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Too Busy to Cook? 5 Quick, Healthy Recipes You Will Love

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published June 27, 2017

Are you too busy to cook?

Unsure of what to make?

Are you confused about how to fuel yourself and your family?

In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand what to eat to fuel your body, maximize your health and live an active lifestyle - especially if your’e living with diabetes and are confused about what to eat in order to control your blood glucose with precision.

It turns out that fresh fruits and vegetables are the quickest and healthiest option for those with a busy schedule.

The Ease of Fresh Produce

Imagine waking up and having to run out the door without any breakfast.

Your morning is miserable because you haven’t had an opportunity to provide your body with high-quality fuel, essential to power you through the day.

Now imagine waking up only 10 minutes earlier. You grab a few bananas, a few peaches, and a handful of berries. You’re out the door in minutes, but this time you’re fueled for the day, with more than enough energy to handle your busy schedule.

Here are a few reasons why fresh produce is a great choice for busy mornings:

  • Fresh produce is easy to eat and often requires ZERO preparation
  • Fresh produce is more affordable than prepackaged, nutrient-poor food
  • Most fresh fruits and many fresh vegetables can be stored at room temperature
  • Most fresh produce doesn’t require cooking (a BIG plus if you are short on time)
  • Eating more vegetables to has been shown to drastically reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases (1)

The bottom line: fresh fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of nutrition, providing an abundance of micronutrients to support tissue function.

5 Delicious Recipes Your Taste Buds Will Love

Two of the recipes that were originally included in this article were deleted unexpectedly. To make up for it, we’ve replaced them with similar recipes from the Mastering Diabetes team, and added a bonus one!

Beyond eating fresh produce, here are 5 low-fat, plant-based, whole-food recipes that are sure to provide your taste buds with the party they desire, and give your brain and muscles the nutrition they deserve.

Layered Salad with Black Beans and Mango-Cucumber Salsa

Mangoes add a tropical flair to any morning. Throw the Mango Salsa and a can of black beans together and head out the door. This great breakfast option is guaranteed to keep you fueled for a busy day. It is also container friendly, and makes a great lunch option when used to top a bowl of quinoa. Use it to top a luscious bowl of greens for dinner.

Nutrition Facts
NOTE: These values are for one recipe of Mango Salsa with a 15 oz. can of black beans.
Makes 4 Servings
Calories per serving: 222 calories
Carbohydrates per serving: 47 grams
Fat per serving: 1 grams
Protein per serving: 9 grams

Landlocked Ceviche

This dish is requires some chopping, but it can be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge. Throw it on top of quinoa or rice if you need more fuel super busy days. Use only ¼ of an avocado to reduce the total fat content, and serve immediately if you're in a rush.

Landlocked Ceviche

Nutrition Facts
NOTE: Using 1/4 an avocado reduces the fat to 2g per serving.
Makes 4 Servings
Calories per serving: 128 calories
Carbohydrates per serving: 15 grams
Fat per serving: 6 grams
Protein per serving: 5 grams

Curry Car-Bowl-Hydrate

Looking for a warm and satisfying dinner on a cold day? Look no further!! This Curry bowl will warm you from the inside with the warm flavors of curry, cumin, and turmeric.

Nutrition Facts
Makes 1 Servings
Calories per serving: 575 calories
Carbohydrates per serving: 107 grams
Fat per serving: 4 grams
Protein per serving: 28 grams

Ridiculously Easy Curried Chickpeas and Quinoa

This is a fabulous recipe if you are looking for something quick and flavorful. Eat it warm or use it cold as a filling for lettuce wraps to make a healthy and nutrient dense meal option.

Nutrition Facts
Makes 4 Servings
Calories per serving: 225 calories
Carbohydrates per serving: 43 grams
Fat per serving: 2 grams
Protein per serving: 9 grams

Butternut Buddha Bowl with Black Beans

This quick and easy meal option packs a flavorful punch fit for any occasion. Running out of quick recipes to prep out for your busy week ahead? Look no further. This recipe is full of flavor and takes less than 30 minutes to make.

Nutrition Facts
Makes 1 Servings
Calories per serving: 473 calories
Carbohydrates per serving: 108 grams
Fat per serving: 3 grams
Protein per serving: 18 grams

Farro Salad

This easy salad recipe features a flavorful farro, which is filling and nutrient-dense. This recipe lends itself to include any vegetables you may have in your fridge or pantry. To better absorb the flavors, cook the farro in water with lime juice, Mexican spice, and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts
Makes 1 Servings
Calories per serving: 413 calories
Carbohydrates per serving: 68.4 grams
Fat per serving: 2.1 grams
Protein per serving: 17.9 grams

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+ References

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047



Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.
https://doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M112.021204





Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010




Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.
https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00524.2009