Who says healthy has to be hard?

You’re home late. You’re tired. And you’re very hungry. You have a shelf full of vegan cookbooks. But who wants to cook when you need to eat NOW? What can you grab that’s tasty, healthy and quick?

Quick One-dish Meals

Use the microwave to warm pinto beans. Top with avocado, tomato, bell pepper and kale. Didn't cook any beans? Open a can and you're all set.

Toast a slice of whole grain bread and spread with peanut butter. Top with slices of strawberry, banana or a few blueberries. If you want to make it extra special, add a spoonful of pineapple cream (see recipe tab). Finish with a glass of cold soy milk.

Bake a potato in the microwave and top it with pinto beans, chopped spinach and fresh diced tomatoes. Add a spoonful of salsa and a dollop of tofu sour cream (recipe below). Treat yourself with a piece of fresh fruit for dessert.

Toss some frozen berries into a blender with a fresh ripe banana. Pour in enough soy milk to make the blender work, and you've got an ice-cold smoothie. Add a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter and a bowl of popcorn, and you've got a tasty simple meal.

Leftovers are your friends

When you have a little extra time, use that cookbook to make a casserole or a pot of soup or a pan of roasted vegetables. Stash the extras in the refrigerator for the next time you come home hungry.

A little planning

Take a few minutes once or twice a week to mentally sketch out a few meals you could make. Stock what you need so you'll be ready with that can of beans or bowl of strawberries for a one-dish meal, or for making a casserole (so you'll have leftovers for emergencies).

Use a crockpot or electric pressure cooker to have some beans or lentils ready when you get home. Use a rice cooker or your oven's time bake feature to have a hot meal ready when you need it.

Healthy does take a bit of forethought, but think of it as an investment. Take a few minutes now to plan, and you'll be eating better and feeling better in no time.

by Dorothea Sarli, Nutritionist