Healthier last minute meals
Some days you just need some last-minute meals that satisfy the whole family, here are some tips and ideas for healthier than fast food options.
In a perfect world we would all have the time to plan out our weekly meals and prepare delicious recipes for our families every night. Unfortunately, in a world where we are constantly juggling so many things at once, there are some weeks where you just can’t get to the supermarket or you have an early start or late finish and you need to make do with what you have on hand in the pantry and fridge. Read on for some great tips and ideas for creating some delicious last-minute meals to satisfy the whole family.
Firstly, if you can try and have the following kitchen staples on hand it will be much easier to create the meals below at the last minute:
- Rice, pasta and bread
- Instant oatmeal sachets
- Shredded cheese, milk and yoghurt (or dairy substitutes)
- Pizza bases and flatbread (to freeze)
- Frozen vegetables and fruit
- Canned beans, tomatoes and tuna
- Bagged salad
- BBQ chicken
Eggs are your best friend at breakfast time. Although cereal is an easy and quick go-to for breakfast, eggs are an excellent high protein source of vitamins and minerals and well help keep your family fuller for longer in between mealtimes. Some great ideas you can whip together quickly are scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, soft boiled eggs with toast dipping ‘soldiers’ or, design your own omelette with whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.
Yoghurt with some pre-made granola is also a great breakfast option that can be made quickly. Yoghurt is a good source of calcium to kickstart the day and you can even add in some fresh fruit if you have any on hand.
Another quick breakfast go-to is instant oatmeal sachets. These can be purchased in every supermarket and come in a range of different flavours. All you need to do is add some water and microwave the oats according to the directions in the packet and there you have a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast that will keep the kids full up until lunch time.
Lastly, smoothies are a terrific idea if you want to get your child’s intake of fruit and vegetables in while giving them a good start to the day. You can customise smoothies according to your children’s preferred tastes but as a basic rule to make 2 servings you want to stick to a ratio of:
- 1 cup liquid (milk/milk alternatives, yoghurt, water)
- 1 cup fruit (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup vegetables (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tablespoons of healthy fats (nut butter, avocado)
Lunch & Dinner
Wraps and salads are a super easy meal option that you can put together quickly for lunch. As long as you have some fresh lettuce or salad leaves, some dips or spreads and either some cold meats or fresh vegetables, you can create a fresh and healthy snack for the kids in minutes that’s also surprisingly filling.
Toasted sandwiches and jaffles are a favourite in households across Australia, and for good reason! This quick snack can be prepared with whatever ingredients you have on hand, whether it be tuna melts, roasted vegetables or baked beans, you can make them pretty effortlessly.
Pasta dishes are always a great go-to when you’re lacking on time and ingredients. You can literally use any ingredients you have on hand to create a healthy and tasty meal in minutes. Sometimes the simplest pasta dishes are the best so don’t worry if you only have a few ingredients and don’t underestimate what effect the addition of some fresh herbs and spices can have to the final flavour. Some of the best combinations are tuna and cheese, tomatoes with basil and garlic or lemon, garlic and parmesan, yum!
While pasta dishes may sit at the top of family favourites, we’re pretty sure pizza comes in at a close second. The best thing about pizzas is that they can be customised to each family members tastes, and as long as you have your staple ingredients you can whip these up and have them in the oven in 15minutes. The added bonus of making them fresh at home is that you can include as many vegetables as you like on your bases, as soon as you cover them with cheese the kids will happily enjoy them and you know you’re giving them a much healthier option than take away.
One of the final last-minute meals that’s an easy family favourite is stir fry. These days there are pre-packaged stir fry vegetable bags in the fresh produce section of most supermarkets, making it extremely simple to include a wide variety of vegetables in the one meal. Then all you need to do is choose your selection of meat or meat alternative like tofu, pick a ready-made sauce, and put it all together while cooking some rice or noodles. The whole meal takes around 20 minutes to make and is a great option for those nights when you’re short on time.
And lastly, the ultimate last minute meal that wins above all else – leftovers! It’s always a great idea to try and keep your leftovers in an airtight container or freeze them so you have an option for those nights when you really don’t have any time to cook. You can always make extra portions of any of your favourite dishes so that you have an extra dinner ready to go with minimal effort.
This information does not take into account your personal situation and is general in nature. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and seek professional medical advice.
Always consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements or if any concerns arise.
Food cravings and what they mean
Cravings are usually a key indicator that your body is depleted in either a nutrient, or it is benefitting our body in other ways.Read More
What food staples should I have in my pantry and why?
Having a well-stocked pantry makes preparing and eating healthy meals or snacks, quick and easy. Here are our top pantry picks.Read More
Finding healthier versions of your favourite comfort meal
These small changes amount to a big difference when it comes to the amount of saturated fat and salt you’re consuming.Read More