Healthy instant meals from the cupboard, fridge and freezer

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 04 April 2018.
Tagged: easy, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, quick

Healthy instant meals from the cupboard, fridge and freezer

When you’ve had a busy day and you need a quick meal, don’t reach for the take-away menus or your phone fast food app, try one of these ideas. They’re probably cheaper, probably faster and most likely much healthier and tastier.

What you need

Obviously you need to stock your cupboard, fridge and freezer with the certain core foods but once you get the hang of what you need, throwing together a healthy, tasty, easy and fast meal becomes a breeze.

In the freezer

  • Frozen fish portions, individually wrapped – you can buy cod, salmon (with or without the skin), barramundi, ling, basa and whiting from most supermarkets. Take the required portions out of the freezer and pop into the fridge to defrost in the morning or the night before. They’ll be ready when you get home. You can grill, barbecue them or give a light spray of olive oil and pan-cook them in a hot pan.
  • When you buy steak, wrap individual portions to take out the night before and defrost in the fridge.
  • Lamb cutlets or lamb steaks or pork steaks wrapped individually.
  • Frozen veges – you can buy them ready to steam, stir fry or pop into boiling water for a couple of minutes. Take out of the freezer when you’re ready to cook them.

In the cupboard

  • Pack of ready-to-cook rice noodles for stir fries
  • Pasta – smaller shapes like bows or penne or thinner types like thin spaghetti cook faster
  • Tinned tuna or salmon for a salad
  • Tinned bean mix or chickpeas for a bean salad.
  • Olive oil, vinegar (Balsamic, wine), salt and pepper for a quick salad dressing.
  • Box of couscous – quick and easy to prepare (1 cup of couscous, 1 cup boiling water, a knob of butter. Stir water into the other ingredients, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and serve.)
  • Sweet potato (Scrub, pierce with a knife all over, whack in a microwavable dish, cover with a double layer of glad wrap and cook on high for 6-8 minutes depending on size and number of sweet potatoes. Let cool for a couple of minutes then split and serve with a drizzle of salad dressing or olive oil.)
  • Jar of pesto
  • Pack of pine nuts or slivered almond to scatter over salads.
  • Quinoa – boil until just cooked as for rice but ready in 12 minutes.

small salmon iStock 918536882

In the fridge

  • eggs
  •  torn salad leaves or lettuce
  • tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • avocadoes
  • cucumber or baby cukes
  • radishes
  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • zucchini – just one will spiralise into a nice salad

In the fruit bowl

  • Apples, pears or kiwi fruit make lovely additions to the humble salad
  • A lemon makes a tasty alternative to vinegar in your salad dressing. Plus adding vitamin C.

small chicken iStock 499914051

Pick up on your way home

  • Barbecued chook
  • Raw sashimi fish

These simple ingredients allow you to make any of the following meals and more:

  • Barbecued steak with garden salad and half a sweet potato
  • Grilled fish with garden salad and half a sweet potato
  • Barbecued chook with stir fry veg and couscous
  • Mushroom omelette and green salad
  • Grilled steak with stir fried veges and rice noodles.
  • Chicken pesto pasta (barbecued chook pieces, cooked pasta, pesto, steamed frozen veg, toasted pine nuts, mixed together) and salad.
Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.