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Food & Cooking Articles   |  Healthier Eating

Stay Consistent With the 'Go-To' Meal

Food for When You're Out of Ideas

-- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

You open the fridge and panic sets in. The cupboards elicit a similar response. Same for the pantry. You have no time and have to come up with dinner – and fast. But what will satisfy your hunger without requiring an hour of prep time? In the final hope that something new and exciting will appear, you open the fridge door one last time.

Take a moment, take a deep breath and relax. Before you speed off to the drive-thru as an "easy" solution to fixing dinner, consider this: there are countless "Go-To" Meals that will make cooking swift and simple. When you’re at a loss for time and ideas, you can turn to these without much thought.

Go-To Meals allow you to put in minimal effort while maximizing taste and nutritional value. These meals are quick, easy, and can be a staple in your diet. Only a few ingredients are required, so preparation and clean-up don’t cut deeply into your hectic schedule.

To create your own Go-To Meal, start with a few of your favorite ingredients. You’ll learn to depend on them when you’re in a time crunch. On your next trip to the grocery store, stock up on easy foods that you can whip up in minutes. <pagebreak>

These meals should be quick, but still have nutritional benefits. Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • Peanut butter and jelly is an old favorite that’s even better when served on toasted whole wheat bread.
  • Pita pocket sandwiches are delectably stuffed with veggies and healthy lunch meat. Its shape is perfect for eating on-the-go. For some variety, try a whole grain bagel sandwich.
  • Peas and tuna are a breeze. Open a can of each, mix, microwave, and you’re set. For a little more flavor, jazz it up with some spices or more vegetables.
  • Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast! Heat some up for any meal of the day. With so many flavors to choose from, you don’t need an excuse to get this boost of fiber.
  • Beans and brown rice cover two of your main energy sources. The protein in the beans fuels your muscles, while the complex carbs in the rice provides lasting energy. To save time, try a quick-cook variety of brown rice.
  • Low-sodium soup and crackers will fill you up fast. Add some fresh or even canned vegetables for more nutrients.
  • Whole wheat pancakes taste great, no matter what time is blinking on the clock. With a powdered mix, you can be flipping some hotcakes in a flash. To save more time, toast frozen whole wheat waffles.
  • Chicken burritos are probably easier to make than you might think. Heat chicken, beans and vegetables, and wrap them in a whole wheat tortilla. Sprinkle on low-fat cheese and you’ve nearly hit all of the major food groups with one bite.
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