I read somewhere once that we have the same amount of time in a day as Beyonce does. I think it was supposed to be some sort of motivation to get off your ass and do something with your life, but really it just resulted in making me feel bad about myself when a day consisting of 8 hours at the office and an hour of CrossFit wears me the eff out.
Anyhow, for every one day that I make some fun exciting recipe – there are about 10 where I’m trying to figure out how to get a square meal that requires the least effort as possible. Takeout is the ultimate lazy solution, which I maybe do once every few months. For the most part, the name of the game is I WANT FOOD NOW.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes work burns you out, extracurriculars take over, and by the time you get home for dinner you’re posed with a big ‘ol problem. You’re too exhausted to cook, but you’re also exhausted because you’ve hardly eaten anything all day.
Whether you’re strapped for time or just plain old lazy (no judgement here, promise – I’m the one writing this after all), below are some of the things and ideas that have really helped me along the way since embarking on my cleaner eating adventures 2 years ago.
1) Shakes & Smoothies
Early on in my paleo adventures, I had to do something to replace the English muffins and/or Honey Nut Cheerios that I regularly enjoyed for breakfast in a former life. Bacon & Eggs became the daily norm. However, having to wash that stupid greasy skillet day in and day out really started to get on my nerves. As time went on, I was sick of my kitchen smelling like a grease pit and wasn’t in the mood for the hot stove as spring and summer were on the way.
Enter my trusty single serve lime green blender named Stan. (Yes, I name electronics. I’m weird. Just welcomed a Google Chromecast named Chadwick to the family last week.) I’m not saying to head off to Jamba Juice or Starbucks for smoothies daily, but if you make your own at home, it’s a simple way to sneak in fruits, vegetables, protein, vitamins etc. into a single concoction.
Recipe Suggestion: Black Raspberry Protein Shake
Other Suggestions for Smoothie Ingredients:
- Coconut Water
- Protein Powder
- Flaxseed Meal
- Chia Seeds
- Nut Butter
- Coconut/Almond Milk
- Leafy Greens like Spinach/Kale
- Frozen Fruit (FUN FACT: frozen chunks of fruit eliminate the need for ice cubes!)
2) Finger foods aren’t just for kids.
Just because you don’t feel like carefully carmelizing onions or whipping up a delectable stir fry doesn’t mean that you can’t still get your veggies in. I almost always have a bag of baby carrots in the fridge, which I use to either eat on their own or dip into individual sized Wholly Guacamole packs. Celery sticks and cucumber spears are excellent to cut up at once and keep in a large container in the fridge. Easily packable & snackable! My newest favorite = sugar snap peas.
Recipe Suggestion: Paleo Buffalo Chicken Bites
3) Fire up that grill!
It’s a sad day when snow falls and you can’t get at your grill anymore. It’s a happy day when said patio snow melts and you can! If you’re fortunate enough to live in a rather warm climate, I can’t emphasize how much you should be taking advantage of that wonderful Weber on the back porch. Grills just have this way about them to create flavor that you can’t get by cooking in a skillet, oven or with George Foreman. One of my favorite parts = NO DISHES! This may or may not be why I come home from work practically daily to grill myself up a pair of Applegate hot dogs.
I know that some of the fancier models sure are pricey. If you don’t feel like dropping a few Benjamins, consider a small camping/tailgating sized grill. Mine cost $50ish and we’ve now spent 2 summers happily together.
4) Go on, just throw it all in one bowl.
Those Tex-Mex places like Chipotle and Moe’s got it right. Sometimes you don’t want the tortilla, you just really want the fun flavored stuff inside. I tend to do this often at home. Sometimes you want the salad with all the stuff on it, minus the lettuce. Taco meat, salsa, pico, guacamole? Who cares if it looks like a pile of mush when you mix it all together. It’s tasty green mush. Saves dishes, tastes delicious.
This doesn’t just apply to southwestern food. I’ve thrown chicken, zoodles, pesto and goat cheese together before. Goat cheese melts very easily when mixed with warm food. I like to think of it as a healthier version of Alfredo.
Recipe Suggestion: Zuquinoa Alfredo
5) Ready-Made Seasonings & High Quality Condiments
These are the most recent addition to my spice cabinet, and they are worth every penny! Thank a collection of food bloggers I follow on Instagram for introducing me to them. I recently purchased the Combo Pack, so I’ve got options options options lately when it comes to a quick meal.
One of my recent new favorite things to do is to pop by the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken, then reheat it pieces at a time with either quinoa or zoodles, using the Flavor God seasonings to give the same basic dish a new flavor profile each time.
Sir Kensington’s is also known for producing condiments with clean ingredients, so you don’t need to worry about ruining your meal with mystery ingredients that made their way into your food via some factory in Nebraska.
Recipe Suggestion: Sriracha Chicken Salad
There you have it… no excuses! Step away from the Chinese takeout menu and whip up something goooood.