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In an ideal world, we would all have the time to prepare delicious, healthy dinners each day. Even better, like celebrities, we would all have our own personal chefs to prepare these meals for us! But let’s face the facts – a personal chef is a luxury most people cannot afford, and many of us work long hours, or are too busy running around with children to spend hours in the kitchen every day of the week.

The reality is, some nights we can whip out a culinary masterpiece, and other nights, we just need something that’s quick – bonus points if it’s healthy or tasty. We’re here to help you with the latter.

For night’s where you can’t bear the thought of chopping, marinating or using multiple pans – try these six ideas for creating healthy meals with minimal fuss.

  1. Fish foil pouches
    Where always told to eat more fish – and with good reason. Fish is a great source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, particularly salmon, sardines and ocean trout. It’s also super easy to prepare after a hard day’s work, using the ‘foil pouch method’. Simply preheat your oven to 180C, then prepare a large foil sheet. Place your fish fillet, your aromatics, and some veggies on the foil, wrap it up, and bake for 15-20 minutes. No mess, no fuss! Some combinations we love include:

    1. Salmon with bok choy, broccolini and snow peas. Add ½ tsp ginger paste, ½ tsp lemongrass paste, 1tbs soy sauce and ½ tsp honey for flavour.
    2. Snapper with 1/2 cup 4 bean mix, celery and a handful cherry tomatoes. Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes for flavour.
    3. Barramundi with thinly sliced potato, zucchini and carrot (try using a mandolin). Add lemon juice, dill, garlic and salt for flavour.

  1. ‘No-chopping required’ Salads:
    Would you believe, it’s possible to prepare a balanced, satisfying salad in under 5 minutes, no chopping required? What you’ll need is a pre-mixed salad bowl/bag from your local supermarket as a base. For there, you can add pre sliced or shredded vegetables, such as carrots, mushrooms, olives and beetroot. You can also throw in some baby perino tomatoes. Once your veggies are organised, pick your ready-to-add starch and protein. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Salad mix with one small tin of 4-bean mix and tuna in chilli oil.
    2. Salad mix with one small tin of corn and 100g shredded BBQ chicken, skin removed
    3. Salad mix with ½ cup microwavable brown rice and quinoa, and 50g reduced fat fetta cheese

  1. Simple Stir fries
    Stir fries can be extremely easy and healthy, if you choose your ingredients well. Watch out for sauces high in salt and sugar.

Here are some combinations we recommend for an easy stir fry – no chopping required:

    1. Stir-fry beef strips with Bird’s Eye frozen Oriental Stir fry vegetables, cooked in 1tbs each of Ayam Light sweet chilli sauce and Tamari. Served with Chang’s Super Low-Cal Kojac noodles.
    2. Stir-fry chicken breast strips with Birds Eye frozen Asian Greens stir fry, cooked with Five Tastes Vietnamese Stir Fry Shot paste. Served with 1/3 – ½ pouch of Tilda microwavable brown basmati rice
    3. Soyco Thai pre-marinated tofu with pre-packaged fresh vegetable stir fry mix, cooked with 1tbs soy sauce, and ½ tsp each of Garden Gourmet ginger, garlic and lemongrass pastes, and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Served with ¾ cup brown rice vermicelli noodles.
  1. Easy peasy fried rice
    Another easy meal, where you can use a combination of fresh and/or frozen vegetables and par-cooked ingredients to minimise hand-on prep time. We suggest using a microwave pouch of basmati rice, heated according to direction, as your base. Add to a pan over high heat with frozen peas and corn, diced carrot, chopped green beans and broccoli florets (or whichever vegetable combination you prefer). Crack in 2 eggs, and stir through the rice and vegetable mix. Add 1-2tbs Tamari or 1-2tsp curry powder, for taste. For a low-carb version, use a pouch of cauliflower rice.

  1. Vegetable burger
    If you’re looking to reduce your red meat intake, Veggie burger patties are a great option. Simply oven bake or lightly pan fry, and serve in a wholegrain bun with pre-mixed salad leaves, grated carrot, sliced beetroot and pickles. Who needs Macdonald’s when making your own healthy burger is this easy?

We recommend these veggie burgers to try:

  1. Bean Supreme Black Bean and Beetroot Burger
  2. Australian Eat Well Vegetable Burgers with Whole Lentils
  3. Coles Curried pumpkin and Corn burgers

By Teagan Hollis