After a long day’s work, the last thing anyone wants to do is put on an apron and stand around the kitchen for three hours. Quick, easy, healthy meals are quick only in the actual process of preparing the food, but planning ahead to make these meals possible throughout the week doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is pen, paper, and a weekly trip to the market.
First, plan ahead for your week. How often will you need to cook for yourself? Plan recipes accordingly , and keep in mind that you’ll have leftovers on some nights that only require reheating and no cooking at all. To this end, be sure to cook large quantities of some foods (foods that won’t perish overnight in the refrigerator) so you can afford to be lazy other nights.
Go Online for Ideas
Rather than buying cookbooks that promise endless quick, easy meals, save your money and look online at cooking websites for free recipes. Good examples include Epicurious and The Post Punk Kitchen if you have vegan tendencies (and even if you don’t! PPK has many healthy recipes that you won’t find on big sites like Epicurious). Self Magazine also has many heart-healthy and low-calorie recipes for people on the go.
Go to the Market
Once you’ve made a list of recipes you’ll use and ingredients you’ll need, go first to the local farmers market and then to the grocery store for whatever you don’t find at the market. Market fresh veggies and fruits are in season and therefore cheaper than most grocery store varieties and aren’t riddled with pesticides.
It’s also a good idea to get meat from the market, too; buy it in bulk and leave it in your freezer until you need it, since meat is one of the first things to run out at farmers markets. Although slightly more expensive, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chickens and their eggs not only taste better but are healthier for us. Corn- and force-feeding ruminants and other cruel practices of industrialized farms that sell their meat to typical grocery stores are hugely unsanitary and unhealthy for consumers. (Read up on Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or rent Food, Inc from your local Blockbuster to see why it’s important to watch what you eat eats.)
Keep in mind that pesticide-free produce tends to rot quicker, so you will have to cook your meals during the week and not a month later. Here are a few quick, easy, and healthy recipes to get you started.
- Chicken, cashew, and vegetable stir fry
- Spinach fettuccine with yogurt-cream sauce
- Grilled vegetable salad with tofu
- Snobby joes (a vegetarian and surprisingly delicious version of sloppy joes)
- Radicchio and arugula salad with dates, hazelnuts, and feta