Lightning Fast Healthy Dinners

What do you do when you're late home from work, super tired or just can't be bothered to cook dinner? While it can be tempting to reach for the take away menu, there are a number of no-fuss, speedy dinners you can make yourself. Lightning fast meals which are healthier than any take away.

However if you're going to make speedy dinners, you need the right ingredients. And you need them in the house before you get tired and too busy. Especially if you're like me, where the last thing you want is go food shopping at the end of a long day.

In my opinion there are two main categories of ingredients you need for speedy meals - those which give lots of flavour, and those which make up the bulk of the actual meal.

Ingredients which have lots of flavour in themselves will help you produce a tasty meal, without intensive cooking. If you're making a lightning fast meal you don't have time to slowly tease the flavour out of ingredients. Instead you want foods which add instant flavour to your meal.

For example: Spice mixes like chermoula and harissa, fresh herbs, capers, olives, feta cheese, preserved lemons, sun-dried tomatoes.

However, if you're going to make dinner you'll also need foods which make up a meal, ie vegetables, some kind of protein food and grains. For lightning fast meals, I choose pre-prepared, frozen or canned versions, so there's minimal preparation needed.

For example: Frozen vegetables, canned legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc), couscous, wholegrain bread, tinned fish, purchased barbecue chicken, eggs.

From these ingredients you can make a whole range of speedy meals. However, cooking more and cutting back on take away, also requires a mindset change.
  • You'll need to know in advance what you're going to make on a busy night. You might even have practised the dish beforehand.
  • Get prepared so you have the right foods in your house - add them to your shopping list this week.
  • Push yourself slightly to actually do it. On the night, you probably won't feel like making your lightning fast meal. However if you push yourself slightly you can do it. And you'll feel so much better for it.

As Joanna Blythman says "Every meal that you take back under your control by cooking yourself, the better your health and your spirits will be, and the more pleasure you will get from the act of eating".

What's your favourite lightning fast meal?

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The Everyday Kitchen
Food advice for a busy life
A blog about food, healthy eating, seasonal ingredients and how to eat well in a busy life.

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A blog about food, healthy eating, seasonal ingredients and how to eat well in a busy life.