I’m a planner. But even the most organized people have days when dinner sneaks up and a big fat NOTHING is on the menu! Ugh, the panic! Instead of reaching for the takeout menu, why not hit the grocery store for some quick ingredients that you can throw together faster than the delivery guy can get to your door?
I’ve rounded up ten of my favourite go-to quick meal fixes that I found at Nature’s Fare Markets. I appreciate the fact that they truly care about the products that they put on their shelves, and strive to provide local, organic and healthier options wherever possible. It makes navigating the shelves MUCH simpler especially when you’re in a rush! If you are really pressed for time, their deli section is stocked with ready-made options for you to grab and go that are all great choices. I often stop in for lunch when I’m running around town and am never disappointed.
Frozen foods have a earned a bad reputation (many well-deserved), but some frozen foods are in fact super healthy and great to keep on-hand! Our freezer, fridge and pantry is always stocked with a few staples to set us up for success including:
Top 5 Freezer Items:
- frozen veggies (not in sauce)
- frozen veggie burgers
- frozen individually wrapped fish
- whole wheat tortillas, buns and pitas
- frozen chicken thighs OR vegan meat alternatives
Top 5 Pantry Items:
- canned beans (best to buy the type that have no BPA in the lining)
- dried falafel mix
- brown rice and pasta
- canned diced tomatoes and prepared tomato sauce
- good-quality salad dressing & salsa
Top 5 Refrigerated Items:
- extra firm tofu (has a long shelf life and is so versatile!)
- bagged washed greens
- tomatoes & red peppers
Ten Simple 10-Minute Healthy Meal Ideas:
- California Veggie Burger: sauté the veggie burger in oil on both sides (takes about 5 minutes total), place on a toasted bun and top with sliced avocado, tomato, red onion and a handful of cilantro.
- Vegetarian Sloppy Joes: Use a canned vegetarian chili to top a whole grain toasted bun and serve with a side salad or veggies and dip.
- Fajitas or Fish Stick Tacos: sauté strips of sweet onion, red pepper and tofu or chicken with a packaged fajita spice and top with plain Greek yogurt wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. You can also try making fish tacos from the healthier fish sticks in the frozen section and top it with cilantro, lime, avocado and diced tomato.
- Indian Curry: Top steamed rice with tofu or chicken cooked in a bottled curry sauce, top with a heap of cilantro and serve with green beans, peas or a side salad.
- Falafels: mix the boxed falafel mixture with water and fry the formed balls in vegetable oil. Serve in a warmed whole wheat pita or naan bread with lettuce, tomato, hummus and tzatziki.
- ‘Doctored’ Frozen Pizza: take a frozen pizza (Daiya makes a great vegan version, try the spinach and mushroom one!), add extra veggies such as diced tomato, spinach and mushrooms on the top (you may want to sprinkle a tiny bit of extra cheese on the top before baking), bake and serve with a mound of fresh arugula piled on top.
- Bean burritos with Southwest Salad: serve the heated frozen burrito with some prepared salsa and toss together your salad by combining cooked corn, a can of rinsed black beans, chopped cilantro, diced tomato, 1 clove of crushed garlic, olive or avocado oil, lime juice, jalapeño (if desired) and a pinch of salt.
- Breakfast for dinner: Scramble eggs or tofu with your favourite veggies and serve with whole-grain toast.
- Thai Lettuce Wraps: sauté ground turkey or firm tofu cubes with a little hoisin sauce, toss in a lettuce leaf, and add shredded carrots, sliced scallions and top with chopped peanuts
- Spinach Pasta Bake: Sauté some vegan sausage or chicken in a pan and toss with cooked pasta (preferably whole wheat), low-sodium prepared tomato sauce (or you can add a package of Veggie Ground instead of the sausage or chicken) and a few heaping handfuls of fresh spinach, sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese and bake at 400F until lightly browned.
Thank you Nature’s Fare Markets for sponsoring this post!