How to Make a 15-Minute Dinner | College Nutritionist
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
This article is shared from Rachel's website, https://www.collegenutritionist.com/blog/15-minute-dinner.
I struggled with this for a long time because I didn't want to spend time cooking. Like seriously, I only want to spend 5 minutes putting a meal together!
These meals only take 15 (ok 30 minutes tops!), and they're healthy, filling, and will keep you on top of your health goals.
Here's my go-to formula for lunches & dinners
2 cups non-starchy vegetables (about 50 calories)
1 "regular" serving of protein (about 150 calories)
100-200 calories of fats
The Formula in Practice
Here are some EASY ways to put this formula to use in a stir-fry or sheet pan meal!
STEP 1: 2 CUPS NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES (ABOUT 50 CALORIES)
Here are some ideas, but go to town and choose whichever non-starchy veg you like!
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 bunches bok choy
2 cups radishes, chopped
2 cups mixed stir-fry frozen veggies (try to choose ones without corn, peas, beans - those are starchy veggies)
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
Some veggies take about 15 minutes to cook, and some take 30 minutes. Here’s a list of non-starchy veggies that take 15 minutes to cook:
Here’s a list of non-starchy veggies that take a bit longer - 30 minutes to cook:
STEP 2: 1 "REGULAR" SERVING OF PROTEIN (ABOUT 120 CALORIES)
Here are some ideas!
1 chicken breast
1 tofu "steak"
1 4oz salmon filet (or other fish)
4oz ground beef or turkey
1-2 servings (check the back of the package) of frozen shrimp
If you're cooking, I generally recommend cooking with an oil spray.
For stir-frys, spray the pan first, and add your veggies and protein. If you're cooking poultry, you'll need 30 minutes (make sure it's no longer pink on the inside!!). Cook the poultry for 15 minutes before adding in the veggies. For fish and red meat, you typically just need 15 minutes.
For sheet pan meals, line a cookie sheet with a layer of tin foil. Spray the tin foil with a cooking spray and then lay your protein and veggies on there to cook. Same as with stir-fry: If you're cooking poultry, you'll need 30 minutes (make sure it's no longer pink on the inside!!). Cook the poultry for 15 minutes before adding in the veggies. For fish and red meat, you typically just need 15 minutes.
Here are some good cooking guides for protein as well:
Chicken - I will also say that it is 100% ok to buy pre-cooked foods like chicken strips. Make it EASY for you to succeed with your goals.
STEP 3: 100-200 CALORIES OF FATS
Generally, add the fat to the meal at the end of your cooking process - or top your meal off with the fat. Here are some ideas.
1/8-1/4 cup nuts
1/3 cup shredded cheese (like cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)
1/3 cup cheese crumbles (like blue cheese, feta, etc.)
1 single-serving packet guacamole
1/3 cup bacon bits (or about 3 bacon strips)
1-2 Tbsp oil-based dressing
1-2 Tbsp oil
Olives (check the jar for portion size)
Dr. Rachel Paul is a registered dietician who completed her undergrad, masters, and Dietetic internship at Case Western Reserve University and her PhD in Behavioral Nutrition at Columbia University. She is an expert on intuitive and practical nutrition for college students. She can be found on instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Her website is https://www.collegenutritionist.com.