I shared yesterday that while real food does take more time and effort, there are some things you can do to stream line the process. Today, I wanted to share specifically some of my favorite quick meals.
This list is by no means exhaustive. I simply sat down and made a quick list. I’m sure I’ll add to it as time goes on, because there are so many options for quick meals!
On-the-go Portable Meals & Snacks
In addition to my list of real food packaged items, here are some other things that we eat often if we need an on-the-go meal. Sometimes this means on-the-go meals are somewhat “snacky,” but we generally try to have some combination of carbs, veggies, fruit, and protein. Here are some options that are portable or that travel well.
- Carrot sticks or baby carrots
- Cucumber slices/sticks
- Raw Broccoli/Cauliflower
- Dried fruit (raisins, etc.)
- Crackers (Triscuits, ak-mak)
- Homemade bread or muffins
- String cheese
- Black Olives
- Hard-boiled eggs (*prepared in advance–will keep for 5 days in fridge)
- Home-popped popcorn
- Brown Rice Cakes
- Granola Bars
- Celery with Nut butter
- Grape Tomatoes
- Applesauce– Store bought or homemade, prepared in advance
You can also find a lot of great portable meal ideas from 100 Days of Real Food (look for the “school lunches” tab)
Even T. V. Dinners take a few minutes to heat up, so this list of instant meals contains things that can be ready to eat in 5 minutes or less. Hint: there are lots of other meals that could be added to this list with some advance prep work.
Fruits and veggies can be served as a part of most of these meals as well.
- Tuna Salad with triscuits, raw veggies, and fruit.
- Quick salad with ak-mak crackers or triscuits. I often make salads with whatever veggies we have available, usually lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber, shredded carrot, sometimes hard-boiled eggs on top if I have them.
- Natural Peanut Butter (or other nut butter) & fruit-sweetened jelly on homemade whole wheat bread. (serve with carrot sticks, etc.)
- Nitrate and MSG free lunch meat
- “Snacky” meals from the list above
- Caprese Salad with triscuits or homemade french bread lightly toasted.
Most of our meals are ready in 20 minutes or less. But here are a few 10 minute ones.
- 100% whole wheat pasta with real food sauce (read ingredients before buying)
- Quesadillas (use pre-made homemade tortillas to make these real food approved). Add cheese, black beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, beef/chicken, for lots of great combinations.
- Soup–most soups I make are literally thrown together, dump in the ingredients and then eat. Some get better as the flavors simmer together for longer, but I have made chicken noodle soup or veggie soup in 10 minutes–add ingredients, cook on high until everything is warmed through, and it tastes great.
- Crockpot meals. These aren’t ready in 10 minutes, but 10 minutes of prep in the morning, and you have an instant meal at dinner time.
- Salmon/tuna patties with a veggie or salad
- Breakfast for dinner–scrambled eggs, toast, bacon or sausage
- Brown Rice with veggies.
- Pizza Bread (using real food bread, or homemade bread already prepared)
- Taco Salad
- Simple Goulash
One of the biggest time-savers for me is utilizing leftovers. Plan for them. Cook extra so that you can have a heat-and-go meal another day later in the week. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again, I almost always have cooked ground beef, shredded chicken, chicken strips, and/or find strips ready to go in my freezer. It greatly increases the number of meals that I can have prepared in 10-15 minutes or less.