Meals that are healthy, quick, inexpensive, simple, and tasty

Although I enjoy cooking for its own sake, I am often too occupied by other things in my life to spend time planning and preparing elaborate meals. I am therefore constantly on the lookout for meals that satisfy the following criteria:

  • Reasonably healthy, with a good balance of macros and not too much sugar
  • Quick to prepare, so I don’t have to spend more than a couple minutes “cooking”
  • Somewhat inexpensive, so I can buy the requisite ingredients often without breaking the bank
  • Simple, namely in terms of cleanup, so I don’t have to spend too long doing the dishes afterward, as well as in ingredient composition, so it’s easy to keep the components stocked
  • Fairly tasty, because I still need to actually enjoy my meal

It is surprisingly hard to find compilations of such meals! This may be because the type of meal I am thinking of is so simple that it usually doesn’t seem worth including in lists of weeknight recipes and so on.

Here is my list of such meals, which I will update as time goes on. I strongly recommend trying these! They are all very tasty and convenient, much moreso than most recipe compilations.

Beverages (not many calories but will help fill you up):

  • Miso soup
  • Instant coffee + unsweetened cocoa powder

Instant meals:

  • MealSquares (a bit expensive but very healthy)
  • CLIF Builders Protein Bars (a bit sweet but good to have on hand)

Minimal assembly required:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Naan + hummus
  • Roasted Japanese sweet potatoes
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts + onions + balsamic vinegar (use very high temp)
  • Roasted cabbage + olive oil (use very high temp)
  • Bread + olive oil + balsamic vinegar
  • Bread + scrambled eggs
  • Toasted bread + mashed avocado + chili flakes + lemon juice (avocado toast)
  • Rice + water porridge
  • Rice + red beans
  • Rice + dried anchovies + spicy peanuts
  • Rice + preserved fish
  • Rice + spicy Chinese pickles
  • Rice + raw egg yolk + soy sauce + mirin + sesame oil + sesame seeds
  • Rice + stir fried bok choy + garlic
  • Rice + sauteed mushrooms + soy sauce + mirin
  • Rice + canned sardines + soy sauce (optional: chili crisp)
  • Rice + fried egg + soy sauce (optional: chili crisp)
  • (in rice cooker) Rice + diced mushrooms + soy sauce + sesame oil + mirin
  • (in rice cooker) Rice + Chinese sausage
  • (in rice cooker) Rice + shelled chestnuts
  • Dashi + Napa cabbage + leftover meat (soup)
  • Microwaved frozen corn + butter + olive oil + salt + MSG + pepper
  • Homemade popcorn + salt + MSG + ground Sichuan peppercorn
  • Steamed frozen pork buns
  • Pan-fried frozen potstickers
  • Soft tofu + bonito flakes + soy sauce + sesame oil + sesame seeds
  • Canned tomatoes + onion + garlic + olive oil (microwave then blend into soup)

Some cooking required:

  • French toast
  • Bread + shakshuka
  • Split peas + chicken stock + Sichuan peppercorns + ginger
  • Steak (somewhat expensive)

Easy meals that can be scaled up and eaten throughout the week:

  • Roasted tomato sauce for pasta
  • Saag paneer
  • Chana masala
  • Japanese curry
  • Japanese potato salad
  • Mapo tofu
January 26th, 2023 | Posted in Cooking

2 Responses to “Meals that are healthy, quick, inexpensive, simple, and tasty”

  1. socese4209 Says:

    Do you have suggestions for a good cocoa powder that’s been shown to have low cadmium/lead content?

  2. milkyeggs Says:

    @socese4209: Not specifically. I use the Droste brand of unsweetened cocoa powder because it is both cheap and tasty, but I guess given recent news I should look more carefully at cadmium/lead…