Whether you’re looking to rebalance your hormones through intermittent fasting or create healthy, tasty meals that don’t take oodles of time, nutritionist Gabriela Peacock has you covered. Here are 5 quick, easy and healthy meal ideas which are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner…
5 healthy meal ideas for when you’re short on time
Anytime baked eggs
It is joyful how quick and simple this recipe is. Not only does it work brilliantly as a shared brunch, it is particularly good for any lurking hangovers, as smoked salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 and will help the liver cleanse the body of the remnants of last night’s revelry. As for tomato and basil, it’s one of my all-time favourite combinations. Fresh, clean and so easy, this dish practically makes itself.
- Olive oil 1 tbsp
- Spinach about 40g, chopped
- Smoked salmon80g
- Cherry tomatoes100g,chopped
- Basil small handful
- Eggs 4, large and organic or free range
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Grease 2 small ovenproof dishes with the oil.
- Line one with the spinach and smoked salmon. Line the other with the tomatoes and basil. Crack two eggs over each filling and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 8 to 10 mins, or until the whites have set and the yolks are still oozy.
THINK PINK! The pink colour of salmon comes from its rich levels of a protective antioxidant called astaxanthin. This compound has been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol and working in combination with the omega-3 fatty acids to protect the brain and nervous system.
Low-carb pad thai
This is a healthy alternative to the traditional Thai favourite. The dish contains plenty of fibre and nutrients from the vegetables and is satisfyingly filling, while still being low in calories. Once the ingredients have all been chopped and prepped, it cooks in a flash.
- Sesame oil1 tsp
- Egg 1, beaten
- Garlic clove 1, crushed
- Ginger 2cm, fresh, peeled and grated
- Red chilli 1, deseeded and thinly sliced
- Carrots 2, spiralised
- Courgettes 2, spiralised
- Bean sprouts 40g
- Prawns 200g, raw and peeled
- Lime 1, juiced
- Fish sauce 1 tbsp
- Coriander or Thai basil small handful, fresh and torn or chopped
- Cashew nuts 1 tbsp, chopped
- Place a wok over a high heat and, when hot, add the sesame oil.
- Quickly stir-fry the egg, garlic, ginger and chilli, constantly keeping things moving until the egg is scrambled (this will be a matter of seconds, so keep an eye on it – things can incinerate at speed in a wok).
- Add the spiralised carrots and courgettes, and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or so.
- Add the bean sprouts and prawns and cook for a further 2 mins, until the prawns have turned pale pink. Make sure any liquid from the vegetables has cooked away.
- Squeeze over the lime juice and add the fish sauce. Serve immediately garnished with the coriander or Thai basil and the cashew nuts.
DID YOU KNOW? A 113g portion of prawns contains an incredible 103 per cent of your recommended daily intake of selenium. This mineral is an antioxidant, so it fights free radical damage, helps repair DNA and keeps your immune system strong.
Broad beans, feta and chilli on toast
If toast for breakfast in the morning is a favourite, this recipe will appeal. There’s a lot to play with in this recipe – use edamame instead of broad beans if you prefer, or add an egg for a more filling option.
- Broad beans 150g, fresh, podded or frozen
- Feta 20g
- Rocketsmall handful
- Garlic clove 1
- Extra virgin olive oil1 ½ tbsp
- Lime 1, juiced
- Pumpernickel or rye bread 4 small slices, toasted
- Chilli flakes pinch
- Add the beans to a saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for 3 mins. Remove from the heat, drain and run the beans under cold water until they’re cool. If you’re using fresh broad beans, remove each bean from its tough outer skin. Fiddly, but worth it.
- Put half the beans, most of the feta, the rocket, garlic, oil and lime juice into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the beans and briefly pulse until they are in chunky bits.
- Spread the mixture onto your chosen toast, season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, crumble over the rest of the feta and sprinkle over the chilli flakes.
WHY YOU SHOULD EAT THIS…Broad beans are a rich source of fibre and B vitamins, so will energise you for the day, while feta is not only low in calories and fat, it contains beneficial bacteria and calcium, which is good for bone health.
Bread-free burger with sauerkraut
With a few tweaks, it is possible to have something similar to a regular burger – except this one isn’t drenched in fat and squashed between a carb-tastic bun. Any lean minced meat works for this recipe and adding a spoonful of sauerkraut is a great alternative for gherkin lovers, particularly as it helps maintain a healthy microbiome.
- Sesame oil 1 tsp
- Rapeseed oil 2 tsp
- Red onion ½, finely chopped
- Mushrooms (button, chestnut, shiitake) 100g, finely chopped
- Minced beef (5% fat) or turkey 250g
- Rosemary 2 tsp, finely chopped
- Gem lettuce1, leaves separated
- Sauerkraut 1 tbsp, optional
- Cucumber6 slices
- Tomato purée 1 tsp per burger
- Heat half the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms and a splash of water, and cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until they have softened. Set aside in a bowl until cool enough to handle.
- Mix the minced beef or turkey and rosemary into the onion and mushrooms, seasoning well. Divide the mixture and shape into 2 burger patties about 2cm thick.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan over a medium-low heat and fry the burgers for 10 mins, turning every couple of mins so they cook through.
- Serve wrapped in the lettuce leaves and topped with sauerkraut (if using), cucumber slices and tomato purée.
SWITCH IT UP: Try swapping tomato ketchup with tomato purée as it is high in lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant that supports healthy lungs and is much better for you than sugary ketchup. Use liberally.
Vegan pancakes with chia seeds and agave
I know, I know. You’re right. I AM spoiling you. These pancakes are gluten- and dairy-free and much healthier than their calorific cousins. They make a great weekend treat. A dollop of yoghurt is a nice little addition of protein that works deliciously with the berries.
Serves 2 or 3
- Buckwheat flour 100g
- Baking powder 1 tsp
- Almond milk 220ml
- Chia seeds 1 tbsp
- Agave syrup 2 tsp
- Coconut oil 2 tsp, at room temperature
- Mixed berries handful
- Lemon juice a squeeze
- Mix the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Add the nut milk, chia seeds, agave, half the coconut oil and the salt, then blend everything together thoroughly with an electric or hand whisk until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
- Melt the remaining coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add a small ladle of the batter and let it spread a little. After a minute it should start to colour, so flip it over and cook the other side until golden. Set aside on a warmed plate and work through the rest of the batter.3Serve with your favourite mixed berries and a squeeze of lemon juice.
BEAUTIFUL BERRIES: Blackberries are just coming into season, so if you can, go foraging for these fabulous late summer fruits and add to pancakes as they’re packed with vitamin C, high in fibre and a great source of vitamin K –just one cup of raw blackberries provides more than one-third of your RDA.
Discover more quick, easy and healthy meal ideas in Gabriela Peacock’s book, 2 Weeks to Feeling Great (£8.99) – out now!