Busy? Tired? Don't know what to cook at the end of a long day? Here are 5 ingredients to keep in the house so you can always produce a quick, easy and healthy meal for yourself and/or your family.
Eggs are nutritious, easy and versatile. Mix them with veggies and a little milk to create delicious scrambled eggs or omelettes. Poach, boil or fry (in a little vegetable oil) and serve on multigrain or rye bread with some salad. Or make a delicious frittata by mixing eggs, veggies (freshly grated or leftover steamed or roast veg), a dash of milk, some flour and low fat cheese. Prepare in 2 minutes, then bake for 45 minutes.
2. Frozen Veggies and canned tomatoes (preferably reduced salt)
One thing to improve any diet is to eat more fruits and veggies. Veggies are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and they protect us from disease. They are low in calories so great for weight control.
If you don't have time to get anything fresh, don’t worry! Make sure the freezer is well stocked. Frozen veggies are still high in nutrients as they’re frozen straight from picking. To retain these nutrients make sure to steam or stir-fry rather than boiling your veggies.
Canned tomatoes can be the base for many quick, delicious meals; minestrone soup, pasta sauces, ratatouille and stews.
Aim for half your plate to be veggies.
3. Canned fish
Fish contains omega 3 fatty acids, which have been linked to disease prevention and are great for your brain, heart and eyes.
Try salmon or tuna on top of salad or pasta, make it into patties, or toast some in a sandwich or wrap. For sustainably caught fish look for the blue MSC fish symbol on the label.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains are the favourite energy for your brain and muscles. This includes basmati or brown rice, pasta, polenta, quinoa, oats, polenta and wholemeal/multi-grain breads/wraps or crackers. These foods should fill about 1/4 of your dinner plate. Keep a stock of whole grains in your cupboard. Team them with some lean meat, fish, eggs and veggies for a nutritious and easy meal.
5. Legumes – canned or dried beans, peas, lentils and tofu
Legumes (any peas or beans that aren’t green) are considered both vegetables and meat alternative, making them perfect for easy dinners. Four bean mix with some balsamic vinegar is a tasty salad. Try a baked bean toasted sandwich. Firm tofu (found in the fridge section of the supermarket) is great in stir-fries with veggies. Lentils or red kidney beans are delicious in a quick sauce; just add some canned tomatoes and fresh or dried mixed herbs. Delicious with pasta, polenta or on top of rice.
What are your essential ingredients?