11 Items to Have on Hand for Quick, Healthy Dinners
This was supposed to be a top 10 list but alas, I couldn’t decide on what to eliminate so I didn’t eliminate anything. Let’s first talk grocery lists for a moment.
Making a grocery list is irritating, isn’t it? It’s bad enough to have to take the time to shop (at multiple grocery stores, no less – bless you if you're able to get your shopping done at one store).
You’ve got your basics that you always buy, but then you’re sorting through Pinterest recipes and cookbooks, picking out what you’re going to make for the week and writing down ingredients, knowing full well how unlikely it is that you’ll actually make all the said recipes you planned on making, and you’ll just end up ordering pizza instead.
I get it.
But here’s the thing.
You don’t have to order take-out just because you don’t have your shit together.
This is my tried and true list of items that I always keep on hand to ensure that even if I a) run out of time to make said awesome new recipe or b) decide I can’t be bothered to make said awesome new recipe or c) just don’t want to get off the couch for more than 10 minutes tonight, I’ll still have a solid (healthy and PHFF! balanced) dinner on the table without having to get something delivered.
Add these items to your permanent grocery list and just always make sure you’re stocked. Several items are freezable, so if you see them on sale, grab a bunch! I’ll also try to link to my favorite brands so that you can write them down or order them directly from Amazon Fresh (grocery delivery – yeah, highly recommend).
CHICKEN OR TURKEY BURGERS
Look for antibiotic free, when possible, and make sure the ingredients are just ground meat + seasonings. This is my absolute favorite brand AND they’re precooked, so they’re ready to go. Pop one in the microwave or on the grill, top with loads of avocado and whatever burger toppings you like and boom - dinner is ready.
GROUND CHICKEN, TURKEY OR BEEF
Look for antibiotic and hormone free + grass fed, when possible. These are easily thawed and cooked up minutes! You can make tacos and stir-fries (including this Egg Roll Stir-Fry), mix it with some marinara for a quick meat sauce to eat over veggies or pasta (loving this Chickpea Pasta – high in protein!), or just cook it up and eat it as a #BabeBowl with some veggies and avocado.
These are so easy to thaw and cook up. I love to cook a bunch of veggies in avocado oil, add the shrimp, and cook with coconut aminos, fish sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Shrimp goes great with avocado, too, so grilling up some shrimp and eating it with a quick avocado-tomato salad is also a great option.
Chicken sausage, like Aidelle’s or this brand from Aldi, are my personal favorites. Slice it up and eat it with roasted veggies, cook in some marinara with sliced peppers and onions, or just eat with a big side of raw kraut.
Butter is one of those things that's just always there for you. When I put together a quick meal and think, ok, what's my healthy fat gonna be? There is ALWAYS butter. Put it on everything. Done. And the grass-fed butter has more omega-3's and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than regular butter, so I recommend it if you can't find it. Look for this kind at your local grocery store.
This is my one staple that is pretty perishable, but once avocados start to get soft, put them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process! They’ll last quite a while. Avocado has fiber + healthy fat, so it’s so good for blood sugar control and therefore, it’s quite the fat-burner. Top burgers with avo, put in a salad or make some Guacamole to top just about any dish and make it delicious.
Here’s one that I love to buy in bulk when it’s on sale (or from Costco) and freeze – it freezes so well. You can add cheese to anything to make it taste good, I don’t think I have to spend time convincing you to add this to your list.
FROZEN OVEN FRIES
Always check the ingredients on these guys - primarily, you're looking for potatoes, salt/seasonings and some type of oil (make sure it's not partially hydrogenated oil). One of my favorite brands is AlexiaFoods. Pair these fries with your turkey burger patty and you've got dinner in 20 with almost no prep.
FROZEN CAULIFLOWER & BROCCOLI
Any frozen veggie will do, but I just love the flavor of frozen broccoli and cauliflower. Both are so easy to just pop in the microwave or steam up real quick and season however you'd like. I personally just like to throw a chunk of grass-fed butter on it and call it a day. These are also great to stuff into potatoes or omelets, and frozen cauliflower has become one of my favorite new additions to my morning smoothie.
I'm all about making my own marinara , but it's also something I keep in the pantry 24/7 for when I'm in a pinch. Poured over some leftover chicken and topped with mozzarella for a quick chicken parm, stirred into chickpea pasta, cooked with eggs for some Eggs in Purgatory action - marinara can turn a really lame dinner into something fancy and delicious in seconds. Check the label and make sure you're only seeing real food ingredients and no added sugar, like this cheap-o Prego kind.
These are so essential because you can literally make tacos out of EVERYTHING. Fish tacos. Chicken tacos. Steak tacos. Breakfast tacos. Pork tacos. Fancy tacos. Regular ass tacos. Stick some cheese in a tortilla and melt it in an absolute pinch (it happens). Flour tortillas are pretty much empty calories, so look for gluten-free (I love Rudi’s) or corn. I try to buy my corn tortillas from the Mexican grocery store, because they’re fresh.
OK guys, what am I missing?What are your favorite items to have on hand for quick dinners?? Tweet me @NutrAddiction and let me know!
This page contains affiliate links, and if you purchase something, I could make a small commission. That being said, I fully stand before all products I promote and would never promote something I didn’t personally believe in.