Emergency Meals

We all have those days, weeks, or periods in our lives (hellooooo pregnancy!), when time and motivation to prepare healthy meals seem to be the hottest commodities around! Does this mean we have to resort to fast food dinners and sub-par nutrition? Absolutely not! 

I've had college students, athletes, and new moms survive day-to-day AND make improvements in their health based on some simple tricks that make throwing together a healthy meal in no time a reality! 

Keep on scrolling for 5 of my favorite, balanced emergency meals. I've also includedthe items you can grab any time you're at the grocery store to have on hand when making dinner seems utterly impossible. BONUS: All of these items will stay fresh (when stored properly) for a week or more!

When I build meals, I aim for balance. What the heck does balance mean, you ask? I'm looking for a serving each of lean protein, healthy fats, smart carb choices and colorful veggies and/or fruits. SO, leave the thinking to me and just try out one of these balanced options below! 

Turkey or Salmon Burgers

Frozen foods have come a long way! A lot of them can be loaded with unnecessary additives, but if you look at enough labels, you'll find some high quality frozen food options! A good burger is a great find! I always have Kirkland's turkey burger patties in my freezer - the ingredients are just turkey and spices. Frozen salmon burgers are another wonderful, protein rich option if you can find a brand without additives and fillers.

Heat the burger patty up in a pan, toaster oven or microwave in no time. Have them on a whole grain bun, "protein style" wrapped in a couple big lettuce leaves, or on a bed of spinach/kale and pair with a microwaved sweet or regular white potato and whatever other fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand (frozen broccoli is ALWAYS in my freezer for meals like this).

Items to keep in the kitchen: 

  • Frozen burger patties (turkey, salmon, tuna, lean beef or bison...they're all great!)
  • A head of lettuce (like romaine or green leaf) or whole grain buns (these store well in the freezer so you can use them one at a time, as needed. 
  • Bag of sweet potatoes (these will stay fresh for weeks stored in a cool, dry cupboard)
  • Fresh or frozen veggies of choice - broccoli, green beans, kale, etc.

Eggs Any Way! 

Scrambled, over easy, omelet, frittata, or any other way you like them, eggs (yolks included!) are a wonderful source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. If one or two eggs doesn't seem like enough for you, consider adding some egg whites as well to pump up the protein even more. 

Throw some fresh or frozen greens or chopped up veggies in the pan with the eggs while they cook (think pre-washed and cut for time's sake!) and serve along side a piece of fruit or whole grain toast. 

Items to keep in the kitchen:

  • Eggs
  • Pre-washed greens (fresh or frozen)
  • your favorite fruit and/or whole grain toast (I like Ezekiel brand)

Tuna Wrap or Salad

Mix 1 can of tuna with a couple tablespoons of plain greek yogurt and mustard or mashed avocado. Throw mixture on top of bagged lettuce and any other veggies you may have or just roll the whole mixture and veggies up in a 100% whole grain tortilla.

Items to keep in the kitchen:

  • Canned tuna (or salmon or chicken)
  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Mustard
  • Fresh, pre-washed, bagged salad greens
  • Other prepared veggies like cherry tomatoes, cut celery, jicama, bell peppers, etc. 
  • 100% whole grain wraps (like Ezekiel)

Greek Yogurt Bowl

This works well with greek yogurt OR cottage cheese. They are both a wonderful source of protein and there are so many fun topping options to choose from. I stick with nonfat, plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese, mix in my flavoring of choice or sprinkle it on top, then add the healthy fat and carbs in the form of toppings: 

- Healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, nut butters, shredded unsweetened coconut, ground flax, hemp hearts, cacao nibs.

- Smart carbohydrates: fruit, pureed pumpkin or sweet potato, rolled oats, a healthy granola (keep an eye on ingredients as most store-bought options are pretty high in added sugar and fats). 

- Flavoring: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cacao powder, balsamic vinegar (if you like vinegar, it's not weird, I promise!)

Items to keep in the kitchen:

  • Plain, nonfat greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Toppings of choice (from list above) to provide a serving of healthy fat and smart carbohydrate
  • Any spices or flavorings you might like

Loaded Avocado Toast

This is one of my all-time favorite, super satisfying, seemingly indulgent meals! The healthy fat in the avocado lends a richness and the protein topping only adds to the satisfaction factor.

Toast some whole grain bread, smash some avocado into toast, top with fresh, prepared greens, tomato, onion, and or capers, add salmon lox, minimally processed deli meat, eggs, or whatever other leftover proteins you might have on hand and voila...perfection! 

Items to keep in the kitchen:

  • Whole grain bread (again, Ezekiel is awesome and can go from fridge/freezer directly to toaster as needed)
  • Salmon lox, minimally processed deli meat, eggs or other ready-to-eat lean protein
  • Avocado (buy them a little unripe and let them ripen on the counter for a couple days)
  • Pre-washed, bagged greens
  • Tomato, onion, capers and/or any other condiments you might like.  

And there you have it! I have many other emergency meals in my repertoire, which I'll share more of in the future. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what some of your go-to's are! If you try any of these out, use #jeannereillyrd and show me your handiwork on social media!

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I have availability for new clients at the moment, so if you know of anyone or any health-focused companies looking for a nutrition consultant, or people looking for a nutrition coach, send them my way!