Health Canada
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Food and Nutrition

Fast and Easy Meal Ideas

Canada's
Food
Guide

Getting healthy meals on the table in a hurry takes less time than you might think. It's all about being prepared.

  • Plan your meals and do your shopping ahead of time.
  • Stock up on basics such as vegetables and fruit, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice, milk, yogurt, cheese, lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Use frozen or canned products to help speed up preparation time. For example, canned or bottled tomato based pasta sauces, frozen or canned vegetables, frozen or canned fruit, bagged salad greens, canned tuna or salmon, canned beans or lentils.
  • Prepare foods in advance. Cook double the rice and freeze leftovers for another meal. Cook twice the chicken or ground beef you need and keep extras to make chicken salad, enchiladas, chili or spaghetti sauce the next day.
  • Cook up a big batch of soups, stews, casseroles, pasta dishes, cooked ground beef and pizza dough to keep in the freezer.

See our meal ideas for:

Meal Suggestions that follow Canada's Food Guide

Breakfast Ideas:

  • Make a shake! Mix in a blender 125 mL (½ cup) 100% fruit juice, 125 mL (½ cup) fresh or frozen fruit such as berries or a banana, 175 g (¾ cup) plain or fruit flavoured yogurt and 15 mL (1 Tbsp) skim milk powder.
  • Have it hot! Make oatmeal with quick-cooking oats and a tablespoon each of wheat germ or wheat bran and dried raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve with milk and a small glass of 100% fruit juice.
  • Have it cold! Have a whole grain, high-fibre cereal served with milk and orange sections or a piece of other fruit.
  • Spice it up! Scramble some eggs in the microwave and roll them up in a whole wheat tortilla with shredded cheese, green peppers and hot sauce or salsa.
  • Try something different! Have sardines or baked beans on toast with a glass of tomato juice or fortified soy beverage.
  • In a hurry? Take a small homemade wheat bran or oatmeal muffin with a container of juice and a piece of cheese. Avoid buying large commercial muffins which can be higher in fat or sugar and calories!
  • Nice and easy! Mix canned peaches or frozen berries with low fat yogurt. Have with a slice of raisin bread.
  • Use leftovers! Have some cantaloupe slices with dumplings or wontons with pork and chicken broth with noodles.
  • Simply made! Have half a whole wheat bagel with a poached egg or 1 Tbsp of peanut butter and some tomato juice. Try a reduced sodium variety of juice.

Lunch Ideas:

  • Heat and eat! Microwave leftover pasta, stir-fry with rice, chili, stew or casseroles for a quick fix. Enjoy with a glass of milk or fortified soy beverage and a piece of fruit.
  • Toss it! Take mixed salad greens and toss with fresh or grilled chopped vegetables, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar dressing. Serve with whole grain bread or put in a pita.
  • Soup it up! Try black bean, tomato with lentils, squash, carrot, cauliflower or broccoli soup. Enjoy soup with a pumpernickel or whole wheat bagel and a slice of cheese.
  • Wrap it! Make up tuna, salmon or egg salad - wrap in a whole wheat tortilla with green onions, grated green peppers and lettuce. Have with a glass of fortified soy beverage or a container of yogurt.
  • Snack it! Have hummus and dip with whole wheat pita bread, baby carrots,and sliced peppers. Enjoy with cut up melon and a glass of milk.
  • Spicy! Enjoy some vegetable curry on noodles and a low fat yogurt for dessert.
  • Savoury soup! Heat up some lentil soup and have baby carrots, a whole grain bagel and one slice of cheese.
  • Fill your pocket! Spread hummus on the inside of a whole wheat pita and fill with vegetables such as dark green romaine lettuce and shredded carrots. Finish it off with a glass of milk.
  • Pack it! Use an insulated container with a freezer pack to keep your lunch cold and safe to eat.

Supper Ideas:

  • Presto pasta! Brown some onions and garlic in a large skillet. Add canned or bottled tomato-based pasta sauce and canned drained lentils or clams. Serve over pasta or couscous. A tossed green salad and glass of milk or fortified soy beverage completes the meal.
  • Steamed fish dish! Place fish in a steamer over a pot of boiling water, add cut up broccoli, green beans or asparagus. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with brown rice.
  • Hot and spicy! Cook boneless chicken strips in a skillet until juices run clear and meat is browned. Add sliced carrots and red peppers and cook until soft. Add raisins and curry paste to taste and a bit of water and heat through. Serve with couscous or rice.
  • Fast chili! Brown lean ground beef and drain off the fat. Add chopped onions and green peppers and sautÚ for several minutes. Stir in a large can of stewed tomatoes, one can of tomato soup, one large can of kidney beans and 15 mL (1 Tbsp) of chili powder. Serve with whole grain toast.
  • Easy omelettes! Choose your own fillings - ham, cheese, peppers, green onions, etc. Spice it up with salsa or hot sauce. Serve with whole grain bagels or toast. Have fruit for dessert.
  • Beautiful beans! Enjoy a beans and rice dish. Just mix black or kidney beans with corn, chopped tomatoes, onions, red and yellow peppers, cooked brown rice, grated cheese and serve. Have with a glass of water with lime and lemon wedges.
  • Chicken express! Mix up some cooked chicken with couscous and a variety of vegetables. Add some garlic if you like. Enjoy with a glass of milk.
  • Experiment with noodles! Prepare a stir fry with pork and vegetables. Serve on vermicelli or soba noodles. Finish it off with a cup of fortified soy beverage.

Get More Tips to Prepare Healthy Meals: