I try, as much as I can, to have dinner plans made well in advance of the evening hustle. It’s my goal to, at the very minimum, know what I’m making for the evening meal, and many times if I have time I will prepare the dinner in the afternoon. Last Tuesday, life had a very funny way of getting ahead of me and I found myself at 5:15pm scrambling for something to feed my family.
We’d left an afternoon workout and were headed home, and I knew that we had just about 45 minutes before we needed to leave the house for a different class. Everything that could have created a meal was still frozen, and there was precious little in the way of fresh produce. I did not want to stop at a fast food restaurant, didn’t want to resort to sandwiches or breakfast for dinner, and so I stopped at a grocery store. Walking around, I spotted the traditional last minute dinner choice – a rotisserie chicken – but I wanted something new and different. Happily, there were many choices available and we grabbed a fast and nutritious dinner that gave us energy to complete the evening.
Here are some great last minute dinners that I would be happy to serve to my kids – dinners that fill the slots of healthy, fast, nutritious, and delicious. Shop the perimeter of your grocery for these no cook dinner options, and remember to check the labels for sodium content, fat and calorie levels.
Fresh Prepared Foods – Salad bars are a clear choice, and many of them offer hot soups, grilled chicken or fish that can be a delicious way to make a dinner in a split second. Stay away from mixed salads bound with dressings or fruits in gelatin.
Fruits and Vegetables – Vegetarians and vegans know this – you can make a full meal from fruits and vegetables, and raw foods have an added nutritional bonus. Slice up cucumbers, red or green peppers and carrots into sticks and serve with hummus. Add in apple slices and some cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese sticks and you’ve just assembled a high protein, fresh and healthy meal in about 3 minutes.
Lean Proteins – There’s a reason that many of us grab a rotisserie chicken – it’s a quick and tasty protein choice that is one of the better grocery store “fast” choices. Think outside the box on this, though. Many stores offer fully cooked pork tenderloins, turkey breasts or other dinner standards, you just ask in the deli department. My local store offers skinless grilled chicken pieces, specially priced from 5-6 p.m. Low sodium lunch meat and cheeses can make speedy wraps or roll ups, and the fish department can steam shrimp at no charge in many locations.
Soup – As mentioned above, salad bars often offer soup choices. Chili and broth based soups are good choices, but don’t overlooked canned options as well. Healthy Choice has a tremendous selection of low sodium soups that are delicious and filling. Serve with whole grain cheese toast and a quick fruit salad.