One of the most important things we can do when it comes to eating healthily is avoiding ready made, processed food, and replacing with home-cooked foods. But I know that is easier said than done, we are all busy and sometimes with the best will in the world we simply don’t have time to cook, or the will to cook if we are having a day where we simply don’t feel up to it.

I love cooking but I too have days like this, so I have certain go-tos which are super quick and easy, while still healthy too. Here are my top five suggestions (they are all vegan of course).

1. Vegetable Stir Fry (supermarket prepared pack)

If I’m on my way home, feeling tired and know I haven’t got much food in the house, I will pop into the supermarket and grab one of those packs of ready prepared stir-fry vegetables (like this one). Now this isn’t quite as healthy as preparing all those vegetables yourself, because as soon as you start preparing food it starts to loose its nutrient content. But it still a pretty good option if you are in a hurry and not up to cooking much for whatever reason. Don’t forget to add a protein source, I like to throw in one of the little packs of edamame beans in, or even a handful of cashews. I also add chili powder and dried ginger from the cupboard, and a splash of soy sauce. I like to serve with brown rice, but if I don’t want to wait for it to cook, I’ll use one of the ready-cooked pouches which are great to keep in stock for emergencies. This all literally takes 5 minutes to cook!


2. Lentil Pasta with Vegetables & Beans

I do love pasta, which isn’t always the healthiest option, but my way of making it is pretty healthy as well as an incredibly quick meal. I like lentil pasta (from the gluten-free aisle of the supermarket) as it provides an extra protein source and is low GL. You could use wholewheat pasta alternatively.

To make:

1. Put the pasta in a pan (about half of what they recommend is a serving as we are going to bulk it up with beans).

2. If you have one, put a steamer over the top of the pan, and add in any vegetables you have to hand, e.g. broccoli, green beans, etc. Frozen or one of the ready prepared packs from the supermarket is fine. If you don’t have a steamer, you could boil them in the same water as the pasta.

3. Drain the pasta, and rinse a tin of beans (eg cannellini beans or whatever you prefer) well under cold water. I use half a tin per person as this is what bulks up the meal, providing the carbohydrate element as well as protein.

4. Put everything back in the pasta pan and mix together on a low heat. You can add in a little pesto (from a jar), or a little hummus, or even just a splash of olive oil combined with plenty of seasoning.


3. Baked Sweet Potato, Hummus & Salad

The great thing about sweet potatoes is, not only are they more nutritious, lower GL, and in my opinion tastier than ordinary potatoes, but they are also much quicker to cook too! OK so it is still not exactly a “quick” meal as it will take around 45 minutes in the oven depending on the size of the sweet potato, but the preparation time for you is very low. You can pop it in the oven while you get on with something else, or just put your feet up for a while! Hummus and salad are super quick toppings to prepare, and again some of the “less bad” options for things you can buy readymade from the supermarket.


4. Savory Red Lentil Porridge

This is super easy, super tasty, nutritious, cheap and makes an excellent meal at any time of day. To make one serving (increase as required for more than one serving), simply put in a pan 1/3 cup of dried red lentils, along with any chopped vegetables you have to hand (if you don’t have any that’s fine too), and 2/3 cup of boiling water from the kettle, and a vegetable stock cube or teaspoon of miso or bouillon powder. Feel free to chuck in any spices you like such as cumin, or some garlic paste. Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes until the lentils are almost cooked, keep checking it and stirring in case it needs more water added. Then add 1/3 cup of oats (gluten-free if required) and another 1/3 cup of hot water, and cook for another 5 minutes until the lentils are soft. Serve in a bowl and eat straight away, I love to sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on top.


5. Mixed Grains Pouches

This is an option to fall back on if even the above ideas sound like too much work. In most supermarkets now you can buy little pouches of mixed grains, like the Merchant Gourmet brand for example. Again it might not be 100% perfectly healthy because it is still readymade, but if all else fails, you can even have one of these on their own as a full meal – either heated up, or even cold from the packet if need be/ preferred. Or add some salad or vegetables and maybe a dollop of hummus to make it even better.