and then cook for another 30 to 45 seconds.
Season to taste and top with more cheese. Breakfast has never been easier to make — or to clean up.
A delicious dinner for one, this noodle bowl has all the flavors of your fave quick-cook noodle cups but none of the icky additives. Rice noodles provide the bulk of this vegetarian-friendly bowl, which uses boxed butternut squash soup as a base for fast cooking.
Pea shoots taste like, well, peas, and are rich in vitamins A and C and folic acid. If you can’t find them, you can use spinach.
Rather than top a salad with bagged croutons, whip up this Tuscan version with toasted pita bread.
There’s the usual good-alone-but-better-together suspects expected in something called “Mediterranean”: tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and olives. The olives are key since the fats in them help your body absorb the nutrients in the veggies.
This colorful, crunchy salad is just what the doctor ordered when leafy-greens-based varieties are boring you.
Crunchy coleslaw mix and dried ramen noodles (swap in crunchy rice noodles for a less-processed option) are tossed with avocado for healthy fat, edamame for protein, and mango for vision-protecting beta-carotene.
Leftover chicken finds a new home in this quick burrito. Mix it with avocado and cheese before wrapping it up in a tortilla and cooking it. We’d take it one step further and add some peppers, onions, and maybe some greens to the filling. Bonus: Make a few at once and freeze the extras for an even faster lunch next time.
Bored with tuna salad? Try canned salmon mixed with creamy cannellini beans, veggies, and fresh herbs for a super easy meal that’s as delicious on its own as it is in a pita or with whole-grain crackers.
If you always reach for the wings on game day, this is the lunch quesadilla for you. It’s spicy, creamy, and loaded with flavor. Black beans bump up the fiber and protein, and green onions add a little extra zing. Feel free to scale back on the sour cream or use Greek yogurt instead.
Not only good for guacamole, moist desserts, and rich smoothies, avocados are designed to be stuffed!
Remove the pit and fill the center with a mixture of tomato, feta, onion, and herbs for a filling meal that’s pretty enough to serve at a brunch. After all, not every breakfast-meets-lunch recipe should take hours to prepare.
Italian and Mexican favorites team up for a mashup that’s better than anything mixed by a DJ. The how-to is pretty obvious: Fill a tortilla with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil; cook until the cheese is melted; and drizzle with balsamic glaze for a flavor-packed final touch.
While this recipe uses liquid eggs, you can substitute two whole eggs since the cholesterol and fat in the real thing are nothing to worry about. Add whatever herbs — fresh or dried — appeal to you, since they all have different flavors and health benefits.
Like pizza and mashed potatoes, frittata tastes just as good cold as it does hot, so go ahead and double the recipe and eat the other half for breakfast tomorrow.
This isn’t just another turkey sandwich. Smear mayo and heart-healthy avocado on a tortilla and roll it up with lettuce, provolone, and tomato. This recipe is soft, creamy, and crunchy, but view it as a starting place and play with other fillings.
The addition of cashews — a good source of bone-building phosphorus, energy-producing magnesium, and other minerals — makes pesto incredibly creamy. Make the sauce in a food processor, spiralize zucchini (or use a vegetable peeler), and combine the two. Then dig in!
Fried rice is a dream for cooks pressed for time, and this version is no exception. Leftover brown rice works best for this, but if you’re in a pinch, microwaveable rice stands in well.
Peas, eggs, and corn get tossed with salty soy sauce and rice vinegar. Mix in any of your other favorite vegetables, too. You really can’t go wrong.
Because it cooks so quickly, shrimp is the perfect protein for busy evenings. Season it with paprika, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon (yes, cinnamon — it adds warmth) for maximum flavor, and sauté it in butter for just minutes.
Toss with fresh lime juice and a homemade honey-lime dipping sauce that tempers the heat of the shrimp.
Crunchy oven-baked corn tortillas star in this meal. Once they’re golden and crispy, top them with refried beans or any basic beans, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, and avocado. This is one recipe to have fun with and see what combinations you can create.
With 5 ingredients and 10 minutes, dinner is ready. Cooking the broccoli with a Parmesan rind infuses cheesy flavor into every spoonful, and a touch of soy adds umami — that savory flavor that you can’t quite describe but taste hints of (in a good way).
This pureed soup packs vitamins A, B-6, and C, plus phytochemicals that may fend off cancer.
A complete seafood dinner in 10 minutes? Oh, yes. While the salmon sears on the stove, toss arugula with a lemon–olive oil vinaigrette, cubed avocado, and Parmesan.
Once the fish is done, plate it on top of the salad. Your heart will thank you, since two servings of fatty fish weekly may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
There’s a reason rice and beans is such a popular dish: It’s inexpensive and easy. But it can also be boring. Not so with this flavorful take.
Traditional Latin flavorings like sofrito, cumin, and chili powder are added to cooked rice. Toss in green chile peppers for heat and black beans for protein and you have a full meal in no time.
27. Low-Carb Chili
When you want chili and you want it now, pull this recipe out. Using your favorite store-bought salsa speeds things up, and there’s not even any dicing or chopping involved. Use ground lean beef or turkey, and top with your favorite fixings like sour cream, corn, avocado, or fresh-squeezed lime juice.
Forget frozen pizza or delivery: This pie is ready even faster! Use a whole-wheat pita as the crust, and top it with barbecue sauce, red onion, mozzarella, and precooked chicken — leftover or rotisserie from the store works well.
Microwave until the cheese is perfectly melted, and then go ahead — eat the whole thing!
Stir-fries are perfect when you want a healthy meal fast. Plus, they’re an easy way to pack in vegetables.
This recipe includes onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and 2 cups of spinach per serving — that alone provides about a third of the daily recommendation of vitamin A, plus loads of vitamin K and some potassium, nutrients that are important for the health of your eyes, bones, and heart.