The health food we see on social media sometimes looks more like art than dinner. Elaborate spiraled vegetables, carefully crafted rainbow smoothies, unpronounceable super foods…these drool-worthy dishes might generate thousands of likes, but for everyday life, we prefer easy healthy recipes. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a full-time influencer to make mouth-watering, nourishing meals at home. No fancy ingredients required; balance and real food are the keys to keeping fit.
Staying in shape requires exercise, but diet is even more important. The general rule states that losing weight comes from 80% diet and 20% working out. While a complete diet makeover might sound daunting, there are plenty of easy healthy recipes available once you understand the building blocks of nutrition. Try to avoid processed foods whenever you can and eat a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to keep your body running smoothly.
Here are five ideas to get started, one for every night of the week:
Five Easy Healthy Recipes
1. Roasted summer vegetables with white bean purée
This vegan recipe packs in the nutrients and offers plenty of protein to keep you full for hours. Choose different colored vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and red pepper. Slice or chop the vegetables according to your preference, then drizzle with olive oil and roast for around 30 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, heat the white beans on the stove with a spoonful of water and a cube of vegetable bouillon. Just before serving, mash the beans and arrange the vegetables on top. Top with fresh herbs like basil or oregano if you have any on hand.
2. Mushroom omelet
Protein is essential for staying in shape and recovering after a workout. Eggs serve as one of the best protein sources and offer countless options for healthy recipes. For example, to make a simple mushroom omelet, sauté your favorite mushrooms in olive oil until brown. Remove from the pan, and add another drizzle of olive oil (or cooking spray) to prevent sticking. Pour two beaten eggs into the pan and cook, lifting up the edges to allow the runny eggs to slide underneath the cooked bits. When almost done, add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, if desired. Fold the omelet and let the cheese melt while the eggs finish cooking. Enjoy this high-protein meal with a simple green salad.
3. Vegetarian lasagna
Wholesome lasagna is a great way to use up leftover vegetables. Combine cooked vegetables like eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, or squash with a jar of natural tomato sauce and a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs. In a separate bowl, mix a handful of shredded mozzarella with one egg. For extra creaminess and protein, add four tablespoons of ricotta to the cheese mixture. Layer in a baking dish with lasagna noodles, finishing with a cheese layer on top. Bake the lasagna in an oven preheated to 400° for 25 minutes. This hearty dish seems rich, but one serving contains just 400 calories. Fortunately, even comfort food can be transformed into easy healthy recipes.
4. Whole-wheat quesadillas
We often associate Tex-Mex cuisine with greasy nachos and fried tortillas, but Tex-Mex also lends itself well to healthy recipes. Bonus: almost any Mexican recipe can be made vegetarian by swapping beans for the meat. To satisfy your south-of-the-border cravings without breaking your diet, try making quesadillas with whole-wheat tortillas and a high-quality shredded cheese like reduced-fat cheddar or even goat cheese for a modern twist. Add roasted bell peppers or the vegetables of your choice, and serve with a side of greens and light sour cream.
5. Tomato mozzarella salad
Of all the easy healthy recipes out there, classic tomato mozzarella salad stands out for simplicity and deliciousness. With only three main ingredients and zero cooking required, you can throw this low-carb dish together in five minutes. Slice a ball of authentic buffalo mozzarella and arrange over a bed of greens with sliced ripe tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil or pesto over everything and add chopped fresh basil for extra fresh flavor.
Some of the best easy healthy recipes aren’t really recipes at all. In fact, these meals are simply the careful combination of high-quality, wholesome ingredients prepared in a healthy way (i.e. not frying). The above examples can all be adapted by swapping the vegetables, adding lean meat or fish, or experimenting with different condiments. Once you have a few basic recipes under your belt, you’ll find that healthy eating is far easier than you imagined.