Healthy At-Home Fast Foods

Although we all want to eat healthy and make the time to whip up a nourishing meal, sometimes life happens and it seems too much. But by having these staples on hand, you’ll find it a little more difficult to call for takeout or skip the brown bag lunch to work.

  1. Washed and cut leafy greens. Keeping 1-2 bunches of fresh leafy greens like bagged fresh spinach or washed and cut romaine means you’re a handful away from more veggies in your life. When making scrambled eggs or a toasted sandwich, throw in a handful of spinach and watch it wilt down for a beta-carotene packed meal. Cooking still too much? Keep some washed romaine lettuce and a can of rinsed/drained chic peas in the fridge for a quick salad topped with your favorite simple dressing like vinaigrette.
  2. Canned legumes. As mentioned in the recipe tip above, keeping canned beans is a quick and easy vegetarian protein source that’s also packed with fiber. Throw a cup of beans in a fresh salad or even mixed with your favorite cooked veggies for a complete meal.
  3. Hard boiled eggs. Full of important fat-soluble nutrients like choline and vitamin D, eggs are an eggcelent protein source to turn a regular piece of toast (or bowl of noodles) into a complete meal. Feeling extra fancy and short on time? Throw in a couple hard boiled eggs into a bowl of cooked noodles in broth of choice (try pre-made miso broth) with a handful of greens, a dash of soy sauce or liquid aminos, and a drizzle of sriracha.  The best part is you can make a dozen or so ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for a quick grab n go snack too.
  4. Canned fish. Much like the canned legume counterpart, canned fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines pack more bioavailable protein, usually calcium + vit D , and lots of b12 which make it a quick nutrient dense option to top on some greens or mix with some avocado + seasonings for a wholesome salad sandwich. Try this: 1 can of wild caught boneless salmon + 1/3 cup mayo , handful of parsley or chopped greens, 1 tsp mustard, 2 tbsp capers, juice of 1 lemon, + salt and pepper to taste. Throw this in a whole wheat pitta with a handful of spring mix for a quick lunch or dinner.
  5. Cooked grains. Making grains like quinoa, rice, farro, or whatever you like in bulk ahead of time means you have access to a fiber-filled and nutrient rich food that you can create any way you want. You can even use a combination of the foods listed above to make a no-cook grain bowl. All it takes is some assembly. Try this: 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1 handful of greens, ½ cup canned black beans + a dollop of your favorite jarred salsa and guac + shredded cheese if you have on hand.

Will a little plan-ahead action, you can keep these staples around at all times for a “no-excuse” healthy meal. When buying produce, take the time to rinse, cut, and store them for easy access. When buying eggs, try hard boiling half of them and set them aside in the fridge. Keep your other favorite condiments on hand for a quick flavor boost when assembling your at-home fast food. 

Lindsey Gass

Lindsey Gass, RD, LD/N is a registered dietitian in Miami, FL. With a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, Lindsey has years of experience in clinical, sports, long term care, and community nutrition. Lindsey currently works in critical care at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she provides nutrition support and participates in trauma research. Outside of her career, Lindsey is an avid runner and Nike run club pacer working towards qualifying for a Boston marathon. Follow Lindsey on Instagram at @lin.health for nutrition tips and tricks. Learn more about Youfit’s Registered Dietician