With our increasingly busy schedules, it can feel nearly impossible to carve out the time, energy, and resources required to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal. As a result, many of us turn to fast foods—albeit “healthier options” at these fast-foods joint—that kill two birds with one stone: give us a healthy-ish meal in a matter of minutes. But making healthy and nutritious ten-minute meals is easier than you think.
You don’t need a ton of time or a lot of ingredients to put a nutritious meal on the table. “There are certain ingredients you can always keep on hand that can help slash cooking time. Think canned beans for a 20- to 30-minute chili or frozen fruit in a smoothie,” says Toby Amidor, R.D.N., author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. “What’s more: If you start making these dishes part of your healthy dish repertoire, they will become easier and easier to whip up.”
You may be surprised to learn that many of the foods you already have in your fridge and pantry are conducive to a healthy, well-balanced meal—no pit stop to the grocery store required. To get you inspired, and to get you started, we asked registered dietitians to share their go-to meals they can crank out in ten minutes or less. Bon appetit!
Strawberry-Mint Overnight Oats
For a hearty breakfast that’ll keep you energized and full until lunchtime, turn to classic overnight oats. The best part is that you can grab them and go in the morning—and they take less than ten minutes to prepare the night before.
½ cup Quaker old-fashioned oats
⅔ cup nonfat milk
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon 100% maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 (16-ounce) jar with lid
- Combine oats, milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup in the jar, and stir to combine.
- Cover with the lid, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- The following morning, remove the jar from the refrigerator and stir to combine.
- Thinly slice the strawberries and add on top along with chopped mint.
Very Berry Smoothie
Believe it or not, the smoothie you order at that fancy food truck on your block may not be as healthy as you think. It could be loaded with way more sugar than you realize, thus interfering with your weight loss and diet goals. That’s why nutritionists agree it’s best to make your own smoothie at home, so you know exactly what goes into it. This recipe, by Jill Weisenberger, Virginia-based R.D.N. and author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide, contains both yogurt and berries, which are linked to a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes. “This recipe has enough protein and fiber to count as a full, yet small meal,” she adds.
1 cup plain nonfat strained yogurt (Greek or Icelandic)
1 cup frozen mixed berries or frozen mixed berries with cherries
2 tablespoons nonfat milk or any tart juice (cranberry, pomegranate, cherry)
1 tablespoon sweetener of choice
- Place all ingredients in a blender or a container for an immersion blender.
- Process until smooth.
Black Bean Quesadilla
Black beans are one of the easiest ingredients to use because they require little to no preparation. They’re also extremely nutrient dense and prized for their high protein and fiber contents, which keep you full for longer.
1 can black beans
2 tablespoons chopped onions
1½ cups frozen corn, thawed
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 cup salsa
1 whole wheat tortilla
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- Transfer the beans, onions, corn, salsa, and seasonings into a skillet, and cook on medium for 6-8 minutes before setting aside on a separate plate to cool.
- Spray the same skillet with cooking spray, and place the tortilla in it.
- Add the bean mixture onto the tortilla, and sprinkle on the cheese.
- After the cheese has melted, fold the tortilla in half and press down.
Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad
2 (3-ounce) packages of ramen noodles, crumbled (you will not use the seasoning packets)
½ cup thinly-sliced almonds
1 (16-ounce) bag coleslaw mix
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and julienned (or diced)
Asian honey vinaigrette (see ingredients below)
Asian Honey Vinaigrette
½ cup avocado oil (or vegetable oil or any cooking oil)
¼ cup honey (or your desired sweetener)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Spread the crumbled ramen noodles and sliced almonds out on a baking sheet, and stir a bit to combine.
- Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the noodles and almonds are lightly toasted and golden.
- Remove baking sheet and give the mixture a good stir to toss, then return it to the oven and roast for an additional 3 minutes. Keep a very close eye on the mixture so that it does not burn. Remove and set aside.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together until combined.
- Add all salad ingredients (including the vinaigrette) to a large bowl, and toss until combined.
- Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Healthy eating doesn’t need to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. Whip up these ten-minute meals anytime you’re pressed for time or just don’t want to spend a full day meal prepping.