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Quick Tips: Making Fast, Healthy Meals

Getting Started

Making healthy meals doesn't have to take a lot of time or require complicated recipes. There are many ways you can save time in the kitchen and still eat delicious, healthy food. It's just a matter of having the right foods on hand and learning how to take shortcuts in the kitchen.

  • Stock up on ingredients for quick meals.

    Keeping commonly used foods in your kitchen can help you pull together a quick meal in no time. Having frozen and canned foods and foods with a long shelf life is helpful for those nights when you haven't had time to go to the grocery store. Some basic ingredients to have are:

    • Frozen chicken breasts and fish fillets.
    • Frozen vegetables.
    • Frozen and canned fruits.
    • Vegetable or chicken broth.
    • Canned beans, such as pinto beans, white beans, and black beans.
    • Tomato sauce and pasta sauce.
    • Whole-grain pasta.
    • Brown rice.
    • Onions and garlic.
  • Let the store do the prep work.

    You can find many foods already cut, washed, and ready to eat, such as:

    • Packaged, ready-to-eat fresh vegetables. Examples include baby carrots, salad mixes, and chopped broccoli and cauliflower. These are great for making quick salads, soups, casseroles, and stir-fries.
    • Packaged, presliced fresh fruits. Examples include melon and pineapple. You can add these to a container of low-fat yogurt to make an easy fruit salad.
    • Precut, trimmed meat. Trimmed meat has less fat. And meat that has already been cut into strips or cubes cuts down on your preparation time.
    • Precooked chicken. Most grocery stores sell roast chicken in the deli section. You can chop or shred the cooked chicken and use it as a filling in burritos, soups, and casseroles.
  • Make "almost homemade" meals.

    Start with one or two prepared ingredients, and then add your own fresh ingredients. Here are some ideas:

    • Pizza. Use a premade pizza crust and a jar of pizza sauce. Add plenty of fresh vegetables and a sprinkle of low-fat mozzarella.
    • Vegetable soup. Combine canned chicken broth, a bag of frozen vegetables, and some uncooked rice or pasta.
    • Asian chicken salad. Combine grilled chicken breast slices with a bag of prewashed lettuce, canned mandarin orange slices, and slivered almonds. Add a store-bought ginger-soy vinaigrette.
    • Fish tacos. Use frozen fish fillets, such as cod, and bagged shredded cabbage. Place the cooked fish and the cabbage in corn tortillas. Top with salsa, lime juice, and low-fat sour cream.
    • Stir fry. Use precut vegetables, precut and trimmed meat, and canned pineapple chunks. Serve with steamed rice.


Current as of: September 20, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.