As you know from my Instagram stories and my e-book of 20-minute meals, I am all about QUICK.
Here are some of the simplest meals I make on repeat (especially for lunch). I hope they give you helpful inspiration! Healthy doesn’t have to be hard. It can be almost as easy as pouring a bowl of cereal.
- Smoothies. If I was single, I would make a smoothie for dinner and call it good! They take less than 10 minutes, fill you up, and are very nutrient-rich. I think they are a great meal for any time of day, especially if it includes vegetables. You might like this Cruciferous Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie or Orange Carrot Ginger Smoothie. You really don’t need a recipe though!
- Sandwiches. We do PB&J’s on whole wheat bread with either honey, bananas, or jam made with real sugar (gasp! But never corn syrup). I also make veggie sandwiches with whatever we have. Avocado, tomato, cucumber, mustard. Or hummus and spinach (that one is good grillled). Make a batch of chickpea salad for sandwiches that could last several meals.
- Potatoes. We steam a ton of potatoes in the instant pot (high pressure for for 12 minutes,quick release) then keep them in the fridge. You can also bake them in the oven. My husband and kids will snack on them plain. We grate them into a nonstick skillet with seasonings for quick hash browns, or cut them into fry shapes and put them in the air-fryer for 10-15 minutes. We also like them with beans and salsa and guacamole on top, although I prefer sweet potatoes for that.
- Taco salad. If you have a container of salad greens, you can make a quick salad with greens, rice, beans, salsa, avocado, corn….whatever you have. I sometimes make a quick avocado cilantro dressing (avocado, lime juice, garlic powder, salt, cilantro). Or just a little lime juice, vinegar and salt is yummy (like this Black Bean Salsa).
- “Quesadillas.” Get a whole grain or corn tortilla and spread canned fat-free refried beans on half, then cook in a skillet until toasty and serve with salsa. You can mix canned green chilies, taco seasoning, or salsa into the beans, first, for more heat. The yamadillas in my 20-minute meals e-book are also fast and delicious!
- Taquitos. If you don’t use this recipe, you can just put refried beans in a corn tortilla and bake or air-fry for super fast taquitos. They are just a vehicle for salsa or hot sauce or guacamole, anyway, right?
- Burritos. Much like taquitos, wrap your favorite fillings in a flour tortilla. Heat in the microwave or air fryer. For more details, check out this version here for Sweet Potato Black Bean Freezer Burritos. They are a labor of love, but you’ll thank yourself every time you eat one.
- Lentil Walnut tacos. This taco filling freezes beautifully, and you can pull it out for quick tacos. Making it from scratch takes only 5 minutes if you have pre-cooked lentils. You can also put the lentil taco filling on greens for a yummy taco salad, or wrap it in corn tortillas for taquitos! Can you tell I live on Mexican food 80% of the time?
- Noodles and tofu. My kids love love love tofu, and it’s so fast and easy. I boil some brown rice and millet ramen noodles that I find at Costco (they cook in 3 minutes) with some fresh or frozen vegetables and drain them together, and saute some cubed extra firm tofu with soy sauce and garlic powder and ginger. Serve with more soy sauce (and red pepper flakes!).
- Banana with peanut butter. Let’s be honest. It’s one of my favorite meals.
- Bread with hummus. Preferably homemade sourdough bread or pita bread and homemade hummus. Yuuuuum!
- Rice Bowls. If you have cooked rice, you can put any veggies or beans and sauce/dressing on it. Take a look at this Sushi Bowls recipe if you need inspiration. If I need a quick sauce, sometimes I thin out hummus with some water.
The Key to Long-Term Healthy Eating is Preparing Food in Advance
Those who sustain a whole food plant-based lifestyle prepare healthy food in batches and don’t cook every single meal from scratch! (Or they just eat very simple foods.) Set aside a half hour in your weekly schedule to batch cook. I find it best if it’s not right before a meal when everyone is hungry. After kids go to bed or early in the morning is a great time to batch cook (play your favorite podcast and party!). Choose 1-2 things to make a batch of. You can either put it straight in the freezer, or just eat from it throughout the next few days. Some examples:
Cauliflower Mac n Cheese (you can freeze the sauce)
Salad dressing. You can’t freeze this, but if you have pre-made salad dressing and tub of salad greens staring at you every time you open the fridge, you’ll eat much more salad!
Components to Batch-Cook to Make Meal Prep Faster
steel cut oats
peel and cut fresh veggies to snack on
Putting forth a little thought and prep work will save your sanity and make it possible to avoid buying processed food.
It only takes a couple minutes to put some potatoes or rice in the instant pot or oven/stove. Go do yourself a favor and cook something in advance! You got this!