8 no-cook grocery staples for desperate times

Sometimes busy, stressful weeks just creep up on us.

In these times, it’s easy to get desperate and give up on health entirely. You’re tired, you’re hungry, and you don’t have the energy to cook, much less think about eating healthy. All you really want is for a pizza and a bottle of wine to be sitting on your coffee table, waiting for you when you get home.

AND I FEEL YOU.

Thing is, when your mind and body are stressed, that’s when you really need to take care of yourself. You need to sleep as much as you can, drink a ton of water, and eat well to combat the stress — and maybe work out to release some endorphins.

Historically, I’ve been pretty awful at this — in college, when I was studying for calculus finals (which I had to re-take…. twice) I lived on Thai noodle soup (emphasis on the noodle), cookies, and late-night pizza binges. And bourbon. I would usually make time for a workout (usually around midnight), aggressively pumping chemical-y pre-workout (essentially, caffeine, creatine, and food dye) through my veins to muster up enough energy for a lift.

Needless to say, it was during these times that my migraines were at their all-time worst. My skin sucked — a double whammy of acne and eczema, both of which flare up due to inflammation. I couldn’t sleep. It was all highly unhealthy.

Side note: This is why calculus should not be mandatory for organizational development majors. Not once in my job have I needed to take a derivative of anything, and I highly doubt that I ever will. To anyone reading who is in college taking a ridiculously unnecessary, painful class:

1) You will get through this.

2) You will live to tell the tale.

3) All you have to do is pass.

4) Grades really don’t matter as much as you might currently think they do.

*steps off soapbox*

strategies: food

Now that I’m a grown up, I’ve learned how to fight the stress and indulgent temptations of a crazy week by surrounding myself with real, grab-and-go foods. These are the grocery staples I reach for again and again to make sure the healthiest and quickest option is also the easiest one:

rotisserie chicken

It can be a hearty dinner, a savory salad protein for lunch, or a quick snack that has some substance. I recommend the Salt and Pepper chicken from Whole Foods, which is a total steal at $7 for the whole bird.

I usually eat the drumsticks for dinner, and carve the breasts into cubes for salads or chicken salad. You can do this all at once when you get home from the grocery store, or carve chunks off as needed.

deli turkey

Turkey is the bomb — you can eat it straight from the bag, which is my preferred consumption method for quick snacks or picnic-style lunches. You can also toss it with some greens, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette for a no-fuss salad.

sprouted grain bread

Make avocado toast, peanut butter banana toast, or a healthier grilled cheese with a simple salad on the side. Any of these options can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack — with less than 5 minutes of prep.

seasonal fruit

You want the grab-and-go stuff: Apples, bananas, plums, peaches, pears, etc. Try to eat a piece of fruit with at least 2 meals a day. They’re full of fiber, which will keep you full, and some studies say eating fruit boosts productivity (I’ll take it).

spring mix

Toss with your simple (homemade!) vinaigrette of choice to add some much-needed nutrition to your week.

Try this easy dressing: juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, parmesan.

lemons 

For simple salad dressings and detoxifying lemon water! Lemons are a must-have in my kitchen at all times.

whole grain cereal and almond milk

Serve it in a mason jar for a tasty on-the-go breakfast. Cereal is also a comforting midnight snack. Just make sure you read the ingredients label so you aren’t accidentally pounding sugar! I’m a big fan of this Blueberry Cinnamon Flax Cereal. ❤

mini frozen pizza (or other comfort food of choice)

If you’re going to be craving it anyway, take control of your typical craving by having an inexpensive, wholesome (ish), healthy option at home. For me this is pizza: Instead of ordering a pizza, I love the Trader Joe’s Bambino Cheese Pizzas, which have 250 calories and are seriously good when made in the toaster oven. Serve with a simple salad and a piece of fruit for a comforting, healthy little meal.

strategies: habits

If you know you’ll have a busy day, schedule breaks and take them. Grab a coworker and walk around the block or go for a coffee run.

When you get home, do some yoga (try this site!). Turn off all electronics after 9pm. Get some sleep. Take care of yourself, you busy bee. Your body is working hard and deserves some TLC. ❤

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