By Ciara Lucas
Sometimes the hardest part of healthy eating is the actual cooking. You might have every intention to have a nutritious homemade meal that’s in line with your health goals, but the thought of preparing meals intimidates you. The good news is, healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated! In fact, it can be done with limited ingredients and short prep time instead of lengthy recipes that take all day. Here are five easy meals you can make in a pinch, any day of the week.
Crispy Kale Salad
Say goodbye to boring salads that leave you feeling hungry. This crispy kale salad is nutrient-dense, full of flavor and textures that keep your tastebuds satisfied. As a bonus, try making a homemade salad dressing and ditch the processed stuff.
- 3 cups of kale
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup chickpeas
- ½ cup hummus
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Peel and chop sweet potato into cubes.
- Drain chickpeas and pat dry.
- Toss sweet potato and chickpeas in 1 tbsp. of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Place chopped sweet potato and chickpeas on a lined sheet tray.
- Roast in the oven for 30 min or until crispy.
- Remove from the oven to cool down.
- Wash and dry kale leaves before placing in a large bowl.
- Slice and chop avocado.
- For dressing: combine hummus, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and maple syrup together in a small bowl.
- Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!
Pesto Gnocchi w/ Shrimp
This recipe comes together with just four simple ingredients—pesto sauce, gnocchi, shrimp and spinach. Its bright green color makes the dish pop and can be easily made in just 20 minutes or less. If you’re looking to save time, cook the gnocchi in an air fryer to make it quick and crisp instead of boiling water.
- 2.5 cups gnocchi (frozen or unfrozen)
- ½ cup of pesto
- 1 cup of spinach
- ½ pound of shrimp (tail off)
- Boil or air fry gnocchi—if using the boil method, bring water to a boil then cook for 10 to 15 mins. Gnocchi can be placed in the air fryer for 12 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
- While gnocchi cooks, sautee shrimp and spinach in a pan with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss gnocchi, shrimp and spinach in pesto sauce and serve.
Tacos can be enjoyed on more days than just Tuesday when they’re this easy to make. It’s another four ingredient dish that is ready to eat before you or your family has time to get ‘hangry’. It also only requires one pan, which means easy clean up (score!). You can swap in your favorite protein to fit your taste buds—beef, shrimp, soy chorizo for vegans…the options are endless!
- 3 lbs. of ground turkey
- 1 package of corn tortillas (or flour!)
- Shredded mexican blend cheese
- Place ground turkey in a skillet with olive oil. Season to taste and cook until brown.
- Scoop ground turkey into the center of the tortillas.
- Sprinkle with cheese.
- Top with salsa and enjoy!
Chicken Sausage Pasta
Convenience is the name of the game for this recipe that’s sure to satisfy your hunger. Grab your favorite type of pasta, a package of precooked sausage links (we went with chicken sausage for this recipe), a bag of spinach and a jar of sauce. Voila, you’ve got dinner and plenty of leftovers. It puts the simple in simplified cooking.
- 1 box of dry pasta of your choice (Pictured: Rotini)
- 1 bag of spinach
- 1 package of pre-cooked sausage
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- Boil water and cook pasta until tender.
- Saute spinach and sausage in a saucepan until spinach has wilted.
- Combine pasta, spinach and sausage with pasta sauce and serve!
Thai Salmon Curry
This dish is sweet, savory and a little spicy (if you want it to be) and comes together in about 30 minutes. Not to mention it’s colorful and hearty ingredients that make it delicious and nutritious. This Thai salmon curry is perfect for any weeknight meal you’re looking to throw together with ease while still achieving a high quality meal.
- 4 oz. salmon filet
- ½ cup of white rice
- 1 bag spinach
- ½ cup tri color peppers (fresh or frozen)
- 1 jar premade curry sauce
- Boil water and cook white rice for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While rice cooks, cut salmon filet into cubes and cook in a skillet with olive oil. Season to taste.
- Once salmon is cooked, place spinach and peppers in the skillet and cook together.
- Pour curry sauce on top of salmon and vegetables, toss well.
- Put a serving of rice in a bowl and top with salmon curry vegetables. Enjoy!
About the Author:
Ciara Lucas is a journalist, on-air talent, media professional, and fitness/wellness coach. Her multifaceted career brings a unique perspective and expertise to the Vionic Innovation Lab team.
Ciara’s professional career has encompassed contributing to local and national newsrooms including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, NBC Sports for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and NBC News coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march. When she’s not on screen, she’s building connections strengthened through sweat as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, helping clients find their meaning of sustainable health and happiness.
Ciara has created a personal brand and platform titled “Fit For A Queen” where she aims to empower, motivate, and inspire women from all walks of life to nurture their health and live their best lives by treating their bodies well. She is also an active member of the nonprofit Girls on the Run where she serves as a run coach for elementary school girls.