We all lead busy, hectic lives, and this can make it hard to plan ahead and always eat the right things. Sometimes we just need something really easy and convenient to eat, no faffing or thinking required! So I’ve compiled a list of top foods that you can keep in your house to make things as easy as possible when you’re short on time and ideas. If you make sure you have these things in stock, you’ll always be able to rustle up something super quick and stay on track to achieving your goals.
I’ve broken it down into three sections – things you can keep in the cupboard, the fridge and the freezer.
IN THE CUPBOARD
Can be mixed with protein powder (and frozen berries if you like) to make a really quick and easy breakfast. Can also be mixed with yogurt, milk, protein powder and fruit and then left overnight to make overnight oats – breakfast ready to go as soon as you wake up.
Can be mixed with water or any type of milk to make a shake, mixed with yogurt to make a very tasty high protein snack/dessert, or mixed with oats (see above, and mix it in AFTER cooking the oats for best results). For best value protein in various flavours, click HERE to go to the myprotein website whey protein page.
Apple cider vinegar
Might not be to everyone’s taste but this is super nutritious and very low calorie and is great to drizzle over steamed veg like carrots and broccoli to give it some extra flavour. Apple cider vinegar ‘with the mother’ can be found in Health food shops and Holland and Barrett, and is the raw unfiltered version.
Coconut oil / olive oil
Both very nutritious oils to cook with. Coconut oil is great for frying on a high heat and olive oil is great for roasting in the oven. Both are high calorie fats so make sure you know how much you’re having – 2-3tsp per portion is about right.
Frylite / 1 cal spray
Great to use when the meal you’re cooking already has fat in it and you’re looking to keep the calories down, for example when frying up a steak. Also works well when frying protein pancakes.
These are good to snack on when you’re hungry between meals. Kallo rice cakes in particular are a good choice – taste nice (especially blueberry and vanilla flavour) and only 35-40 calories per rice cake. Work well with a bit of reduced fat soft cheese or Philadelphia lightest spread on top.
Options / Cadbury highlights hot chocolate
Only 39 calories per serving and still very tasty – perfect when you have a craving for something warm or sweet, or if you just love hot chocolate and want to reduce your calories.
Cauliflower rice sachets
These are brilliant for bulking out meals. Depending on which sachet you get, they are 34 – 56 calories per portion – 60 – 75% less calories than rice. Great way to save calories and get a serving of veg in too.
Tins of tuna
Super easy and convenient way to get protein in. Chuck it into a salad, have it on a jacket potato/sweet potato mixed with a bit of Greek yogurt, or have it in a warburtons thin if you like tuna mayo sandwiches and need an easy portable meal/snack. Tuna in brine or spring water is slightly low calories than in sunflower oil.
IN THE FRIDGE
Of all the fruits, these are best in terms of being low calorie, low sugar, high fibre and packed with antioxidants. Perfect for mixing with greek yogurt, topping your protein pancakes with, or just snacking on when you’re a bit hungry. One standard punnet of strawberries is less than 70 calories.
Greek / high protein yogurt
Really easy way to get your protein in for not many extra calories. Plain Liberte, Total 0%, SkyR and Arla yogurts are all great choices. Good to fill you up for a while and also great mixed with berries for pudding.
Need a quick and easy meal? If you have eggs, you’re sorted! Omelette with ham/salmon/veg, poached on protein toast, scrambled on protein toast/with spinach/ham/salmon, fried with mushrooms/lean bacon/veg. Loads of variations and another great way to get protein in.
Unsweetened almond milk
Really good low calorie alternative to milk (and good if you don’t tolerate dairy that well). Very nice when mixed with protein powder to make a shake.
Your favourite vegetables
Raw veg always makes a good snack – carrots, peppers, cucumber, celery etc. Low fat hummus, salsa or low fat soft cheese are good to use as dips. Spinach and tomatoes can form the beginnings of a nice easy salad (try adding tuna/chicken/prawns and drizzling with apple cider vinegar for a low calorie high protein snack/light meal)
Slices of meat / smoked salmon
Having a packet of meat in the fridge is always a good idea – could be added into a salad, put in a warburtons thin for a quick sandwich, added to an omelette or just eaten as it is for a high protein snack.
IN THE FREEZER
Less than 100 calories per thin – great way to still enjoy a sandwich without loads of extra calories. Nice with smoked salmon and low fat soft cheese, or ham and mashed avocado.
Hi lo protein bread
This can be found in sainsburys and is a great option if you really like bread. 86 calories per slice with more protein and less carbs than your average bread, plus it still tastes really nice too – just like a wholemeal loaf with seeds. Good for having with poached eggs, or you could mash half an avocado with a bit of salt and lemon juice and spread it on two slices of toast… both great choices to get your healthy fats in too.
Sainsburys Mediterranean chargrilled vegetables are really nice pan fried, and you can get pretty much any vegetable pre-chopped and ready to eat within a few minutes. Super quick and easy. Frozen spinach is also good to add to smoothies. No excuse for not getting your veg in!
Frozen mixed summer fruit berries
These are really nice mixed with oats and chocolate protein powder to make porridge or overnight oats. Also great added to smoothies, or mixed/blended with yogurt to make a frozen yogurt dessert.
A healthy frozen ready meal
For when you really can’t be arsed to do anything other than bung something in the oven. If you’ve ever found yourself ordering a takeaway because you’re ‘too tired to cook’ or ‘there’s nothing in the house’, keep one of these in your freezer! It wont be perfect in terms of nutrition, but it’s a lot better than a dominos. If you want to make this more nutritious you can cook up one of your favourite meals and keep a portion in the freezer, if you can make something that’s easy enough to cook from frozen. If you get a ready meal, look for one that has at least 20g of protein per serving and isn’t above 500 calories.
Quick and easy protein option that you can add to fresh or frozen veg and make a healthy stir fry within 10 minutes.
Mini twister ice creams (or similar low calorie option – mini Fruit pastille lolly / Fab etc)
For when you really fancy an ice cream or something sweet after dinner. At around 40 calories these will hit the spot and still keep you well on track.
I always try to keep a banana (already peeled and broken into a few pieces) in the freezer. If you’re low on protein for the day, blending a frozen banana with a scoop of protein and a dash of unsweetened almond milk makes a really tasty healthy ice cream treat. Also good for adding to a pre or post workout protein shake to get some extra carbs in.
BONUS TIP – In your handbag / car glovebox
When you’re out and about and feeling hungry, having a protein bar to hand can be a massive help and save you falling off track. Quest bars are a good option here as they don’t melt or get squashed very easily (cookie dough/cookies and cream/smores are most people’s favourites, and amazon is usually one of the cheapest places to find them). Other good protein bar options are Grenade carb killas (amazon or Holland and Barrett) and Promax bars (Sainsburys).
Please share if you find this helpful!
For more posts like this, plus weight loss advice and recipes sent straight to your inbox, just sign up to my email list in the box below.