There is nothing worse than making your way home after a long day at work and realizing that you have absolutely nothing edible in your kitchen.
Let’s face it—you can only really justify ordering takeout from Postmates when it’s absolutely necessary (late night deadline, PMS cramps, the season finale of Game of Thrones)—more than once a week, and you’re spending way too much cash on tipping the delivery dude. Honestly, eating out all the time isn’t great for your waistline, either.
But I completely understand that meal planning or batch cooking for the week on Sunday night isn’t always feasible, or enjoyable. Instead, I recommend that my clients always keep a few clutch items on hand to whip up fast, nutritious meals—even if they haven’t been to the grocery store for weeks.
1. Frozen veggies
I’m constantly scooping up pre-cut veggies or freezing my own for easy stir-fries, scrambles, and to throw into smoothies. Keep frozen chopped spinach and kale in your ice box and add to your favorite blend in lieu of ice to get a dose of greens and keep your drink cool. Lately, I’ve really been loving throwing frozen cauliflower into my frozen fruity beverages. I know it’s a little weird (OK, a lot weird) but cauli is virtually tasteless when added into the blender with other fruits. It gives any smoothie some extra thickness, and cauliflower is loaded with fiber and antioxidants—so it’s ultra-healthy.
2. Really ripe bananas
If you have a sweet tooth, frozen ripe bananas are a must-have! Instead of keeping ice cream in the fridge for when you’re craving something sweet, make “nice cream” with frozen bananas, peanut butter, and cacao powder.
3. Bone broth
Drinking a cup of it straight might take a bit of getting used to, but bone broth has these almost magical healing powers that make it worth the sort of gross taste. It’s naturally high in protein and collagen, so it’s been proven to do everything from improving gut health to strengthening skin. Personally, I use it as the base for almost all soups—blend some frozen veggies into boil bone broth and you’ve got a super healthy dinner!—because I can’t stand the taste. That being said, it’s really good for you, so if you can stomach sipping on it like coffee or tea, by all means, go for it!
4. Pre-cooked grains or pasta
No, it’s not that hard to whip up a batch of quinoa, brown rice, or gluten-free pasta. But I’m way more likely to include those foods in my meals if I can pop them in the microwave for thirty seconds instead of taking the 10 minutes to prepare them. (Guys, I’m very lazy) Trader Joe’s sells pre-cooked frozen grains that make life so much easier, and I recently found a gluten-free, low-carb pasta brand called SkinnyPasta that I’m totally obsessed with. Most of their products have less than eight ingredients—the fewer ingredients, the better—and they actually taste great. Throw in some veggies, drizzle with olive oil, and you’ve got a pretty balanced meal.
This one is non-negotiable. Keep the protein of your choice in your fridge at all times—it’s the base of any meal. Shrimp is probably the most simple, basic protein you can have (you don’t even need to cook it!) but in my house there’s always grass fed beef that’s ready to be defrosted and made into hamburger patties or taco meat.
Keep nuts refrigerated or in the freezer to keep them fresh. When exposed to room temperature for too long, the natural fats found in nuts can go rancid. Yuck. Freezing your trail mix won’t affect the mouthfeel, and ensures that you’re getting the most nutrition out of every bite! (Check out the new nut butters here)