I’m not going to lie…
Living a life, where Real Food takes center stage, can take effort and time.
But. I have good news. It doesn’t always have to. For those of you who are really busy but would love to have some truly easy and healthy meal ideas to throw together, then this post is for you.
For starters, let’s understand what Real Food is. Real Food, for me, is:
- Eating as many foods from scratch.
- Eating foods that are minimally processed.
- Eating foods that are close to nature.
- Eating foods that my great nana would make.
- Eating foods that rarely come from a restaurant and/or box.
This is how I keep my family healthy. This is what I love. This is what works for us.
But… A life full of Real Food based on those bullet points above takes time. Quite a bit of time, in fact.
Yes, there are quick recipes that can be made in a slow cooker like this chicken recipe, this grass fed beef recipe, this grass fed beef tongue recipe, and this grass fed bison heart recipe. And, with my recent experience in a Classic Cooking school, I’ve learned how easily fresh and delicious soups can be made (15 minutes of prep max with about 15 minutes of cooking time) and how to quickly sear a grass fed steak (a couple of minutes each side and finish in the oven – that’s pretty simple) topping it with a brown sauce, and properly cooking some vegetables for the side. As well, scrambling up some pasture raised eggs or blending a smoothie can be a fairly fast food experience.
Still… even those simplest of preparations actually do take time and maybe more importantly they take forethought. I have to thaw the grass fed meat. I have to wash the organic vegetables, prep, and cook them. I have to make sure I have demi-glace made (and thawed) for the sauce. As you can see, it can still be a bit of a draining experience from thinking about the process to actually making the food, even if the ultimate food prep is only 20 to 25 minutes for a fabulous dinner.
Where am I going with all this? Well, even though I do those things most of the time, there are times I just can’t.
Enter: Real Food Fast Food. I have a stash of foods that qualify for decent, if not great, Real Food, but make the fastest meals ever: Real Food Fast Food.
There’s a very real place in life for Real Food Fast Food. For those days I’m:
- tired or not feeling like supermom
- running around all day with no time to make a proper meal
- running around all day and need food in a cooler (here’s my latest favorite eco-friendly cooler I love)
- just coming back from vacation (and nothing is thawed or the refrigerator is pretty empty of fresh produce)
- working extra hard because someone in the family is sick (thereby making my CEO of household job busier)
- needing a simple break from all that food prep
Real Food Fast Food is not food that I want for every meal, every day of the week, because that would be boring and not much fun. Real Food Fast Food is food with a purpose… Real & Fast.
Here is my list of ideas that can help you have Real Food Fast Food meals when you need a break from the kitchen or you simply have no time to spare.
To qualify for Real Food Fast Food, the food must require MINIMAL preparation, if any at all(!), apart from putting it on a plate. It should not require cooking or blending either. Real Food Fast Food is food that you can grab (quickly) when you walk in the door from a long day, and feel satisfied by the deliciousness, high nutrition, and not guilty in the least that it took you all of three minutes to put together. Yes, some of these foods are packaged, but they still include minimally processed ingredients so they make the cut for me.
Real Food Fast Food Options (Most of these ideas are not to stand alone as a meal. Depending on my mood, I mix and match any of the ideas together to make a satisfying and nutritious meal):
- Wild caught salmon roe New to salmon roe? Here’s how to love salmon roe. This makes an amazing Real Food Fast Food option. A couple tablespoons of this will get your brain energized and your body feeling great.
- Fresh fruit or frozen fruit
- Raw nuts and hemp seeds
- Grass fed whole fat(!) yogurt (I like Straus and Traders Point)
- Gluten free crackers and Butter Bell Crock spreadable grass fed butter
- Sardines (see how to start loving super food sardines here)
- Smoked salmon (this brand is so good and stores in the pantry making it great for road trips and camping too)
- Low mercury canned tuna fish
- Bell peppers (I bite into it just like an apple), raw carrots, raw celery, or avocado
- Raw sprouted almond butter (and other nut butters, especially for dipping with raw veggies and fruit)
- Raw grass fed cheese (break off a chunk – no cutting necessary)
- Grass fed organic summer sausage (my favorite is here)
- Dried fruit, like these holy-shit awesome figs
- Smoked oysters in a can
- Organic coconut oil
- Coffee Shake This requires making a cup of coffee which for most of us is pretty fast, especially if you have a Keurig. A coffee shake is actually best when made in a high speed blender like I do here, but truthfully, with one of these seriously bad-ass travel mugs I put the grass fed butter in it, add the coffee, MCT oil or coconut oil, and grass fed collagen. Put the tight lid on, SHAKE it up. Done. See? That’s fast.
- Raw oysters These really are Real Food Fast Food at its most nutritious, if you’re good at shucking. I realize people rarely have raw oysters on hand, but it bears featuring because when I see them fresh at Whole Foods I buy a dozen and then have my Real Food Fast Food breakfast all set for the next two days.
- Grass fed whey protein shake (Use a shaker cup – add water, whey, a scoop of raw chocolate powder and a few drops of stevia, if desired, and shake it up – no blender required. You can also keep canned coconut milk on hand for adding to whey protein shakes.)
- Pasture-raised(!) raw egg yolks. I separate the yolks, usually three at a time, and put them in a shot glass, and chug them down like a handful of pills.
- Epic’s Grass fed bison cranberry bars
- Sea spaghetti Eat it straight out of the bag for a mineral boost like my daughter does.
- High Vitamin Butter Oil
- Kit’s organic raw vegan bars
- Raw honey
Here are some ideas for combinations to make a meal:
- Wild caught salmon roe and a large Coffee Shake on the side
- Gluten free crackers with grass fed butter and raw carrots. Maybe a spoonful of coconut oil on the side.
- Organic bell pepper, raw grass fed cheese, and grass fed summer sausage
- Grass fed whole fat yogurt with a raw pasture-raised egg yolk stirred in with high vitamin butter oil, frozen fruit, and hemp seeds
- Sardines with sauerkraut and raw grass fed cheese
- Apple, raw grass fed cheese, and grass fed summer sausage (a favorite combo for my daughter)
- Smoked oysters, dried fruit, and raw nuts
- Pasture-raised egg yolks stirred together with raw honey (got this idea from my dear european friend because that’s what her grandma used to do)
- Low mercury tuna fish in a bowl with a scoop of grass fed whole fat yogurt eaten with slices of cucumber
- Avocado, sea spaghetti, and a whey protein shake.