meals nutrition nutritionist takeaway Sep 13, 2023

So dinner (or lunch) time is nearing but you’ve not meal prepped, you’ve not got ingredients and you’ve not got the time or mental capacity to put together the healthy meal you originally planned on having. Chances of getting takeaway are increasing by the second….. We have all been there!

But like anything in life, if you have a plan A, there should always be a plan B. You’ve accepted that the original healthy meal you planned in your head is not going to happen, and usually this would mean succumbing to the fact that takeaway is on the cards, but what if instead I gave you a number of options to have up your sleeve so that when this happens, there’s a back up so you can still have a healthy meal just without the effort and time involved of making one from scratch!

Now don’t get me wrong, a takeaway meal here or there is not something to worry about, if you genuinely feel like takeaway, then get it! We all need some soul food at times and hopefully you’ve heard me say enough by now that restriction is not a successful way to eat healthy for the long term. But I’m guessing that a lot of us are caught in this situation multiple times a week and majority of the time we really do want to eat something healthy, it just feels unachievable with the time and mental capacity we have.

So, let me give you plan B options and I’ll show you what mine are too. These will be back up things you will always have to call on at any time so that you still get to enjoy a healthy meal but with minimal thought, time and effort.



  • Canned/tinned proteins in the pantry! Take your pick from chickpeas, lentils and beans or fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel. Without a doubt these are super handy items to have on hand and will tick one of the FOUR main components you need to throw together a healthy balanced meal. Also don’t forget about eggs which most of us would usually have in the fridge.

  • Quick cook carbs. Here I’m talking pre-cooked rice/quinoa, cous cous or noodles such as ramen, soba or rice vermicilli noodles. These can take as quick as 90 seconds to cook for pre cooked rice and up to 10-15 minutes for soaking rice noodles. Other carbs that are great and require no cooking are wholegrain wraps and bread which can be stored in the freezer if they are not something you always have fresh. These will provide another of the four main components you need to throw together a healthy balanced meal.

  • Frozen Veggies. These are just as nutritious as fresh veggies and in my opinion are a must in anyone’s freezer. Have a mix of different kinds in there like a roasting mix (pumpkin/cauliflower/potato), a stir fry mix (broccoli, carrot, capsicum) and a steam mix (peas, corn, carrot).With the above three things (protein, carbs, veggies) you can easily whip together a healthy meal in no time. Two of my favourites would be a fried rice (Throw pre cooked brown rice, frozen steam veggies, tuna/eggs and any herbs into a wok with a drizzle of tamari), or a stir fry (soak some rice noodles in boiled water whilst stir frying some veggies and chickpeas and add some tahini/peanut butter, lemon juice and tamari).

  • A go to ‘healthy takeaway option’. Okay sometimes cooking just ain’t an option! I get it, my go to is a Vietnamese noodle salad bowl (vermicelli noodles, a heap of fresh veg and herbs, tofu/chicken and a dressing) from my local Vietnamese restaurant. With this meal I know I am still getting a good balance of macronutrients as well as lots of plant foods to support gut diversity, yet it is still DELICIOUS and fuss free. Do some research locally to see if there is a healthy option near you that you can rely on when needed. A lot of the time take-away meals lack veggies, so see if you can order it with extra veg!

  • A go to ready made meal option. Another very handy option, my favourite is Foxes Den soup/curry (or I also don’t mind Muscle Chef chipotle chicken). I know where these are stocked close by to me so once the decision is made I make a quick stop to grab the meal I can just heat and enjoy at home. Can be worth while keeping a couple of these in the freezer too (especially if you see them on sale).

  • Think EASY PEASY Meals. When I think of this I think a healthy quick smoothie, or eggs on sourdough toast with fermented veggies which is a lunch I would have easily 2 x per week. Remember, our meals don't always have to be fancy and involve a heap of effort. Life is busy, and while we want to aim for a variety of balanced, nutrient packed meals as much as we can, the reality is there will be times when this just can’t happen. So by having a plan B we can ensure the next best option is still going to going to be a healthy and tasty one, just a less fancy version!

I hope you found this article helpful in discovering simple and healthy meal options to save the day when you're short on time, ingredients or energy. If you have other tips and hacks for a plan B, I’d love to hear them below!



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