What are healthy but cheap dinner options
When you have to go fast: 6 healthy "fast food" options from the supermarket
Sometimes you just don't have the time or - if you're honest - just don't feel like thinking about what you can have for lunch at work beforehand. And then suddenly it’s lunchtime, you’re hungry and the only option is the supermarket next door. But does it have to degenerate into a “catastrophe”? No! We have put together a list of possible lunches that you can quickly “look for” in the supermarket, that you can eat quickly and that also fit easily into a healthy diet.
Incidentally, there is also a detailed video on this subject in the Premium rule of thumb. Because for many of you, planning ahead is not that easy at the beginning - or sometimes there is really no time. One of our most important “commandments” in the rule of thumb system is: “Approximately is good enough!”.
In other words: you don't always have to eat perfectly to eat healthily and lose weight! Exceptions and compromises are allowed and are part of it!
So: what can you “collect” quickly in the supermarket?
If you don't have the rule of thumb in your head yet: a main meal consists of about the size of the palm of your hand protein, a maximum of one size of starchy or sugary carbohydrates and at least two sizes of vegetables. (You can get an overview of the rules of the rule of thumb system with the free printable poster - download it right here)
These are the same criteria that we apply to this meal.
It is usually easiest if we start with the protein source, or with a “part” that can already be bought ready-made. E.g. the finished salads.
1. Ready-made salads - possibly supplemented
In many supermarkets there are ready-made salads with various vegetables and, for example, tuna, ham, cheese or egg (or a combination thereof) in the refrigerated section. The salad provides us with the “vegetable fists”, tuna, ham, cheese and / or egg the protein (should be about the size of the palm of your hand). If corn, couscous, pasta or beans are also included, then that also brings us the starchy carbohydrates (beans also provide additional protein). So there is everything there that you need for a meal according to the rule of thumb.
Too little or no protein (i.e. neither tuna, ham, egg, cheese, etc., or less than the size of the palm of your hand all together):
Tip: buy a mug of cottage cheese, a can of fish (see below), a mug of hummus or a can of beans with your salad (but then only eat about half of it).
No starchy carbohydrates (the "starch fist" is missing):
If there is no corn, no couscous, no pasta, no beans or no croutons / bread cubes, then you could have a piece of bread (or 1-2 slices of crispbread) with it. Incidentally, crispbread can also be stored well in advance in the desk drawer. But it's also okay to leave out the “strength fist” from time to time.
Unfortunately, the ready-made dressings that can be bought with salads are often not ideal. Mainly because they contain little or no oil, but all the more sweeteners and / or sugar. Make sure you find the best compromise and avoid sugar / sweeteners as much as possible. If you get salad from the supermarket more often, then think about getting yourself olive oil and vinegar for the office or bringing a ready-made mixture in a bottle from home - it's cheaper and tastes much better!
2. Hummus or cottage cheese combination
Hummus - a puree made from chickpeas and sesame - comes in different flavors. It serves as a source of protein for this meal - i.e. we now need two sizes of vegetable and the “starch fist” (although some of the carbohydrates are already supplied by the chickpeas).
Cottage cheese is available with and without herbs and it provides extremely high-quality protein - it also tastes good with vegetables and on bread. And yes, please take the full fat version, not the lean version!
In the vegetable department, choose vegetables that are easy to nibble raw - or with which you can maybe even “spoon out” the hummus or cottage cheese. Celery sticks, cucumbers (the mini version or a cucumber cut into sticks), carrots (whole or nicely cut - depending on what your options allow), peppers (you have to cut it up if you use it for dipping) are good for this will) or, for example, chicory (the individual leaves are ideal for spooning and the bitter substances are good for the liver).
If you like, you can add 1-2 slices of crisp bread or a small “Weckerl” (bread roll) to it. If it's whole grain, it's a nice plus, but it doesn't have to be (yes, whole grain is usually better - but you also have to be able to make a compromise without the world ending).
3. Fish can combination
Cans of fish (or ready-made fish salads from the counter) are much better than their reputation. Even those in “sauce” are often completely okay! I make sure that the fish is sustainably caught (e.g. MSC-certified) and then I read the label: I want it to contain ingredients that I would have at home myself: spices, tomato paste, etc. but no flavors, flavor enhancers or preservatives. If a little sugar is lower on the ingredients list, I don't mind.
Fish provides us with great protein - for this we need vegetables and a “starch fist” - here, too, I reach for the tried and tested “snack vegetables” and crispbread. Finished!
By the way, canned fish and crispbread are a great combination for an “emergency meal” from the desk drawer. Both last forever and the combination contains high quality protein, good fats, keeps blood sugar stable and provides energy. -If the vegetables are missing, that's no big deal. You can make up for that at another meal.
4. A sandwich / bread roll PLUS
It is of course easiest if you can get yourself a filled “Weckerl” (bread roll). Please note the following:
1) the finished “tramezzini” or packaged sandwiches that are not freshly put together on site are often full of preservatives - so read the labels!
2) Bread is cheap, the topping is more expensive - accordingly weckerl / rolls are often filled sparingly. But we want a better ratio of carbohydrates to protein. We therefore prefer to eat only one roll (= 1 fist size), but that is well filled (= 1 palm size egg white). If you can have this freshly put together, then you must have your rolls / rolls covered with a thick layer. If the egg whites seem a bit low to you, see if you can add a hard-boiled egg (sometimes available individually), half a cup of cottage cheese, or a few sheets of ham separately. Isn't that all whole grain? Don't stress yourself - every now and then this isn't a drama.
What are we still missing now? Correct! Vegetables! So go to the vegetable department - and look for two sizes of your “favorite snack vegetables” there.
5. Warm soup
If you have the opportunity to warm yourself up in the office, then ready-made soups from the cooling shelf are an option. You have to pay attention to this: is there enough protein? What else is in there? No flavors, yeast extracts, flavor enhancers or preservatives, please!
Most of the time, there is protein in these lentil or bean soups, and in rare cases meat. But: unfortunately, there is often little to no protein and then it is not a complete meal. Pumpkin soups and sweet potato soups often fall into this category. So be sure to look at the nutritional table. You are looking for the line with the "protein". As a guideline: ideally you need about 20g of protein per meal. The absolute lower limit for me would be 10g for your portion. Look at the label: if, for example, there are 4g of protein per 100g and the portion is 400g, that's 16g of protein and therefore perfect.
There is enough protein, but not enough vegetables (read labels!):
Cut a carrot and a small zucchini into small cubes and let them simmer briefly. Finished!
Not enough protein?
Get some shrimp, a fish fillet (both frozen) or half a can of beans and let them steep in the soup. Very easily!
6. Meat from the warming counter
In many supermarkets there are also warm dishes at the meat counter, for example minced patties (meatballs, meatballs) or roast chicken or grilled chicken legs (grilled chicken legs). The potato salad with it is perhaps not ideal, because it was rarely made on site and therefore likes to contain preservatives, but a fist's size to go with it is no big deal - and then all we need is the vegetables, so that an after-dinner meal The rule of thumb is: a small ready-made, mixed salad from the refrigerated shelf or 2 fists of the obligatory snack vegetables. enjoy the meal!
In the video in the Premium rule of thumb we discuss some other ideas and also how you can recognize a “good” spread and those that you should rather avoid. Not a member yet? Then it is high time! 😉 You can join us from 15.95 per month. You can find more information here!
What do YOU eat when you have to go super fast and you can only buy something in the supermarket? Tell us in the comments - the best tips often come straight from you!
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