4 healthy meal ideas for when you get home late

When you eat healthier, you feel healthier. Sometimes it may seem easier to stop for a takeaway or pre-packaged supermarket meal on the way home in the evenings; but if you make time at the start of the week for a trip to the supermarket for your eating essentials, it can be quick and easy to eat healthier. Key ingredients to have on hand to stop you dialling for a takeaway are frozen vegetables, canned beans/legumes, canned protein like tuna or salmon, and your favourite herbs and spices like chilli flakes. Then you can add any fresh vegetables, maybe some pasta, quinoa or brown rice, and voila, a quick healthy meal at the ready. 

Here are some quick but healthy meal ideas:

1. Vegies and eggs

If you keep stocked up on eggs and vegies you can’t go wrong. Frozen edamame beans are a brilliant high protein item for your freezer – pour boiling water over half a cup or so and leave for a couple of minutes. Season and add a pinch of dried chilli if you like them spicy! You can munch on these while you scramble some eggs – to which you can add some spinach leaves, some grated cheese and a few baby tomatoes. Easy as. 

2. Salad bowls

A salad bowl is quick, easy, tasty and so good for you. Buy a bag of salad leaves like spinach or rocket to be the base of a few meals during the week. Add as many colourful veggies as you can. Stock up on lean protein like boneless chicken thighs, salmon fillet (smoked or fresh), some red meat, or if you’re vegetarian – falafel or chickpeas and maybe some feta. Grab some nuts and seeds for sprinkling on top, and for a dressing add fresh NZ olive oil with balsamic vinegar. 

Adding cheese (high in protein) will help fill you up so you won’t feel like reaching for after dinner snacks. 

Time-saver tip: While putting your dinner salad together, also make one to the side in your “lunchbox” for tomorrow. And that’s tomorrow's lunch sorted.

3. Spag bol healthy style

For a hearty option bursting with nutritious goodies, spaghetti bolognese is a quick option that you can fill chock-full of veggies for extra goodness. Leftovers will last a few days so are also good for lunch the next day.  Here’s a quick, healthy recipe.

Another healthy option is to replace the pasta with ‘veggie pasta’ like zucchini noodles for a larger portion of vegetables. Use a julienne peeler (or any veggie peeler) to strip the zucchini into noodles. Then just heat them through with whatever pasta sauce you’re using.

Time-saver tip: Keeping vegies in your freezer ready to add to any meal is a great way to make sure you’re always getting your quota of veg and the health benefits of eating nutritiously. 

4. Quesadillas

If you’re looking for something a little more warming, quesadillas are a great option that you can make with whatever you have in your fridge. Here’s a really simple, healthy Nadia Lim Quesadillas recipe.

Ran out of time to get your veggie quota in? Eat some for breakfast!

A good breakfast tip is to have veggies for breakfast! YES! With more veggies in your day, beginning at breakfast, you’ll begin to feel happier, healthier and have energy to burn. Here are some ideas:
- avocado and tomato on thin-sliced wholegrain toast
- eggs-any-style with a side of salad/veggies from last night’s leftovers 
- a smoothie with some kale or spinach
- nut and seed muesli with berries (not exactly a vegetable but still a high antioxidant food source).

Eating well helps you feel  light, energetic and happier. It’s all about planning ahead and being prepared with healthy options. The same goes for the bigger health issues; it’s better to be prepared and have peace of mind that should you need it, you’ll have health insurance cover. Over 800,000 Kiwis trust Southern Cross with their health. Being not-for-profit they put your health first, so you can focus on feeling great and rocking life. Compare plans and get a quote

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