Staying on track with a healthy eating plan often requires planning ahead and prepping meals on the weekends. Getting home after a long day can mean an instant call to the nearest pizza joint if you don’t have healthy meals already staring at you, ready to go. But prepping meals isn’t always possible, especially if you’re extremely busy. In order to be prepared for anything, it’s a good idea to have a few “five-minute meals” in your repertoire that you can make at the drop of a hat. Here are five of our favorite healthy meals that you can make in five minutes:
1.Scrambled Eggs or Tofu
If you want a full meal in the mornings that keeps you full in a hurry, you can’t go wrong with scrambled eggs. One or two eggs will cook fully in under five minutes when scrambled. Add vegetables or low-fat cheese for even more flavor, or a bit of milk for a fluffier texture. For a vegetarian option, use tofu in place of eggs. This meal isn’t just for breakfast; it’s a quick and easy protein-filled meal any time of the day.
By keeping your pantry stocked with the ingredients for one or two of these five-minute meals, you’ll always have an option that you can reach for when cooking simply feels like too much work. Most of them can be on your plate in less time than it takes to order a pizza, leaving you feeling great about your choices and satiating your hunger faster. Be sure that whatever go-to meals you choose to have on hand are things you enjoy, so that eating them doesn’t become a chore.
2. Open-face Sandwiches
If you’re dealing with carb cravings in the middle of the day, an open-faced sandwich is a good way to conquer the urge without giving in too much. You can dress it up by topping a piece of bread with low-sodium lunch meat, or tuna with lemon juice and white beans, and low-fat cheese, and then popping the whole thing under a broiler for two to three minutes.
This is a great option for breakfast, or a post-workout snack. Berries and greens can be mixed in almost any combination to create a nutrient-rich smoothie in just a few moments. One serving of low-fat or nonfat milk, or nonfat yogurt, along with a serving of orange juice, half a banana, and a handful of berries is enough to make a base smoothie. Add greens to increase the vitamins and minerals, or add protein powder for a post-workout punch.
Oatmeal is full of fiber and protein, and if you use low-fat or nonfat milk, you can also add calcium and other nutrients to the mix. Microwave or heat instant oats over the stove for one to three minutes, and top with fruit, honey, nonfat yogurt, or cinnamon. If you aren’t in the mood for a sweet, you can also make oatmeal savory with herbs and low-fat cheese. You can make it even faster by making overnight oats and eating them cold. Simply fill a jar or container with oats, liquid, and toppings, and leave overnight.
5. Grilled Chicken
Thin chicken cutlets should be your go-to whenever you find yourself needing a meal in a hurry. A cutlet that weights about a quarter of a pound will grill or pan fry in about three or four minutes. All you need is salt and pepper, and you can quickly make a high-protein meal base. Add a bag of steam-able veggies and you’ve got one of the healthiest dinners around.