Whether you love spending hours in the kitchen or are more the take out type, after a long work day it’s easy to fall prey to unhealthy habits when short on time & high on hunger. Even on my most motivated days, by 8pm I don’t have the patience or focus to care about the nutritional quality of my meals when I can’t think over a rumbling belly. That’s why I have learned through many mishaps, that I can save myself the stress & regret by having quick fix staple meals on hand. By keeping a few quick fix items on hand I can easily have a healthy & delicious meal on the table in 20 minutes or less. Here are just a few of my go to foods that helps to keep my actions in line with my goals:
Salmon, Broccoli & Sweet Potatoes: This is a super simple combo that is my go to when I need a dinner that is hands off cooking. I love being able to take it straight from the freezer to the oven so it cooks while I shower. By the time I have cleaned up it’s ready for me to sit down & enjoy. This is also just the general idea of throwing together any protein + starch + vegetable together to make a well rounded meal. Make sure you have some source of healthy fat, whether it’s the protein (beef/salmon), olive oil or other added quality ingredient.
My quick fix cheats:
– Frozen Salmon Filets: These need no defrosting & cook in around 20 minutes. We buy these from Whole Foods to make sure they are from a sustainable source.
– Par-cooked Sweet Potatoes: I wash & put these in the microwave for 3-4 minutes before tossing in oven to cut the cook time but still get the roasted taste & texture.
– Frozen Broccoli: Even if I run out of fresh produce, I always keep frozen on hand to round out a meal.
1. Flip the stove on 450 degrees & grab a sheet tray plus aluminum foil for easy clean up.
2. Wash sweet potato, stab with fork & wrap in wet paper towel to microwave while assembling the rest.
3. Spray sheet tray with aluminum foil & place salmon & frozen broccoli on. Season as desired!
4. Add sweet potato to tray & toss in the oven.
5. Set the time & I am off to shower within 5 minutes of walking through the door.
Breakfast for Dinner: As long as eggs are on hand I can never say “we have nothing to eat”. Eggs are an egg-cellent healthy balanced option to avoid the drive through & enjoy a hot meal in minutes.
A few egg ideas:
Omelets: toss in veggies, herbs, cheese, leftover meat or whatever is on hand! I love a spinach, tomato & feta combination personally but anything will work. And yes, please keep the yolk!!
Scramble: This = hi my name is Emma & I am hungry/lazy. Same general principal as an omelet but scrambled for a quicker preparation.
Top it with an Egg: Throw an egg on any mix of vegetables & you have a delicious meal with a built in sauce. I love taking kale, leftover roasted sweet potato, goat cheese & topping it with an egg.
Sides: I like have a multiple component meal so I often pair my omelet or scramble w/ fruit, bacon, toast or any other on hand items that sounds appealing. PS I keep frozen GF bread in the freezer to easily pull out one piece, toast & enjoy. No worries of it going bad or not having on hand for the occasional enjoyment.
Rotisserie Chicken Dinner: This is just as easy to grab on the way home as take out! Not to mention cheaper, healthier & fits your goals. Win-win! This is another easy to pair combo with anything you have on hand.
Here are a few different ways to use:
Throw in the breakfast for dinner concept is an easy one.
Meat + Veggies + Carbs = Heat up your frozen broccoli & steam in a bag brown rice for a super clean dinner made in 3 minutes. Other easy items: green beans, asparagus & sweet potatoes can all be quickly cooked up & pair well with a basic rotisserie chicken. I will add a clean ingredient bbq sauce or mustard for added flavor.
Salad Topper – Have veggies in the fridge that need to be used up? I follow my standard not another boring salad formula which is:
- Base – favorite greens depending on texture preferences. Herbs are also a great addition here.
- Veggies – I like a mix of textures & temperatures such as crunchy carrots + sauteed squash
- Protein – chicken in this case but can be anything you enjoy. I love adding hard boiled eggs!
- Healthy Fats (or flavor add ins) – I usually stick to a serving or split that serving among a few different ingredients. Examples include: cheese, nuts, seeds & avocado.
- Starch – For a lunch salad I usually skip the added carbohydrates but do enjoy the addition for dinner. Try any bean, fruit or grain you enjoy & your body can digest well. I enjoy added apple or chickpeas or even hummus to my salads.
- Dressing – I stick to mostly vinaigrette’s & love making them my own by keeping staple items in the pantry. Make it fun by using ingredients such as mustard, apple cider vinegar, garlic & more to the basic olive oil/vinegar mix. This takes 1 minute to whisk together but yes I do keep a few healthy pre-made dressings on hand.
Canned Salmon, Tuna & More: This may not appeal to everyone but I really enjoy canned salmon. Besides being healthy it’s shelf stable, therefore I can always have it on hand. We keep a can of tuna (hubby’s preference) & salmon (my preference) in the cupboards at all times to make sure we skip the fast food.
Salmon or Tuna:
- Add lemon juice, dijon mustard, jarred olives, salt & pepper for a flavorful bite.
- Another combo for the creamy fans can be using plain greek mustard or a tbsp of REAL mayo to the mix. Add in any crunchy veggies such as carrots, celery, onion or heck pickles. Whatever floats your boat!
Not to sound redundant but this is also where I pair quick cook veggies such as asparagus or frozen such as broccoli to the meal. This is all about keeping ready to eat items on hand to excuse proof your success!
Conclusion: There are plenty of other quick fix meals to have on hand for those late, tired or unplanned evenings. My game changer was finally realizing that not every meal needs to be a restaurant quality full scale event. Simple is not only easy but often pretty dang delicious! When trying to improve your eating habits, I find it overwhelming to attempt to put a fancy dinner on the table every single night. Not to mention clean up the dishes afterward. Keep basic staples on hand to set yourself up for simplistic success & reduce the barriers to creating the habits you are reaching for.
What’s your favorite throw together meals?
dinner, meal ideas, Nutrition, quickfix, recipes, tips