Creating Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less

Sometimes cooking can feel overwhelming when you’re working with a recipe that lists up to 20 ingredients. Cooking doesn’t have to be so complicated! By using fewer ingredients, you can cut down on prep time and save money. Here are some ideas for preparing meals with 5 ingredients or less:

Many of the things we eat for breakfast already have 5 ingredients or less. For example, smoothies are usually made up of fruit, yogurt/milk, and juice/water. Be creative when making smoothies and use whatever fruit you have on hand. Try our Banana Berry Smoothie recipe as an easy place to start. A yogurt parfait with layers of cut-up fruit, low-fat yogurt, and granola or cereal is another super quick and easy breakfast to prepare. For a savory meal, follow our recipe for Eggs Mexicali and serve in tortillas for yummy breakfast tacos.

Soup and salad are lunch classics for a reason! They are not only satisfying but also require only a few ingredients. Our Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup recipe is great for this time of year. This soup is full of vitamin A and warms the belly! Serve it with a crunchy salad using veggies that might already be in your fridge. Consider cucumbers, radishes, red onion, peppers, spinach, or lettuce, tossed with a light dressing.

If you’d like to try making a snack and don’t want to rely on something processed, consider  some trail mix. Trail mix can be made by mixing together a few ingredients to make a totally unique snack. Our Healthy Trail Mix recipe is a great template to start with.

It might seem like dinner would be the most challenging meal to limit  to just 5 ingredients. However, there is a formula that can help guide you:
    • protein (chicken, beef, fish, beans, tofu) + 
    • vegetable + 
    • whole grain (brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, whole grain pasta) + 
    • flavor (spices, sauces, herbs).
By combining these four food categories, you can easily come up with a tasty dinner. Do you have chicken already? Stir-fry chicken pieces with some sliced carrots and broccoli, and serve it over cooked brown rice. Don’t forget the flavor! Add soy sauce or garlic and ginger when cooking the protein and veggies. You can get very creative with this formula and try it with many cuisines. Another fun idea is to make packets and cook all the ingredients together.  Give this one a try: Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Carrot Packets

Keep it simple, and happy cooking!


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