So there you are: It’s sometime shortly after school and you have less than 15 mins to get home, get your child fed, dressed and back out of the house… to the latest after school class/club/play date/kid-thing. You’ve been mad, crazy-busy all day, and hardly had time to eat yourself, never mind finding the time to make your wonder-child a healthy, nutritious rainbow-vegetable dish to send them on their way… What do you do?
Well, here are MY top 10 go-to quick-fix meals (and OK, in some instances: extended snacks!) that I most often find myself throwing together when in a complete rush. Yes, I am aware this is going to cost me the ‘Vegan parent of the Year’ role (!), but needs must and in times of hardship, and we gotta do what it takes to get the child fed, happy and back out the door! 🙂
So here they are (in no particular order):
- Baked beans on Toast (oh yes – the British staple!). Even though we are in Canada, we still purchase the British original Heinz beans, which are vegan, and less sugary than the American or Canadian versions. Not the healthiest thing on the planet, but we are talking about quick fixes here! 🙂
- Baked potato (or Jacket Potato) with some veg (broccoli/carrots), beans or peas, vegan margarine and/or vegan cheese. Quick 5-8 mins in microwave (lot longer if in oven = not such a quick option) for medium sized spud. Alternatively, scoop out the inside and make Mashed Potatoes and peas for a change.
- Simple Pasta (dried – no egg), sprinkle of olive oil (or vegan margarine), fresh basil (from plant on the window!), nip of salt and vegan cheese lightly melted (optional). I sometimes add a ready made red pasta sauce and offer ‘Pasta four ways’ for a fun change (a: plain, b: with vegan cheese; C: with pasta sauce, d: with pasta sauce and cheese!) and just divide the plate into sections.
- Rice and peas with vegetables – any quick vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower – in steamer for 15 mins), quick 2 min rice packet.
- Hummus and pita bread with carrot and apple slices. More of a snack, but you can stretch it to a light meal if nec.
- Pizza bagel or Vegan cheese on toast/cream cheese on toast – or two slices in a sandwhich toaster for a quick melted ‘toastie‘ (add mushrooms or beans, onions, or….)
- Couscous and peas/veg. You can buy organic couscous at most stores these days… super fast to make and a nice alternative to rice. There are often different options to choose from, such as lemon or garlic or wild mushroom, etc. I sometimes also cook Quinoa at the same time, and then mix them a little, to give another alternative.
- Tofu and rice – cube tofu, sprinkle with a little garlic salt, soy sauce alt, sesame seeds and lightly fry in pan for 5 mins, serve with rice…
- Mac and Cheese: There are many good little boxes with the vegan cheese mix ready to add… pasta takes 15 mins or less to cook (if small macaroni), and simply stir in gooey cheese mixture… Daiya cheese do a line of this, as well as a few others. Add peas or small veg to add a bit more nutritious value, if you have some around…
- Fast-cook oven fries! Yes – I cannot lie, I have had to resort to throwing a handful of oven fries onto a pan and into the oven, when pressed – I know, I know… but hey, could be a lot worse!
All of the above can be improved on nutritionally, by simply adding carrot sticks, celery, peppers, apple slices, sweetcorn, or any veg/fruit… of course.
So there you go… nothing to be hugely proud of, nutritionally or as far as culinary skills there, but these are all quick fixes that do the job, fill their tummies and help you get those little mites out the door and back on to their next ‘thing’!
Then you can take a minute, sit down, and lament on how you could have prepared meals ahead on Sunday, and frozen them… (Although I do seem to have problems remembering to take them out the night before to defrost!).
Good luck to all the time-squeezed-trying-to-keep-your-family-healthy parents out there: You got this!