Meal ideas/options with limitations - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

56,032 members8,195 posts

Meal ideas/options with limitations

Screen77 profile image

Hello, and apologies in advance for a long post.

I live in work-provided accommodation with a central kitchen. This limits me with what I can cook so I'm looking for ideas for what I can make with the following:

-Halogen oven (not strong enough for baking, brownies and flapjack failed to cook through but for most food it works pretty much as a standard oven, though size is limited)

-Air fryer


-George Foreman.

Hobs are not allowed, nor are slow cookers, steamers, etc. which limits my ability to make rice, pasta, soups/stews, stir frys, omelettes, basically anything you would need to boil or fry in a pan. I've compromised with microwavable rice in packets or cous cous/pasta you make with boiling water but it'd be nice to be able to make it properly.

I've tried to revamp my diet as I'm normally a picky eater so am trying to mix healthy food in in a way that it still tastes good. I don't have any specific allergies to avoid but am looking for ideas for recipes people may have. I'm not a fan of salads though I know they're good, the leaves are fine and I can handle cucumber but I don't like onions raw or tomatoes, carrot doesn't bother me too much. If I have enough meat/other stuff in the salad to wash the flavour down I can manage more stuff. I've very much got a sweet tooth which is a blessing and a curse since sweetening stuff makes it more edible but normally sugar isn't great for you.

I'm not vegan or veggie, I'm good with fish and always willing to try variety in seafood (though a lot of stuff I don't know what to eat it with) I like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and pretty much any white fish as well as prawns and similar. Meat-wise I'll eat anything bar lamb (don't really like the taste).

When it comes to veg and salad I really struggle with expiration dates. Everything I buy is just for myself and nothing ever comes in small sizes (and it's usually more expensive if it is) with short expiration dates - I bought a bag of salad today and the latest expiry was in 2 days' time... I know stuff usually lasts a few days after its date but it becomes a race against time to eat it the second I buy it and I have to have it for pretty much every meal to avoid waste. I've resorted to frozen veg and peas (not sure how healthy that compares to fresh) but salad and things like mushrooms I can't do that with, so if anyone has any ideas to help stop food perishing as fast that would be much appreciated!

I've tried to avoid tinned food as best I can as I know you can get tinned veg but I always assume it's not that great of an option.

If anyone has any ideas for recipes that might work or things I can look for that would be really helpful, I've tried googling stuff but I always find recipes that require way too many niche ingredients that only end up going out of date, or that need more equipment than I have.

Apologies again for a long post and thank you in advance for any help!

16 Replies
Activity2004 profile image

Hi and welcome to the Healthy Eating group, Screen77. Thank you for introducing yourself to everyone.

Do you microwave the salmon? You can always add it with quinoa as a rice substitute.😀👍

Hi there, and thank you!

I usually cook salmon in the halogen oven (wrapped in foil with lemon juice) since I can't fry it, I have microwaved it in the past but it tended to be a bit dry.

I've considered quinoa, how would you cook it? I've seen a lot of stuff about boiling it in water which I can't do without my hob. Would it work putting it in a bowl and putting boiling water in with it? Or can you boil it in a microwave?

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to Screen77

Quinoa would need to finish in a microwave - it doesn't cook through with just boiling water and time. You can get microwave packs, just as you do with rice though.

Screen77 profile image
Screen77 in reply to Cooper27

That's good to know, I'll have to try them both out, see how well it works. Thank you

Activity2004 profile image
Activity2004Administrator in reply to Screen77

As Cooper27 had said, put the quinoa in the bowl/packet and then microwave it for as long as the packet/ container says on the directions. 😀👍

Cooper27 profile image

There are some companies out there that sell microwave Tupperware designed to allow you to cook pasta and rice and steam veg etc in the microwave. Would that be an option?

I also saw a tip, that you can cook pasta by just pouring over freshly boiled water, covering with a plate and leaving it for 10 mins or so.

I often griddle veggies (peppers, mushrooms, onions) on a George foreman, and it's great for things like skewers and sausages.

Air fryers are wonderfully versatile, I use mine to crisp up baked potatoes (start them in the microwave for 10 mins to save time), cook mixed veggie batons, and I've even seen air fryer pizza recipes!

Cauliflower is really nice roasted, I'd suggest avoiding putting broccoli in the air fryer though - just trust me.

Screen77 profile image
Screen77 in reply to Cooper27

Haha thank you, I've not actually heard the tip abut cooking pasta with boiled water before - I'll look into that! And I'll look into the tupperware too, that would definitely be an option that sounds good. I've heard you can get specific ones for eggs but not pasta, I'll keep my eye out round the shops for one. I can do pasta bakes in the halogen oven but they usually end up a bit solid as I can't pre-cook the pasta.

Thank you for taking the time to read and for the tips!

Cooper27 profile image
Cooper27Administrator in reply to Screen77

I know Sistema is the main brand for microwave cooking stuff, but there are other brands/knock offs that might be cheaper :) B&M would very likely sell the knock-off versions!

Hi. Apparently frozen veg is just as good if not better then fresh veg as it is frozen at the source & has removed any bacteria due to the freezing. So no need to wash/ peel/ cut, just pop into your microwave rice or any meal for 1 of you 5 & day. 😃

Screen77 profile image
Screen77 in reply to Frankiepoos

That's good to know thank you, I always wonder since people always talk about getting stuff fresh when it comes to healthy eating but I'm glad it's a decent substitute

Your cooking restrictions may be doing you good by stopping you eating unhealthy foods like wheat based product. I do most of my cooking in a microwavr oven and an electric wok. Mind you I do have a soupmaker as well.

Screen77 profile image
Screen77 in reply to Eryl

That's true, having an oven does make it easier to cook some things I probably should avoid... especially cake. I enjoy baking but I don't need to be eating 12 muffins to myself haha.

What kind of things do you make in the electric wok? Is it more stir fry kind of stuff? Do you have any favourites?

Eryl profile image
Eryl in reply to Screen77

Yes, that's right, stir fry with plenty of dark leafy greens, chicken and a dash of TomYum paste and soy sauce or a propper hot Thai red curry. I have 50g (dry weight) of brown rice with them which I cook in the microwave. I cook with olive oil or coconut oil. My BMI is 21.

Screen77 profile image
Screen77 in reply to Eryl

That sounds good, I'll have to give it a try one day or see if I can make an equivalent with what I have. I've heard olive or coconut are better oils to use to cook as well. Nice!

You could invest in a steamer plate and bowl for your microwave. I usually cook veggies this way - smaller fresh pieces cook faster and frozen veg is much quicker. Just be careful not to overcook. Be conservative with timings, you can always add a minute or two if necessary. Same for the fish, you want it plump and juicy not dried out. I also have a microwave rice steamer that works very well for both rice and couscous. I haven't tried quinoa in it yet but I'm fairly sure it would work. Looks like I'll be trying it soon.

There's a whole raft of things you can do with an airfrier including making cakes and muffins if you have right equipment (look on amazon). I suggest you look for a cookbook specifically for that purpose if you want to pursue it.

Youtube is also a great place to find information on how tos and also as a source for great recipes.

Tinned beans like chickpeas, blackbeans, etc are also fine if you want to use them in dishes in the microwave but make sure you buy them in water and rinse them before using. You can make a great vegetarian curry once in a while in the microwave too. Again just look at youtube or a recipe site for instructions.

Screen77 profile image
Screen77 in reply to lawli56

Hi, thank you for the comment! I've got a hold of a microwave steamer so hopefully will have some luck in trying rice, and thanks for the article on the quinoa as well.

You may also like...