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Stay Consistent With the 'Go-To' Meal

You open the fridge and panic sets in. The cupboards elicit a similar response. Same for the pantry. You have no time and have to come up with dinner – and fast. But what will satisfy your hunger without requiring an hour of prep time? In the final hope that something new and exciting will appear, you open the fridge door one last time.

Take a moment, take a deep breath and relax. Before you speed off to the drive-thru as an "easy" solution to fixing dinner, consider this: there are countless "Go-To" Meals that will make cooking swift and simple. When you’re at a loss for time and ideas, you can turn to these without much thought.

Go-To Meals allow you to put in minimal effort while maximizing taste and nutritional value. These meals are quick, easy, and can be a staple in your diet. Only a few ingredients are required, so preparation and clean-up don’t cut deeply into your hectic schedule.

To create your own Go-To Meal, start with a few of your favorite ingredients. You’ll learn to depend on them when you’re in a time crunch. On your next trip to the grocery store, stock up on easy foods that you can whip up in minutes.

These meals should be quick, but still have nutritional benefits. Here are a few of our suggestions:
  • Peanut butter and jelly is an old favorite that’s even better when served on toasted whole wheat bread.
  • Pita pocket sandwiches are delectably stuffed with veggies and healthy lunch meat. Its shape is perfect for eating on-the-go. For some variety, try a whole grain bagel sandwich.
  • Peas and tuna are a breeze. Open a can of each, mix, microwave, and you’re set. For a little more flavor, jazz it up with some spices or more vegetables.
  • Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast! Heat some up for any meal of the day. With so many flavors to choose from, you don’t need an excuse to get this boost of fiber.
  • Beans and brown rice cover two of your main energy sources. The protein in the beans fuels your muscles, while the complex carbs in the rice provides lasting energy. To save time, try a quick-cook variety of brown rice.
  • Low-sodium soup and crackers will fill you up fast. Add some fresh or even canned vegetables for more nutrients.
  • Whole wheat pancakes taste great, no matter what time is blinking on the clock. With a powdered mix, you can be flipping some hotcakes in a flash. To save more time, toast frozen whole wheat waffles.
  • Chicken burritos are probably easier to make than you might think. Heat chicken, beans and vegetables, and wrap them in a whole wheat tortilla. Sprinkle on low-fat cheese and you’ve nearly hit all of the major food groups with one bite.
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Member Comments

Eggs are very popular here. Report
Most of my diet is go-to staples Report
SLIVERBULLET
great article Report
My go to is eggs because of their versatility; there are so many ways to make them.

But if I have to cook for the family then my go to is shrimp fajita mix (I keep the uncooked medley in the freezer)--add a salad with a base of shredded cabbage and it is on the table in just about 10 minutes. Report
My go to easy effort meal is a tray of no oil roasted veg and a protein. Report
great article Report
ROSSYFLOSSY
Thanks for sharing. Report
I plan carefully to try to avoid this scenario. Report
Good article Report
BREATH..great reminder. I always want to start munching while I look for something to eat. Report
Most often we have veggies in the fridge. Meat as option is a quick stop on the way home from work to pick up Rotisserie chicken. So many meal options with the chicken.

I also like to keep fish in the freezer; as soon as I come in the house, I place a few pieces under cold running water, while I change my clothes. Season and bake. Less than 30 min. Easy peasy.

You can always have breakfast for dinner. Report
My go to meal is fresh or leftover cooked vegetables, some rehydrated lentil or pea soup and feta cheese.
The suggestions in this article are all loaded with carbs and rely too much on over packaged, over processed foods. Thank goodness the comments have better ideas! Report
Great Comments! so helpful for where we live.

My favorite go to is quick stir fry: chop and saute celery, carrots, peppers, onions, cabbabe in sesame oil, add light soy sauce, cooked brown rice, and any meat (beef, chicken, shrimp, egg) and rice vinegar. In minutes you have just gone to your local teriyaki place without any of the added sugar, salt, msg. etc. Filling, Yummy, and Fast. I may just have to go make some for lunch, but that bean/tomato soup above sounds good too. Thanks for the great reminders/ideas, Report
My favorite dish when I go out for Chinese food is Egg Foo Yung. My current go to is based on this: I sautee 2 cups of shredded cabbage until it wilts and then add an egg or two on top. I stir the egg through the cabbage and then let it set until the egg in cooked through.

To accentuate the Asian flavors, I add soy sauce and sherry or rice wine vinegar while sauteeing.

This also works well to use up other veggies I have on hand. Report
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About The Author

Liz Noelcke
Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.