By this point, we all know that home made food is better for us than processed convenience foods.

That we should be able to pronounce every ingredient in every food product we buy.

That the product should have 3 ingredients or less.

That we should buy local tomatoes from a farmstand in August and spend all sunday making Nonna’s homemade pasta sauce.

Don't be so lazy

So we dutifully ‘pin’ gorgeous recipes and stock up at the farmer’s market and feel very virtuous about it all.

But then one day you come home from work and you are so hungry that you drop your bag at the door and, still wearing your coat, you charge into the kitchen,starving and throw open the fridge and it looks like this:


…and you think:


That’s when you end up eating

the entire bag of your kid’s rainbow Goldfish crackers

and an ice cream scoop of peanut butter

….while you wait for the Hot Pockets to heat up.

hot pockets

That’s when stuff like this starts to look good:


If this has ever happened to you, what you need is an arsenal of healthy 5 min meals.

Just for those times when:

You oversheduled yourself today and forgot to pack a snack.

Your kids are hungry and tired and need to be fed NOW.

You have a small window between work and book club and need to eat, check your email, change and be out the door again in 20 mins.

It’s friday and you are like

fuck everything


So you can stock up on Hungry Mans…


…or you can stock up on these pantry staples and in case of emergency, you can execute any of the following Five Minute Healthy Meals Ideas.

Grocery list

  • Sprouted tortillas or pita pockets (for what the deal is with sprouted breads, check out my Costco shopping list post)
  • Boston lettuce/collard greens/ Romaine lettuce (for carb-free wraps)
  • Box or bagged fresh greens
  • Canned beans (lentils, chick peas, pinto, white). Look for low sodium.
  • Canned tomatos
  • Pestos/ Salad dressings / Spicy sauces / spreads / salsas etc. that you love so much you would eat them on a napkin so slathering it on a plate of veg look amazing.

Be careful here – you want to check ingredients for sugar (by all it’s names – usually ending with ‘ose’) and low-quality oils (like canola oil, soybean oil). This is where it might be worth spending some time on a Sunday to prep some home made versions (click here for my easy home made hummus and salad dressing recipes).

But if you are stuck, my philosophy is that it’s fine if a spoonful of Memories of Szechuan helps the broccoli go down.

  • Frozen vegetables (broccoli, chopped spinach, cauliflower, edamame ,etc, etc)
  • Ready to go protein.
I’m not talking about nasty nitrate filled cold cuts here. Ideally, you could cook up some chicken breasts and use them up over the next 3-4 days but can also buy a whole cooked chicken and pull off some chunks. Vegetarians, you can keep some marinated or spiced tofu or tempeh handy or some red lentils that you cooked with some veggie stock.  Boiled eggs and tuna fall in this category as well.
  • Canned Soup

Look for  a brand like Amy’s Organic, which is low in sodium, BPA-free and full of clean ingredients.

5 Minute Healthy Meals

Let’s first review what a healthy meal looks like. If you were to serve it up on a plate and then ideally it would look like this:
  • Half of your plate would covered in vegetables.
  • On the other half, there would be
    • a portion of protein about the size of your palm (diameter and thickness)
    • a portion of starch about the size of your fist.
  • Then you’d add a thumb-sized portion of healthy fat (not shown here but think about olive oil, grass-fed butter, nuts, etc)
Most of these 5 min meal ideas don’t have that visual reference but the portions suggested here maintain that same ratio.
Remember to personalize the portions for YOU (your palm may be a lot smaller than your husband’s palm). And my thumb is pitifully small when I’d much prefer to have a portion of fatty peanut butter the size of my arm.
peanut butter

Meal Category #1: Soup up your soup

I work at home so I do this all the time for quick and warming winter lunches. Just heat up the soup in a pot and throw in the extra protein and veggies (great way to use up frozen veg). Bring to a simmer and top with some healthy fat!

  • 1 can of Amy’s organic soup in your favourite flavour
  • 1 portion extra protein (frozen edamame works well here)
  • 1 handful extra veggies (toss in some fresh spinach or a frozen mix)
  • Serve with a 1/4 avocado sliced thin on top or extra spicy sauce, a dollop of pesto or sour cream or greek yogurt, etc


Meal Category #2: Stuff in a wrap

  • 1 wrap. You could use the sprouted tortilla or pitas here or use a collard green or Boston lettuce leaf as a low carb alternative
  • 1 portion of protein ( you measure out the correct portion for YOU by looking at the size of your palm). This could be eggs, chicken, beans, hummus etc.
  • 1 -2 handfuls of vegetables (ideally you’d have some sprouts and fresh greens and shredding carrots on hand but if not, nuke some of your frozen broccoli or chopped spinach. Remember, this should be the equivalent to half of your plate so stuff it in!)
  • 1 tbsp delicious pesto/spread/dressing or 1/4 of an avocado.


Meal Category #3: Breakfast all the time

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 handfuls veggies (chopped tomatos, thawed frozen spinach, sauteed mushrooms, etc etc)
  • 1 thumb-sized portion of cheese of choice
  • Salsa
  • Any seasonings you like (paprika, lemon pepper, etc)

You could do this on a frying pan (mix eggs with seasoning, pour on hot non-stick pan, add veggies and cheese and fold) or mix it all in a mug and put in the microwave for 2 mins and have virtually no clean up. If you aren’t watching your carbs, add a slice of bread.

bowl eggs

Meal Category #4: Put stuff on vegetables instead of bread

  • Vegetable ‘vehicle’ (something like a thick slice of tomato, cucumber rounds, jicama slices, celery sticks)
  • Protein ‘salad’. This version has tuna but you can try it with chicken or chickpeas:

Mix it all together and measure your portion of the protein salad out (about 1 cup will do) and serve on as many cucumber rounds tomato slices or celery sticks as you want. Here’s a good, mayo-free tuna salad recipe:

  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder (depending on your taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

celery sticks

Meal Category #4: Quickie chili

  • Portion of protein
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Extra veg (whatever needs to be used up in your fridge..zucchini, peppers, carrots)
  • Seasoning of choice (Chipotle chili or a sugar-free taco seasoning, for example).
  • Serve with 1/4 avocado or 1 tbsp sour cream


 Meal Category #5: Easy Peasy Bean Bowl

  • 1 cup of beans
  • 1 tbsp of pesto
  • Serve on a bunch of veggies


So there you go!  Five different 5 min healthy meal ideas with tons of variations = no emergency Hungry Man meal for you when you don’t have time to marinade the grass fed beef and julienne the vegetables and stir the risotto.

What did I miss? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s your go-to 5 min healthy meal?

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