by John Baker
Life can be busy. When this happens you need to get creative so you don’t sacrifice your hard work in the gym. Many suggest meal-prep, but for some people even this isn’t a foolproof option. Nevertheless, if you have access to a pantry, convenience store, or a grocery store you can create a healthy meal that supports your goals without requiring any cooking or prep. Below are 5 of the best options for when life gets hectic and you don’t have time for conventional options.
- Protein Powder and a Handful of Nuts:
Protein and fats are a great combination to keep your blood sugar stable and keep you from getting hungry. This meal can be ready in less than a minute. A serving of protein powder and a serving of nuts can provide you with nearly 30g of protein and just under 20g of healthy fats, keeping you on track and focused on your busy life.
- Beef Jerky and Baby Carrots:
Jerky is a great go to protein source when in a pinch. You can get it nearly anywhere, even gas stations. Because it is dried out, jerky contains more protein per ounce than its non-dried counterparts. A typical bag of beef jerky provides anywhere from 20-30g of protein with very little additional fat. Additionally, pairing it with carrots (or another vegetable) will provide vitamins, mineral and phytonutrients to support cellular functioning. The fiber in vegetables will also help keep you full and blood sugar stable so you can focus on the task ahead and not your next meal.
- Protein Bars:
There is no doubt there are fair amounts of candy bars masquerading as protein bars. However, there are still a good amount of healthy options. What you need to look for are options with minimal ingredients, low sugar content, and high protein. Another thing that can be beneficial to look for are bars high in fiber. This is typically added insoluble fiber however, which can give some people digestive discomfort. Additionally, there are a lot of bars that are cheaper when you buy several at a time.
- Canned Tuna or Sardines in Olive Oil:
Canned fish has been a go-to inexpensive protein source for decades. Although some people note these can be high in mercury, this isn’t something you need to worry about if you only eat it once in awhile. Two cans of tuna cost only a few dollars, but yields about 40g of protein with just under 20g of healthy fats. Sardines have a similar nutrition profile, but also have up to several grams of omega-3 fats as well. Some companies even offer sardines without the bones and skin if that is a deciding factor for you.
- Deli Meat and Cheese:
For those of you who don’t get excited about powders, jerky, bars or canned foods may find comfort in deli meat. While there are some things to look out for in cheaper deli meats, there are some great options if you elect to spend just a little bit more. Most deli meats are low in saturated fat, high in protein, delicious and come in a variety or flavors. Pair this with a few slices of your favorite cheese, or some cheese sticks and you have a very high protein and convenient snack that has hundreds of flavor combinations.
Life throws things at you and sometimes you need to abandon plans for more convenient ones. However, this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your health and your goals. By utilizing the options above you can create meals that will help you stay on track with your nutrition, keep you full, and keep you locked in to whatever life may be plaguing you with at the moment, wherever you may be.