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Eating healthily without complicated recipes

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Hi, its as the title says really. I live on my own and want to eat healthily and not rely on ready meals/processed food and I do try to cook for myself but then things get a bit bland. I mainly like chicken, fish and mince but I find I'm eating it the same way all the time - spaghetti bolognaise, chicken with potatoes and veg, fish with peas etc.

I do keep looking on the Pinch of Nom and Slimming World websites. Whilst I'm not slimming, I look there because I know the recipes are healthy but there are so many ingredients in them that it puts me off.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can eat more healthily but quick meals that don't take up a load of ingredients, time and money?


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  • gettingtheresometimegettingtheresometime Forumite
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    In fairness to the pinch of nom recipes they may have a lot of ingredients but they tend to use the same things so whilst the initial cost may be high, it does even itself out.

    One quick recipe  from them is their Moroccan Salmon which only takes a few minutes to prepare & about 20 minutes to cook.
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  • Blue_DoggyBlue_Doggy Forumite
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    It depends what you mean by “healthy”. Are you trying to deal with a health problem, or nutrient deficiency? What do you see as the problem with the way you currently eat? 
     
    Like you, I live alone and don’t want to spend more time preparing, cooking, and clearing up afterwards, than I do eating. And when one eats alone, it’s a lot quicker than when eating in company.
     
    I also don’t like faffing about with bits and pieces I’ll use maybe once or twice and then never again. Jamie Oliver had a book the other year (and a TV series) using five ingredients, which was good.
     
    If you want to add veg and lose carbs, you can replace pasta with chopped cauliflower or broccoli (which can be “riced” but that’s a faff for one). Courgettes can be cut into ribbons with a potato peeler and used as another pasta replacement.  
     
    Do you make your own bolognaise? If you do, you can include extra veges. With mince, you can also make meatballs (to cook in home made tomato sauce) or burgers.  Chicken or fish pieces or scraps) can be cooked in a sort of stir fry with any bits of veg you need to use up - guaranteed different every time.
  • sixtiesgal_2sixtiesgal_2 Forumite
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    It depends what you mean by “healthy”. Are you trying to deal with a health problem, or nutrient deficiency? What do you see as the problem with the way you currently eat? 
     
    Like you, I live alone and don’t want to spend more time preparing, cooking, and clearing up afterwards, than I do eating. And when one eats alone, it’s a lot quicker than when eating in company.
     
    I also don’t like faffing about with bits and pieces I’ll use maybe once or twice and then never again. Jamie Oliver had a book the other year (and a TV series) using five ingredients, which was good.
     
    If you want to add veg and lose carbs, you can replace pasta with chopped cauliflower or broccoli (which can be “riced” but that’s a faff for one). Courgettes can be cut into ribbons with a potato peeler and used as another pasta replacement.  
     
    Do you make your own bolognaise? If you do, you can include extra veges. With mince, you can also make meatballs (to cook in home made tomato sauce) or burgers.  Chicken or fish pieces or scraps) can be cooked in a sort of stir fry with any bits of veg you need to use up - guaranteed different every time.
    Hi, I don't have a health problem but I just want my diet to be better. I do make my own bolognaise when I feel in the mood. Do you eat many ready meals with living on your own or do you cook? I keep shifting between the two and can't seem to settle on a routine.
  • -taff-taff Forumite
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    Well, if you're happy with what you're eating and you're just finding it a bit bland, throw some spices or herbs at it. My mother [ and I] used ot make a herb mix for frying meat, especially chicken, that was a mix of sage, rosemary, bay, salt, garlic [granules], parsley. Just sprinkle it on and fry. Chopping up chicken peices and vegetable pieces and roasting them in a tin with some herbs sprinkled on top is just the same as meat and two veg boiled but will taste nicer.
    I've never had a routine where food is concerned, I keep thinking I'll do a meal plan but it never happens. To be honest, I don't want to get into a routine because the food would become boring quite quickly and I like food.
    When I lived on my own I didn't eat that may processed meals because to me, they taste of plastic and have a funny aftertaste and the 'best of' versions are the very least I expect from a packet meal because why would I buy something cheap that tastes horrible when I can make a much better tasting version...If I buy a ready meal it's because it's something I wouldn't make.
    Maybe a batch cook would help, then you could always have a 'ready meal' that you know will taste nice.

  • msb5262msb5262 Forumite
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    I’d recommend you have a look at Jack Monroe’s website - lots of options are on offer including but not exclusively vegetarian/vegan, super economy and very simple recipes. Everything I have tried is delicious...check out cookingonabootstrap.com and you’ll see that you don’t need loads of ingredients.
  • joedenisejoedenise Forumite
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    I'd second the www.cookingonabootstrap.com website.  Like msb everything I've tried has been good.  My particular favourite recipe is the bean goulash which uses just an onion, some paprika, tin of mixed beans, tin of tomatoes & a tsp of yeast extract all of which I keep in the cupboard so very easy to make when I want something tasty.

    I also do some batch cooking and portion up for the freezer but to start with it might be easier just to follow a recipe for 4 portions and divide that up, so you'd have one to eat and 3 ready meals in the freezer.  If you do this once a week you'll soon have plenty of ready meals to choose from in the freezer and it makes it easy to get a healthy and varied diet.

  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    It really depends on what you mean by 'a lot of ingredients' - and why.  Is it that you think the recipes are complicated or that you don't have the right stuff in?  I'll be making a chicken curry this week and a puttanesca sauce. Both basically need canned tomatoes or passata, onion, garlic, bit of chilli, then a few extra spices for the curry and some anchovies for the puttanesca. 

    I don't consider that complicated, and I have all the ingredients because I use them regularly. But someone I know who rarely cooks thinks it is complicated and would have to go shopping because he doesn't even have onions let alone a selection of other stuff.
  • edited 6 July at 7:21AM
    Blue_DoggyBlue_Doggy Forumite
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    edited 6 July at 7:21AM
    It depends what you mean by “healthy”. Are you trying to deal with a health problem, or nutrient deficiency? What do you see as the problem with the way you currently eat? 
     
    Like you, I live alone and don’t want to spend more time preparing, cooking, and clearing up afterwards, than I do eating. And when one eats alone, it’s a lot quicker than when eating in company.
     
    I also don’t like faffing about with bits and pieces I’ll use maybe once or twice and then never again. Jamie Oliver had a book the other year (and a TV series) using five ingredients, which was good.
     
    If you want to add veg and lose carbs, you can replace pasta with chopped cauliflower or broccoli (which can be “riced” but that’s a faff for one). Courgettes can be cut into ribbons with a potato peeler and used as another pasta replacement.  
     
    Do you make your own bolognaise? If you do, you can include extra veges. With mince, you can also make meatballs (to cook in home made tomato sauce) or burgers.  Chicken or fish pieces or scraps) can be cooked in a sort of stir fry with any bits of veg you need to use up - guaranteed different every time.
    Hi, I don't have a health problem but I just want my diet to be better. I do make my own bolognaise when I feel in the mood. Do you eat many ready meals with living on your own or do you cook? I keep shifting between the two and can't seem to settle on a routine.
    I just wrote a long response, but lost it. I make my own ready meals by batch-cooking/freezing; if I want a sauce I make it a stir-through rather than a cook-in, vary the veg I have with the main ingredient. If you make something like a curry very often, it would probably be worthwhile making up a batch of your preferred spice mix to keep in an air tight container and add as and when required*. Same with herbs and/or seasoning mix (I do herbs and various seasonings, but never cook curries as I can’t abide chillies or coriander, and find the lists of ingredients too faffy for me.)
     
    My main fall-back is eggs and/or cheese, though. 
     
    *Unless you’re a purist who prefers to grind their own spices each time.
  • monnagranmonnagran Forumite
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    I'm another one who lives alone and I think that if you have a variety of vegetables (I use a lot of frozen veg as its easy to use want you want and no waste) and fruit and get some of each down you each day you won't go far wrong.  You can vary the protein and carb bits to make different meals.  I love salad, but find that if you are not careful you end up eating things like lettuce and cucumber every day before they have a chance to go off.
    They do last longer wrapped in foil in the bottom of the fridge but you may not want to eat them that frequently.

    It's surprising how little of the healthy stuff your body actually needs to stay well.  Provided, of course, that you don't overdose on doughnuts, cookies and other sugary treats.
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