So imagine the scenario you’ve had a busy weekend and forgotten to do the weekly big shop. With a full on few days ahead at work and late finishes you know you’ll have no time to prepare anything in advance let alone have any leftovers for lunch. Demanding weeks like this will often have you heading home shattered, hungry and reaching for a ready meal or takeaway. Sometimes it’s easy to overthink these situations and forget that healthy food is always to hand!
We’ve all been in this situation and it’s a case of just getting a bit savvy with some last minute meal planning and prepping. There loads of meals that can be literally whipped up in less than 10 minutes and we’re not talking a ‘once you have everything chopped, sliced crushed and in neat little bowls ready to go’ 10 minutes either – we’re looking at you Mr. Oliver!
Fitter Food To The Rescue
Just to illustrate the points we’ve made below we’ve put together a super simple last minute shopping list and meal plan where each meal requires little to no preparation. You can download your free 7 day meal planner below.
MARCH Fitter Food FREE 7 Day Emergency Meal Planner
In the meantime here are a few instant meal ideas that are healthy and easy to put together and mean a busy working week or other complications in life can deter you from your good nutrition intentions.
Boiled eggs are just a winner for any breakfast on the go, we always have a stack in our fridge so we can grab them anytime as a meal or snack or be chopped onto a salad. If on the go we tend to have them with a banana and handful of nuts – BOSH. Another instant option is some double cream or tinned coconut milk/cream in a coffee with a dash of cinnamon to give you a good dose of fats to stave off hunger until you’re able to grab something more substantial. There’s also more obvious and easy breakfasts like Parma ham and melon or smoked salmon and avocado, if you’re ok with dairy you could also opt for something like cottage cheese or full fat goats/sheep’s yogurt with fruit, nuts and seeds topped with a touch of raw honey.
A salad is the quickest, easiest option but many people grimace at the thought of spending a precious lunch hour staring at a plate of garden. All you need to do is be a bit more creative and pimp it a little. We’ve put some delicious suggestions in the FREE meal plan. Ideally your lunch should have a serving of protein; tinned fish like sardines, mackerel and salmon are incredibly nutritious and easy to source. Also think Parma ham, nuts, seeds, goat’s cheese, cooked prawns as these are widely available in supermarkets for you to grab and go. Alongside the protein get yourself a large bag of salad leaves, ideally one that contains dark green or red salad leaves like rocket, watercress or spinach. Then just tart it up with any of the following:
Fruit: Try mango with prawns, goat’s cheese and apple, chicken and pomegranate or pork and pear which are all awesome combinations.
Nuts & Seeds: great for add extra texture and taste.
Awesome toppers: Sliced spring onions, red onions, capers, olives, jalapenos, chilli flakes, Parmesan or manchego shavings can all complete a salad.
Fresh herbs: these can TRANSFORM a salad, fresh mint is great with goats cheese, coriander is lovely with prawns and parsley or chives make a great topping for salmon. Herbs also offer a concentrated source of many micronutrients and antioxidants, dried or fresh.
Dressings: these are something people often overcomplicate, our favourite dressing is to blend an egg yolk with apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Yet even simpler is just fresh lemon or lime juice with olive oil or even a good quality balsamic vinegar.
Our go to meal if we arrive home late and hungry is an omelette wth spinach, peppers and tomatoes, Matt will almost always add cheese if there’s any to hand. Another quick option is to pan fry fish or poultry in coconut oil and Tamari sauce (this is wheat free soya sauce) with bok choy, spinach and courgettes all of which cook in under ten minutes. If available add fresh garlic and ginger but if not add some garlic and ginger powder and squeeze over fresh lime juice before serving. Pan frying any protein is an obvious choice for a quick meal but sometimes it just needs a sauce of sorts. Personally, I can eat anything if it’s covered in Kickin Ketchup but pan fried steak is probably the most acceptable choice. Sometimes just topping a lamb chop or piece of salmon with a good quality wholegrain mustard and baking in the oven with some sliced leeks, courgettes, tomatoes in olive oil is a winner. Mashed avocado with lime and coriander is also another great instant sauce for baked fish, pan fried chicken or turkey burgers.
What About The Carbs?
The bit that many people fall down on is prepping their carbohydrates for the week as these obviously take a little longer to cook and prepare. It’s easy to feel like resorting to 2 minute rice or other pre-cooked grains, however, the issue is they often aren’t so great for digestive health and many are preserved in high omega 6 oils like sunflower or rapeseed. We tend to batch steam, boil or bake a tonne of sweet and white potatoes and root vegetables at the beginning of the week and then reheat as them mash, chop them into a stir fry or just warm them into a salty bone broth (the latter is delicious!). Quinoa or rice is also pretty quick to cook from scratch although ideally it should be soaked overnight – you can do this the night before so at dinner you simply rinse and cook. There are now rice, sweet potato and buckwheat noodles available too.
Store Cupboard Essentials
Whatever the situation always have the following items in your pantry, they all have pretty long shelf lives and will ensure you can put together a healthy meal in minutes:
- Nut butters
- Frozen vegetables (organic if possible)
- Tinned Fish
- Tamari sauce
- Wholegrain mustard
- Olive oil
- Parma Ham
- Smoked salmon
- Parmesan cheese
So there’s our top tips. Any of your own to add in? Feel free to leave us a comment below.