Healthy No-Prep Recipes for the Days When You Just Can’t

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These days, it’s understandable when it comes to preparing refined (delicious! healthy!) meals.

Maybe the COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home stressful while your kids are arguing in the background. Or, financial stress, an uncertain future, and lack of social interaction are affecting your mental health.

Regardless of your pandemic situation, you may have many days without the motivation to find a healthy home-cooked dinner until around 5 p.m.

i’m with you right now

As a work-from-home parent with three kids who are now going to school online, I haven’t quite jumped up from my laptop to cook lately.

But as a nutritionist, for me, the health of our meals is still as important as nutrition.

Through some trial and error, I’ve found that many recipes that can be done with minimal effort and lightning fast actually feed us pretty well.

Here’s everything you need to know to shorten the road to healthy no-prep dinners.

make up
Having healthy meals ready at all times isn’t without a little forethought — mostly in the form of conscious grocery shopping.

Stock up on these handy tips to set yourself up for no-prep meal success.

protein
smoked salmon
Legumes, such as chickpeas or hummus, black beans, cannellini beans, or pinto beans
roast chicken
turkey or fish burger
Egg
Tofu
block cheese, grated and shredded cheese
strengthen
Whole Wheat Bread and Crumbs
frozen corn
instant brown rice
Frozen gnocchi (made from wheat or vegetables like cauliflower or sweet potato)
Premade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, Naan and Pita
quick pasta like angel hair, tortellini, or clams
fruits and vegetables
baby carrots and other pre-cut vegetables such as peppers or zucchini
frozen vegetables, such as peas, carrots, spinach, and green beans
Frozen Vegetable Spirals Like Zucchini and Butternut Squash
Bags of leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, or romaine lettuce
Wrap Salad with Cabbage, Carrots, or Broccoli
Canned and Dried Fruit
berry
Simple Flavor Additives
mustard
mayonnaise
olive oil
Vinegars such as balsamic, red and white wine
Dried Herbs and Spices
grated parmesan cheese
salsa
With these ingredients ready, here are 17 delicious dishes you can try. Whether you’re looking for a salad, soup, or main course, I’ve got you covered.

salad
Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
Think creatively! Canned tuna is usually mostly used in sandwiches, but it’s an excellent protein to add to a quick and easy salad—like this Mediterranean-inspired meal.

You can find the recipe here.

Apple Salad with Chicken and Cherries
Grilled chicken, apples, and dried cherries quickly complete the sweetness of this delicious salad.

Undried cranberries are a more economical (but still rich in antioxidants) berry option.

You can find the recipe here.

Mexican Salad
Full disclosure: This salad needs a little chopping, but it’s worth it when you get a bite of perfectly creamy avocado and juicy tomatoes.

Use a bag of pre-cut romaine lettuce to make things easier. If you really don’t like it at dinner, skip the homemade dressing and opt for the bottled olive oil variety.

You can find the recipe here.

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soup
Cold Melon Winter Melon Soup
The instructions for this flavorful ice-cold soup couldn’t be simpler: Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. I scoff at that!

You can find the recipe here.

15 Minute Vegetable Tofu Miso Soup
Fermented foods like miso are linked to a stronger immune system — so this easy Japanese classic is a pandemic win-win.

Serve with ready-to-eat brown rice for extra fiber and complex carbohydrates.

You can find the recipe here.

5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup
They put me on “five ingredients” (and “20 minutes”).

This easy soup relies on the rich flavor of prepared salsa for its Southern magic, while canned black beans ensure a quick cook time.

You can find the recipe here.

succulent main course
Healthier Deli Boards
You might not be throwing any celebrations anytime soon, but the deli board always seems to get the party spirit going.

Create custom meat and cheese trays with healthy ingredients like dried apricots, grapes, graham crackers, and hummus.

You can find the recipe here.

Herb Tuna in Heirloom Tomatoes
Summer is the season for old tomatoes. Get the most out of this low-carb, allergy-friendly recipe for freaky beauties.

For a fuller meal, serve with cheesy toast or green salad.

You can find the recipe here.

Smoked Salmon and Peas with Creamy Gnocchi
Seemingly elegant for a simple dinner? Yes, please!

With just six ingredients, this recipe whips up a meal that’s chic enough for company but quick enough for a low-energy weeknight.

You can find the recipe here.

Sheet Pan Turkey Sausage and Vegetables
If you haven’t explored the vast world of Tin Pan, now is the time. I like to think of these easy dinners as “chop and plop.”

Chop up the protein and veggies, place on a baking sheet and place in the oven. did!

You can find the recipe here.

Balsamic Stew
Toss some toppings in your slow cooker at lunchtime to make dinner ahead. In the evening, you will head to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal.

This easy roast requires few ingredients and is easier with baby carrots and potatoes small enough to use on a single slice.

You can find the recipe here.

Easy Chicken GyrosFried chicken saved the day (again)! By assembling these gyros with pre-sliced ​​pita, crumbled feta, and store-bought tzatziki, head to Greece with no prep.

You can find the recipe here.

meatless entrees

 

Pesto Caprese Grilled Cheese
Kids and adults alike will love this super-fine grilled cheese made with store-bought pesto and sliced ​​tomatoes.

Shake some veggies out of the bag and you’ve got a complete meal.

You can find the recipe here.

Zucchini Noodles with Beans, Feta and Lemon
Don’t have the time (or the will) to spiralize your zucchini on an after-get off work Wednesday? Thaw frozen “zoodles” for the base of this healthy vegetarian main dish.

You can find the recipe here.

Flatbread Vegetarian Pizza
Make pizza night more fun — and faster — with scones for the crust.

Sprinkle some veggies and cheese on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes for a nutritious, versatile meal.

You can find the recipe here.

Spicy Chickpea Wraps with Spinach and Avocado
Fact: Sriracha makes everything better (or at least spicier).

Turn up the heat — or turn down the heat, depending on your preference — and wrap in delicious green chickpea rolls.

You can find the recipe here.

Loaded Vegetable Nachos
Are nachos good for you? When you fill them with beans, veggies, and avocados, they can. A few minutes in the oven is all between you and this healthy Mexican dinner.

You can find the recipe here.

last words
If a tough day has you feeling down, it’s okay to grab an occasional takeout. But like many quick fixes, taking it repeatedly isn’t a very sustainable solution.

Instead, stock your pantry and refrigerator with no-meal-prep building blocks. Do this for your health, your wallet and your stress level.

Sarah Garone of NDTR is a nutritionist, freelance health writer and food blogger. She lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband and three children. In A Love Letter to Food, she shares down-to-earth health and nutrition information and (mostly) healthy recipes.

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Start your weight loss journey with WW
The new myWW+ has more of what you need to lose weight, with new features focused on nutrition, exercise, mindset, sleep, and more.

 

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About the Author: Heathboy