In our family my husband works long hours, I work every day and we have three small children and a dog. Add in the fact that we both volunteer on committees, exercise regularly, have hobbies and the children do after school clubs and our weeks can get pretty busy. Having a good solid routine (that is habit) helps tremendously but some weeks an extra deadline or commitment can tip the balance and I need to focus on that and not spending lots of time in the kitchen.
Here is my version of a healthy eating meal plan when you are time short but wanting to still eat well.
NB: I normally try to make as much myself as possible in part to avoid excessive single use plastic. In weeks like this I have to put that desire to the side so that I can focus on health first. I am no health expert (clearly! haha) – this is just what we do instead of getting takeaways or buying lots of processed food and whilst it is far from perfect it is better than the take out option.
Mon – V – Vegetable stir fry
Buy a bag of stir fry vegetables and cook as per instructions on bag. At the same time boil a pan of water and put in a nest of medium egg noodles per person. Either add a sachet of stir fry sauce to the veggies or just add a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of Chinese 5 spice. Drain noodles, mix with veggies and serve.
Tue – F – Omega 3 Fish Finger Sandwiches
Cook Fish Fingers as per instructions on pack, serve in wholemeal or granary bread with lots of spinach and salad leaves.
Wed – V – Pesto Pasta loaded with Vegetables
I get a big pan out, chuck in some wholemeal pasta and an equal amount of frozen vegetables (green beans, peas, broccoli, spinach etc). Cook until the pasta is just cooked through and then drain. Mix with half a jar of red pesto and half a tub of soft cheese. Serve as it is or with a handful of salad leaves (from a bag) on the side.
Thu – F – Sardines on toast
Toast some wholemeal or granary bread. Add a tin of mashed up Sardines (the ones in tomato or spicy sauce are the best), sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese (buy pre grated if you have no time) and grill until it is warmed through and a little crispy on top.
My children normally have beans on toast instead of this – I am still working on convincing them…!
Fri – P – Chicken Wraps (or quorn if veggie)
Grab a bag of frozen chicken strips/pieces, add some frozen sliced peppers – fry off and add the other half of the jar of red pesto (and a little water if too dry). Eat in wholemeal wraps with salad (from a bag if no time to prep).
Sat – V – Vegetable Soup & granary bread.
Either buy a fresh tub of soup from the supermarket (take caution though as they often have lots of salt and sugar) or buy a bag of diced sweet potato and butternut squash, put it in a pan, add a handful of frozen diced onion, two vegetable stock cubes and cover with water. Boil until cooked. Eat as it or blitz with a hand blender (you can make it less thick by adding more water).
Sun – P – Chicken Dinner
Put some chicken breasts in the oven (covered with foil) to cook. On the hob cook a selection of frozen vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, peas, green beans etc. Microwave a bag of frozen mashed potato. Once all cooked, serve with instant gravy.
Quick Healthy Snacks for the week (aside from fruit) can be:
Carrot batons (bought in a bag) with houmous or soft cheese.
Dried mango with a natural yoghurt ‘dip’.
Malt loaf slices.
Fruit toast lightly buttered.
Make it more guilt free:
To make it slightly more eco friendly make sure you check if the plastic bags are recyclable with carrier bags (a lot say on the back of the bag). One quick way to check is if the bag is stretchy (and not black) then it is likely to be able to be recycled. Save these up in a carrier bag and take to your local carrier bag recycling point (check your supermarket) or hand back to a delivery driver if you get online shopping. Also most plastic punnets can now be recycling along with the normal cardboard etc – check your local council for more info.