Health & Wellness

How to cook quickly

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We all need to eat but when you are working full-time and/or have a family to cook for, takeout and other pre-prepared foods are a tempting way to keep everyone happy. 

But, how good is this for your health? Is the cost of restaurant food sustainable in the longer term? And, how can you magic more time to go to the grocery store and turn your shop into something everyone will eat? 

The answer? Planning and easy, quick, nutritious recipes. 

“Make cooking a priority over other things,” said health coach, Tania Kowalski. “Schedule it. Use time when you have it. Batch cook, make extra at the weekend. If you have a slow cooker or instant pot, make a big pot of chilli so you have leftovers for lunches.” 

This is important because, she added, as well as being expensive, eating takeout regularly might not be as good for your health as home cooking. 

“A food retailer wants repeat customers so that food can be rich,” she said, adding that it is often more difficult to get a healthy amount of vegetables into takeout. And while some establishments use higher quality ingredients than others, the higher the quality the more you have to pay. 

It’s critical therefore, to plan meals and schedule grocery shops. Also, keep it simple. Repeat the meals that work, don’t be afraid of pre-prepared, convenience foods and be mindful of your choices by reading ingredient labels. 

With jarred sauces, for example, avoid ones where sugar is at the top of the list: “A good quality tomato sauce doesn’t need to have sugar in it,” Ms Kowalski explained. 

Pantry staples she relies on include Seeds of Change rice pouches, which are “super easy to cook”. Add a good quality tomato sauce, some leftover cooked chicken, a vegetable, and voila, an easy meal. She also keeps Explore Cuisine lentil pasta in her cupboards because, unlike conventional pasta, it is “high in protein, fibre and iron”. She also likes the Eden brand of tinned legumes, Muir Glen for tomato sauces and Amy’s for frozen prepared foods, such as their burritos. She finds all of these in Lindo’s. 

Eggs are also an easy option. In the time it takes to get through to your favourite restaurant to order a takeout, you could whip up an omelette, scrambled or fried eggs. And, if you have the freezer space, she recommended stocking up on frozen vegetables for times when you cannot shop for fresh ones: “With frozen, a good portion of the nutrients are still intact and they can be steamed up in a skillet in minutes,” she said. Buying a rotisserie chicken for recipes requiring cooked chicken is also a great timesaver. 

For more information or inspiration, go to or follow her on Instagram @taniakfitness. 


Two quick, easy recipes from Tania Kowalski: 

Bountiful Buddha Bowl



  1. 1.5 cups of brown, black, or wild rice 
  2. 2.5 cups bone broth 
  3. 1 bunch of curly kale washed and patted dry 
  4. 2 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed 
  5. 2 cups broccoli or Brussels sprouts, halved 
  6. 2 to 3 beets washed and sliced 
  7. 2 tbsp cashews, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts 
  8. 1 avocado 
  9. 1lb cooked chicken or 1 to 1½ packs Applegate pre-cooked chicken strips 
  10. 1/2 tbsp olive oil 

1. Add the bone broth and rice to a medium-sized pot, cover and leave overnight – when you go to cook your rice, it will cook up in half the time – or, use a rice cooker. 

2. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet (she uses Spectrum organics coconut oil) and lay out the butternut squash, Brussels sprouts (or broccoli), and beets. 

3. Lightly spray the vegetables and drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the Brussels sprouts. Bake for 20 minutes. 

4. Tear the kale off the stalks and massage it in a bowl with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Separate the kale into four large bowls, add about 1/2 cup of rice and split the roasted vegetables between the four bowls. 

5. Pit and cube the avocado and split between the bowls. Portion the chicken between the bowls. Shake the dressing ingredients together, sprinkle the nuts in, and have the dressing drizzled on top, or portioned on the side. 

Chickpea Pasta



  1. 1 8oz box of Explore Cuisine Chickpea or Lentil Pasta 
  2. Jar of good quality pasta sauce 
  3. 1 container of spinach, puréed 
  4. 2 tbsp Bragg Nutritional Yeast 
  5. Cooked meat of your choice (optional) 

Prepare the pasta as per package instructions. Heat the pasta sauce over medium heat, and mix in the puréed spinach. Top ¼ of the pasta with approximately ½ cup sauce and sprinkle ½ tablespoon of nutritional yeast on top, or, for picky eaters, mix it in and add the meat, if using. 

Where take-out meets home cooking 

Meal box service Island Fresh has reimagined home cooking for those who are busy, but don’t want to rely on takeout. Their boxes can be ordered online and are delivered to your door every Sunday. 

Each box contains portioned ingredients which are locally sourced wherever possible, along with easy to follow, step-by-step recipe cards. 

The recipes vary from week to week and include meals such as sautéed wahoo and mango salsa, pea penne chicken pasta and sweet squash and feta bowl; each takes around 30 minutes to make. 

Island Fresh offers “protein switches” and caters for a variety of different diets. 

Membership includes meals for two or four people two, three or four times per week. Memberships can be every other week, instead of each week, and they can also be paused and resumed when needed. 

For more information: or @islandfreshbermuda on Instagram 

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