Diet & Nutrition

healthy 5-minute meals for when you can’t be bothered cooking.

From halloumi burgers to stir fries, here’s our dietitian’s favourite 5-minute Friday night dinners

It’s Friday night and you can’t stand the thought of slaving over a hot stove to get dinner on the table. Sound familiar?

Instead of reaching for UberEats, try one of my easy-peasy dietitian-approved dinners. They’re super quick, require next to no effort and are far more nutritious than your go-to meat lovers pizza or prawn pad Thai. Trust me, you’ll feel far better for it.

Veggie omelette

Everyone’s got a couple of eggs sitting in their fridge door and a few veggies in their crisper that have seen better days – and an omelette made with said ingredients is a nutritious meal that helps to clear out the fridge and reduce food waste.

Eggs are an excellent source of top-notch protein, while veggies (any kind) are jam-packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals to keep your body working it’s best. My favourite combo is spring onion and cherry tomatoes – cook it all up in a little extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for a touch of healthy fats, and serve it with a sprinkle of feta cheese and a slice or two of whole grain toast to round out the meal. Delish.

Broccolini tuna stir fry

It doesn’t sound like much, but this four-ingredient meal really hits the spot on a cold night. Plus, made with one whole bunch of broccolini per person, it’s a great way to ramp up your daily intake of those all-important veggies.

Start by finely chopping the broccolini and then sauté it in a hot pan in a decent glug of EVOO until it’s cooked through and slightly charred. Then tip in a microwave cup of brown rice, a tin of tuna in oil and a dash of oyster sauce, stir it all together and voila – dinner is served. The brown rice offers a base of quality carbs while the tuna provides a punch of protein, both of which will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Baked beans on toast

Yes, that humble little tin of beans you used to eat as a child is actually *very* good for you. You see, beans are part of the legume family, which along with lentils, chickpeas and peas, offer some seriously impressive health perks. Eating them on the reg has been linked to reduced risk of several diseases, including type two diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Plus, they’re jam-packed with gut-loving fibre and even count as veggies. What’s not to love?! For a healthy dinner, I’d recommend pairing a tin of reduced-salt baked beans with a couple slices of wholegrain toast and a sprinkle of cheese if you’re looking for a little extra ‘yum’.

Halloumi burger

Probably my favourite no-fuss meal, this vegetarian dinner is a wonderful alternative to the usual beef burger. It’s simply a slice of halloumi cheese cooked in a hot pan until warmed through and crispy on the outside, layered in a sandwich of whole grain bread, a big handful of rocket and one teaspoon each of mayonnaise and chilli jam.

No, it’s not particularly good for you (read: haloumi will send your intake of sodium soaring), but it fills up tummies, tastes delicious and is still far healthier than a lot of takeaway meals.

Vegemite on toast

When I’m *really* scraping the bottom of the barrel, vegemite on toast sometimes makes an appearance on my dinner menu. I know it doesn’t seem that nutritious, but it can be with a few little tweaks.

To start, I use a base of wholegrain bread for quality carbs and gut-loving fibre, then skip the lashings of butter and go straight to the vegemite, which is actually fortified with a range of energising b-group vitamins. To add a little extra nutrition to this relatively bland meal, I’ll add a quarter of an avocado for a boost of heart healthy fats or a couple of slices of cheese for some bone-strengthening calcium – or both!

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.