In an ideal world, we’d always have plenty of time to whip up and savor a gourmet meal. But in the real world, we often take what we can get and scarf it down in record time.
Luckily, making quick meals doesn’t mean we have to opt for processed, high-calorie food. If anyone knows how to make healthy food fast, it’s the world’s top (read: crazy busy) health experts. Check out their go-to 10-minute recipes.
1. Chia Seed Pudding
“I wake up super early as a trainer, so it’s always kind of a rush. But I want to be sure I get a complete meal (i.e. not a shake).” — Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness
Ingredients: 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk, dash of cinnamon, fruit of choice
Directions: Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate for 10 minutes, and garnish with fruit or nuts.
2. Avocado Coconut Toast
“I love a refreshing mix of textures and a combination of sweet and salty ingredients. This avocado coconut toast keeps me full for hours and provides the energy I need for training sessions.” — Anna Kaiser, Founder & CEO of AKT InMotion
Ingredients: 1 slice Ezekiel Bread, 2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 avocado, 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional: slices of tomato or red onion)
Directions: Spread a thin layer of coconut oil on bread, top with mashed avocado, and sprinkle with chia seeds and sea salt. Top with slices of tomato or red onion, if desired.
3. Protein Pancakes
“Mornings are usually really chaotic in the Bauer house, so I created a hearty breakfast that I can whip up in less than four minutes (trust me, I’ve been timed by my kiddos). My protein pancake is like a bit of a.m. magic. Enjoy for just 270 calories and nearly 20 grams of filling protein.” — Joy Bauer, R.D., NBC’s TODAY show nutritionist and founder of Nourish Snacks
Ingredients: 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, 4 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chopped fruit
Directions: Mix all the ingredients together, then pour the batter into a nonstick skillet to form one gigantic pancake. Cook until batter begins to bubble—about 1 to 2 minutes—then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Top with your favorite fruit.
4. Kale Salad
“This kale salad recipe is a game-changer for those who are vegan and seeking a hearty meal without feeling weighed down. I love it because it’s fresh and light yet very sustainable. I avoid anything that may give me a midday crash, and this certainly helps me power through the day feeling energized.” — Eric Helms, founder and CEO of Juice Generation
Ingredients: 1/2 avocado, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pinch of sea salt and black pepper, 2 cups kale, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/8 cups raisins, 1/8 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Directions: Mash avocado and mix with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Tear the kale with your hands. Then massage avocado mixture onto kale until it’s well coated. Add shredded carrots, raisins, sunflower seeds, and quinoa. Toss salad and serve.
5. Smoked Salmon Sandwich
“There’s nothing like a sandwich for a quick and easy meal. One of my favorites is smoked salmon on toasted whole wheat bread with hummus, avocado, red onion, and tomato. It’s the perfect mixture of healthy fats, fiber, and protein to help keep me satiated.” — Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet
Ingredients: 2 ounces thinly-sliced smoked salmon, 1 tablespoon hummus, 1/2 avocado, chopped, 1/8 cup chopped red onion chopped, 1/4 cup sliced tomato, 2 slices whole-wheat bread
Directions: Toast bread and spread hummus on top. Then layer smoked salmon, avocado, red onion, and tomato.
6. Tuna Salad Sandwich
“Yes, it comes out of a can, but the cheaper canned varieties are usually lower in mercury than albacore and have a richer flavor.” — Marion Nestle, Ph.D., Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University
Ingredients: 1 can chunk light tuna, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mayo, 1 slice of tomato, romaine lettuce for garnish, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread
Directions: Mix tuna, celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mayo in a bowl. Spread on bread and garnish with lettuce and tomato.
7. Whole-Grain Stuffed Pita
“I always try to sit down and eat, even just for a few minutes, but sometimes life gets in the way. I love this because you can pull it together fast and eat it as you are dashing out the door.” — Ellie Krieger, R.D., best-selling author and host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite
Ingredients: 1 whole-grain pita, 3 tablespoons hummus, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup sliced tomato, 1/2 cup sliced cucumber (optional: olives, pine nuts)
Directions: Cut whole-grain pita in half, then stuff with remaining ingredients.
8. Steamed Kale Bowl
“My favorite on-the-go meal is a steamed kale bowl. It's a great way to use leftovers, and it’s easy to pack the night before while cleaning up from dinner.” — Dana Angelo White, R.D., nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com and sports dietitian and clinical professor at Quinnipiac University
Ingredients: 2 cups kale, 1/2 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup canned white beans (drained), 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese
Directions: In a microwave-safe bowl, layer kale, broccoli, white beans, and pepper jack cheese. Microwave for a minute and serve.
9. Raw Salad with Russian Fig Dressing
“Top off the meal-size salad with a fresh fruit dessert, such as a mango or orange.” — Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of Eat to Live
Ingredients: 2 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup kale crisps, 1/4 cup red beans, 1/8 cup whole-wheat croutons, 1/2 avocado (sliced), 1/2 cup chopped tomato, 4 tablespoons tomato sauce, 4 tablespoons almond butter, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, 2 dried figs
Directions: Mix greens, kale crisps, beans, croutons, avocado, and tomato in a bowl. Then use a food processor to mix remaining ingredients into a creamy dressing.
10. Mason Jar Salad With Chicken and Bacon
“The trick is to put the heavy veggies and dressing on the bottom, the protein in the middle, and the lettuce on top. This way, hours later, your lettuce won't be soggy! When you're ready to eat it, just give it a shake, and empty it into a bowl.” — Lisa Lillien, founder of Hungry Girl
Ingredients: 1/2 cup chopped apple, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette dressing, 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 4 ounces cooked and chopped skinless chicken breast, 1 tablespoon pre-cooked, crumbled bacon, 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
Directions: In a small bowl, evenly coat apple in lemon juice. In a one-quart wide-mouth mason jar, combine dressing, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Top with chicken, bacon, apple, and lettuce. Cover and refrigerate. When you're ready to eat, give the jar a shake, and flip contents into a medium bowl, or eat right from the jar.
“One of my go-to recipes I use a lot—especially when I’m teaching a week of workshops or a training—is a version of kitchari. It’s yummy and very much like comfort food.” — Jeanmarie Paolillo, teacher and trainer at Yoga Works, author of Vibe-A-Thon
Ingredients: 1/4 cup red lentils, 1/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice, 1 diced carrot, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup frozen green peas, 1/4 cup frozen edamame, pinch of salt
Directions: Bring lentils, rice, carrots, and water to a boil. Bring down to a simmer, cover, and cook until there is still a little bit of water remaining. Add peas and edamame. Turn off the heat, cover pot again, and let it sit for five minutes. Season to taste.
12. Bacon, Egg, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
“This over-the-top bacon, egg, avocado, and tomato salad keeps all the flavor of a BLT without the bread. With the addition of creamy hard-boiled eggs and avocado, what's not to like?” — Mark Sisson, founder of Mark’s Daily Apple and author of The Primal Blueprint
Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado (chopped), 2 hard-boiled eggs (chopped), 1 medium-size diced tomato, 1 tablespoon mayo, juice from one lemon wedge, 3 cooked and crumbled pieces of bacon, salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Mix all ingredients together, stirring just enough to turn some of the avocado and egg into mush.
13. Tuna Salad With a Twist
“If you don't have any peppers on hand, dump in some salsa for some texture and flavor.” — Joseph Venarre, co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Kettlebell Cardio™, and Race Day Domination
Ingredients: 1 pouch tuna, 1/2 avocado, 1 red pepper sliced
Directions: Mash avocado, then mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.
Special thanks to Ball® Canning for providing mason jars.