One of the keys to eating well on a budget is to meal plan, but sometimes we get to that particular day and we just don't feel like cooking what is on that plan. Am I right? The thought of cooking our meal plan makes our eyes cross. We all have days like that. Look, we aren't married to our meal plans. It's ok to adjust and wing it. The meal plan is just the guide, not the master.
Now, sometimes you do just have to put on your big girl pants and plow through, but sometimes when you "just can't even" it's wise to have some healthy meals that you can pull out of your back pocket that don't require cooking. They are mostly assembly, yet they get the job done for feeding your family a well-balanced meal. In most homes, there is usually something that can be pulled together. Here are a few ideas that we frequently use in our home.
Healthy meals when you don't feel like cooking
Store bought rotisserie chicken with no-cook sides
Thank God for the rotisserie chicken! Our local grocer sells a delicious chicken with clean ingredients and a great price tag. Serve it with whatever no-cook/low-cook sides you have hanging around: salad, raw vegetables or fruit, frozen veggies in the microwave, baked potato in the microwave, applesauce. If you have any leftovers, you can use them for the next two ideas.
Beans, leftover chicken, cheese, any veggies, etc can be spiced up and sandwiched in between tortillas shells for a super easy and kid-friendly meal.
Salad topped with beans or rotisserie chicken
If you don't feel like even chopping up lettuce or greens, there are many great bagged salads on the market now. Skip the dressings that come in the bag and go for simple homemade oil and vinegar dressing instead. Top with that same rotisserie chicken, chickpeas, beans, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, etc.
Sandwiches or wraps
Don't ever be ashamed of a good ol' sandwich or wrap for dinner. Make it as simple or fancy as you can handle. Layer up whatever meat, cheese, veggies, and sauces that you have hanging around or just go for veggies if that's how you roll. Cold is always great, but if you want to make it a little special, try toasting it for a hot sandwich.
Smoothies and popcorn
Smoothies and popcorn can be a perfectly acceptable meal. Load it with frozen fruit, veggies if you have any, any fats you have (avocado, coconut milk, yogurt, flax, chia), and protein (cottage cheese, hemp seeds, collagen, nut butter etc).
Breakfast for dinner
This is often my go-to when I just can't do one more thing. Easy options are scrambled eggs and no-cook sides, French toast, or fried egg sandwiches.
This is becoming my favorite Friday night dinner while we watch a movie. Load up a big board or platter with whatever snack foods you have in the fridge or pantry and let your family go to town. Options include lunch meats or sliced leftover meat, fruit, cut up veg, olives, cheeses, nuts, crackers/seed crackers/toasted bread, hummus, sauces (mustards, jams, hot sauce), popcorn, avocado.
Yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit
My husband often eats this as a snack, but it could also work for dinner in a pinch especially if you aren't super hungry.
Smorgasbord of leftovers
A great way to clean out the fridge, just put all of the leftovers out and have everyone mix and match. No work for you and you can start your week with a cleaned out fridge.
What ideas do you have? Leave a comment below and share your brilliant mind with our community!