Our lifestyles can be pretty hectic these days and the oft-delivered excuse for people not cooking is LACK OF TIME. Well, that pretty much won’t wash anymore. The healthiest meals are often the easiest to make and I have shared my foolproof way that will make healthy cooking in your kitchen an absolute breeze.
I live by the motto: Keep it fresh – keep it simple – make it yourself. I personally would much rather make myself a simple meal at home, than eat out as I know exactly what I’ve put into my body.
Rethink your plate and how you serve food. I try and make veggies and salads the main component of each meal then compliment with protein. If I’m ultra time poor, I often have a few bags of baby spinach in the fridge and some tins of tuna or organic tinned beans in the cupboard that will instantly transform leafy greens into something magnificent.
Learn how to take care of yourself everyday and teach yourself how to cook…. it’s the most important thing you’ll ever do.
Check out my top foods below:
1. GREEN VEGGIES
If I’m ultra time poor, I make sure I have a few bags of mixed greens or baby spinach in the fridge. They’re great to have with eggs or some tuna. Other green veggies I have stocked include broccoli, leek and Tuscan kale – perfect for soups or hearty salads with Persian feta. Green vegetables are the most nourishing and alkalising foods to include in your diet. They provide you with loads of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil to help absorb the fat-soluble nutrients they contain.
My go-to meal to try: Spinach, Kale + Ricotta Pie
Eggs are one of nature’s best sources of protein and can be made into a meal for any time of the day. I love how they can be made in so many ways. Scrambled, fried, poached or boiled, eggs can be easily whipped up in no time. When it comes to sourcing your eggs, make sure to buy the best quality you can find. Organic or pasture-raised eggs are laid by chickens that aren’t fed antibiotics, growth hormones or additives. You can find good pasture-raised eggs at your local farmers’ market.
My go-to meal to try: Gluten Free Zucchini Fritters
Just like eggs, oats are so versatile and work with a lot of other ingredients you can find in your pantry or fridge. They’re a great source of complex carbohydrates that keep you fuller for longer, as well as B-vitamins to help promote healthy nervous system function. I love oats in baking, homemade granola, and in a warm porridge topped with honey on cold mornings. According to studies, the beta-glucan fibre found in oats can help regulate your appetite for up to four hours as well as help lower cholesterol, making this a great morning food for when you know you won't have time to snack until lunchtime!
My go-to meal to try: Strawberries + Creme Overnight Oats
4. PROTEIN POWDER
While natural whole foods are the best sources of nutrients, protein powder is an easy and convenient way to support your health when you’re on the go. You can definitely have them as a meal replacement as long as you make it a complete meal by combining them with the right carbohydrates. You can do this by combining a serve of our protein into a blender with your choice of almond milk or water, and then add frozen blueberries or banana and blend. Alternatively, as a lighter option, you can blend a serve of protein powder with water or almond milk with some ice for a super cold and refreshing drink.
My go-to meal to try: Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Hooked on your morning coffee? Matcha tea is a great alternative that has the ability to boost your immunity, control your stress and even assist in weight loss. Matcha also contains caffeine, however it’s around half that of a regular cup of black coffee. The caffeine in matcha is also assimilated and absorbed very slowly giving you a long and sustained energy boost. Matcha contains l-theanine, which is a rare amino acid that promotes a state of relaxation, supports the adrenal system and the way your body reacts to stress. This is a beautiful energising drink I enjoy every morning.
My go-to meal to try: Matcha Coconut Smoothie
6. GREEK STYLE NATURAL YOGHURT
No other cultured food is better known for its health benefits. The acidophilus and lactobacilli cultures that yoghurt is renowned for can nourish your immune system and support gut health. Yoghurt is also rich in protein that has a stabilising effect on blood sugar. Increasing your protein intake can boost energy levels, reduce mood swings, improve sleep, and sharpen brain function. Make sure to check the back label to ensure t's pure, natural and contains live active yoghurt cultures with no added flavours, emulsifiers or thickeners.
My go-to meal to try: Superfood Muesli
Beans are a great source of vegan protein. They are also full of fibre, which means they will keep you fuller for longer. I love using beans in a variety of quick dishes and throw them into salads drizzled with balsamic and olive oil or warm dishes such as chilli con carne, refried black beans or home made baked beans. They are a great staple and also work well with hearty soups like my minestrone .
My go-to meal to try: Minestrone With Vegetables of The Moment
Nothing beats fresh fruit for a natural sweet hit. Not only are they great as a healthy portable snack, fruits are extremely high in antioxidants and fibre that help to fight free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of disease. Choose colourful seasonal fruits. Figs and pomegranates are a staple this time of year. Use fresh fruit to sweeten your recipes such as desserts, cakes, cookies, smoothies and juices. It’s amazing how something as pure as a grated apple or smashed banana can add natural sweetness to your recipes and add a lovely depth of flavour, texture and delicious nutrient boost.
My go-to meal to try: Bircher Muesli With Orange, Vanilla + Pomegranate
9. OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is one of my favourite ingredients as I use it liberally in all types of cooking. This oil is a beautiful tasting, velvety and teeming with health benefits: it’s a rich source of antioxidants and mono-unsaturated fatty acids – one of the main reasons why a traditional Mediterranean diet is wonderful for heart health can be attributed to this oil.
My go-to meal to try: Zucchini Linguini With Spinach + Basil Pesto
Not only are almonds a great snack that are packed with protein that help sustain lean muscle and repair the body, they're also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body against free radicals as well as protein. I love to include them in salads, roasted vegetables, protein balls and homemade nut milks.
My go-to meal to try: Roasted Carrot With Almond Dukkah
Need some more healthy meal inspiration in a flash? You might like to check out 180 + of my easy and delicious meals on The Healthy Chef Recipe App! Available now for iPhone, iPad and Android Phones and Tablets.