When you walk in from a long day at work, rarely will you have the inclination to put effort into cooking a big healthy meal. After all, the meal prep generation are way to organised to let that happen.
But there are those weeks where you actually used your Sunday for a walk in the park or binge-watching Scandal, instead of stocking up your fridge with IKEA’s whole Tupperware collection. Shock.
So rather than popping a ready meal in the microwave or grabbing a takeaway on the way home, keep your fridge and cupboards filled with healthy essentials that you can make an easy meal with in no time.
You don’t need a larder befitting a wellness superstar to create nutritionally balanced meals with minimal fuss. But you do need to shop strategically. So stock up on these healthy essentials next time you do your Tesco shop.
When you walk in the door hungry, toss together your protein, legumes and vegetables (after quickly defrosting in the microwave,) carbs and something for a bit of flavours and you’re done. All in less time than it takes to boil a pan of penne. Sorted.
New York-based dietitian Keri Glassman suggests filling your cupboards with these cans of protein to add nutrition to your quick meals.
Not only a protein booster, chickpeas also provide the body with a good amount of fibre.
2. Kidney Beans
Another protein hero, these meaty beans are filled with potassium and magnesium, too.
As you probably know salmon is super rich in omega-3, but not also kind to the purse strings. Getting it in tin form is a quick and easy to get all the nutrients without the hassle.
Another great source of omega-3 fats. Have this with your salmon and you’ll be alert enough to even make a bigger meal.
Obligatory bag of salad leaves and fresh cherry tomatoes notwithstanding, Glassman recommends handing over to the freezer for the bulk of your vegetables, so that after a quick blitz in the microwave they’re ready to be plated.
Cruciferous king cauliflower is really filling so great to add to bulk up a dish, and it’s rich in fibre so will help your digestive system.
Also high in fibre and a host of other vitamins, this is a smart addition to a quick plate of healthy essentials.
High in diuretic amino acid asparagine, this versatile favourite will help your body flush out harmful salts and excess fluid.
For quick and easy energising carbs, WH columnist Alice Liveing stocks her cupboard with microwaveable pouches of these grains. More costly than a standard bag of uncooked grains, sure, but well worth the extra spend to shave 20-odd minutes off cooking time.
Lentils are full of nutrients and will pack some extra protein into your dish.
9. Brown rice
Another source of fibre, brown rice will help your digestive tract run smoothy and fill you with nutrients.
A source of the “good fats” and adds a kick to your meal. All you’re missing now is the martini glass.
The salt taste of feta will pack a punch on your plate, and you only need a few cubes.
12. Olive Oil
Top up your heart health with this monounsaturated fat.
13. Balsamic Vinegar
Go for traditional balsamic vinegars to avoid colour and flavour additives like caramel.
14. Hot Sauces
Capsaicin, the chemical found in chillies, can boost immunity and help towards fat loss.
Want to make your weeknight dinners quicker and healthier? Well this is what 1200 calories looks like on the Mediterranean diet, try it out or read about the 7 mistakes people make when they meal prep.