Hi Bran Appétit readers! My name is Danielle and I write a blog titled Coffee Run. I’m honored to be doing a guest post today :D
I’ve received many compliments saying my meals always look so creative, healthy, and delicious. (I’m flattered :) ) But many people assume I spend my free time slaving away in the kitchen.
Not true! Although I do love to cook, I’m also a college student so I’m quite busy. That poses the question:
How do you come up with quick, healthy meals for one?
The answer: Preparing ahead of time + a little creativity. Oh, and a freezer!
I like to set aside a tiny portion of my weekend to cooking. I enjoy cooking & it’s really helpful for creating a foundation for meals throughout the week. Here’s a snapshot of my section of the freezer. I live with 3 other roommates who don’t share my love for…um… “healthy living.” But I still love them ;)
I’ll usually make a meal on Sunday and then portion it out into containers & freeze them
It’s like a homemade Lean Cuisine…only better :)
Sometimes I’ll make homemade veggie burgers + freeze them
Need a quick source of protein? One minute in the microwave –> you’re good to go
I also freeze all of my bread products
When you’re living by yourself, it’s hard to work your way through a loaf of bread or a package of tortillas before it goes stale. As long as you have your bread tightly wrapped, it stays completely fresh in the freezer!
And then there’s the refrigerator…
Things to always have on hand:
- Veggies (Do you like the tomato saver?)
- Some sort of dip
I always have a dip or spread on hand like hummus, guacamole, etc. They’re just so versatile! You can use them in a sandwich, a wrap, with crackers, veggies, or straight up. Don’t tell me you’ve never eaten hummus straight up ;)
Pictured above is black bean hummus, raw cashew cheese, miso, glazed figs, and an onion. Yeah…I have a tomato saver and an onion saver. My bell pepper saver is hiding.
Another vital component of creating quick + tasty meals on the spot?
Sauces and dressings
Things you can make with a sauce/dressing:
- A stir-fry
- A hot salad
- …or a cold salad
- In a wrap
- As a marinade
- Mixed with grains (i.e Plain rice + tomato ginger sauce –> A delicious Indian-inspired pilaf)
- Used as a pizza sauce or other topping
- A dip for veggies
The last thing I’d recommend having on hand are Seasonings. You can easily take a grain or veggie, add a little seasoning, and transform it into something flavorful and delicious. Here are the top 5 seasonings I use the most:
- Garlic Powder (When mincing garlic is too much of a hassle)
- Soy Sauce (Blends well with just about everything)
- Coriander Seed (Mild & lemony)
- Chili Powder (Not very spicy; adds a kick)
- Cinnamon (Not just for sweet things!)
So there you have it. On days you feel like getting creative, you can use the spices + sauces to jazz up plain items like veggies or grains. On days when you just want to eat…grab the frozen meal. The notion “I’m too busy and I’m alone so it’s hard to stay healthy”
…isn’t an excuse anymore! :)