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.My methods: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.
- 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!