In my last blog post I shared strategies for stocking a healthy pantry and fridge. With a well-stocked pantry you’ll have everything you need for fast and easy healthy meals. Gone are the days where you’ll rely on fast food or take-out as the back-up option. There are of course many different meals you can make with some basic ingredients on hand. I want to share with you some of my family’s favorite back-up meal ideas plus healthy snacks that are always ready to go.
Spaghetti and Veggies
This is an easy one and definitely a crowd-pleaser with the kids. I make a spaghetti sauce with some grass-fed beef that I keep in the freezer (~½ lb), plus some tomato sauce in the pantry, and a couple cloves of fresh garlic. Always add some veggies. If you have some fresh or frozen spinach you can easily sautee with a little grass-fed butter and sea salt or add a little side salad or whatever veg you have on hand.
Pizza and Salad
Pizza dough is another freezer staple. After you roll out the dough, top with some pesto or tomato paste, a bit of cheese, and whatever toppings you have on hand (we like mushrooms and spinach). Always try to add a salad if you have some lettuce in the fridge.
With some basic pantry staples like black beans, taco seasoning, and corn tortillas you can easily whip up tacos. Add a little shredded lettuce, cheese, avocado, and salsa if you have it. With the rest of the lettuce and homemade dressing add a side salad.
Scrambled Turmeric Eggs with Greens
We always keep eggs in the fridge and not just for breakfast. Scrambled eggs with ½-1 tsp ground turmeric and a pinch of sea salt plus a mache salad (or whatever greens you have on hand) with avocado and homemade dressing. Satisfying and delicious!
Sausages, Rice, and Veggies
Sausages are another freezer staple because they’re so quick to cook; either in a pan or on the BBQ. Simply add some rice and whatever veggies you have in the fridge for a balanced and healthy meal.
Other quick and easy dinner options can come from whatever back-up options you’ve stocked your freezer with. When space permits I always try to keep at least one soup or stew in the freezer plus a quiche or veggie lasagna. All of these options are fast and definitely kid friendly. And most importantly they are all homemade with real food, which means they will always be a better and healthier option than fast food or take out.
The other thing I try to keep on hand are real-food, healthy snack options for grown-ups and kids alike. Because let’s face it, sometimes you just can’t wait until the next meal.
- Banana Bowl with Almond Butter (sliced banana with a spoonful of nut butter)
- Trail Mix
- Smoothie (this can easily be thrown together with frozen fruit, some fresh spinach, water, and nut butter)
- Oatmeal with Nut Butter and Cinnamon
- Yogurt with Fruit
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Turkey Jerkey
Take Home Message
The bottom line is healthy cooking for the family should not be hard. Of course, meal planning is really at the heart of healthy eating. But even the best intentions can sometimes be de-railed; a late night at work, unexpected kid activities, or even just feeling too tired to go with the original plan. Whatever the reason, as long as you have some basic staples on hand you always have easy, healthy back-up options. Join The Rustic Tribe to get more healthy tips and meal ideas delivered straight to your Inbox each week. (this article was first published on 4/17/17)