Whether you believe it or not, we all have time to cook. I admit that sometimes I feel like a witch over a cauldron, concocting whatever I have in my fridge, because I'm by no means a chef. But I know it's not impossible to prepare healthy meals quickly, and you should, too. When your schedule is busy and you only have 20 minutes to prep, take a breath and refer to some tips from the experts - not me, I'm talking about registered dietitians!
Every meal, even the quick ones, should aim to have a balance of macronutrients - protein, fat, and carbs - Alix Turoff, MS, RD, CDN, told POPSUGAR. "Choose a protein as the base of the meal and pair it with some kind of vegetable and a high-quality carb. The fat can come from olive oil or an additional added source of fat like avocado." For example, salmon or chicken (protein) paired with broccoli sauteed in olive oil and a sweet potato, she said.
Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CDN, said though that "rather than focusing on numbers and macros, focus on balance." She knows all about needing quick meals to feed her family. A balanced meal often includes all three macronutrients, but you shouldn't sacrifice taste, she stressed. Eating mindfully, and enjoying every bite of food is just as important.
Alix has a few pro tips for cooking on a time limit. For starters, purchase things that are "pre-done" for you. "Buy broccoli florets instead of a head of broccoli, bagged salads that have everything mixed in, and a rotisserie chicken for protein that could be used over salads," she said. Also, take shortcuts and make investments that help you live healthier. "People will often say buying cut produce is more expensive and that's true," she admitted. "If buying cut produce makes it more realistic that you'll actually prep your own meals, that investment is worth it."
Meal prep, Rachel said, is useful as well. "Prepping a cooked grain and/or protein and separating it into individually wrapped containers can help with easy configuration on busy days." Ahead, check out these dietitians' suggested 20-minute meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Because in the same amount of time that you can do a 20-minute workout video, you can whip up tasty, well-balanced food with no fuss!