I want to introduce you to the “No-Plan Meal Plan” today.
Of course, ideally, you want to have a meal plan. You’ve probably been there. One week you have a gorgeous healthy meal plan, everything you need is on sale, you execute the plan and everyone loves every meal.
The next week is chaos. You meant to plan but didn’t get to it. There was a snowstorm and you couldn’t get to the store. Someone in your house got sick.
So what do you do when you don’t have a meal plan or the groceries to support it? For many, the answer is take out. (And, hey, we’re not here to judge that decision.) This blog is for those who are looking for “emergency” meals—when your kitchen is less than stocked and you have no meal plan (or the plan you had went up in toxic smoke from the dumpster fire that you currently find yourself in.) The No-Plan Meal Plan is what I do in this situation.
I try to keep some very basic healthy ingredients in stock so that I can make a healthy meal without going to the store, without remembering to thaw, without setting the slow cooker in the morning, basically when it’s dinner time, people are hungry, and I have done absolutely zilch to prepare anything.
I will share with you those ingredients and the healthy meals I make with them. Hopefully you will find them useful or at least inspiring.
Now, in order for this to work, the ingredients have to have a long shelf life or be frozen, or else it would be almost impossible to just “keep them in stock”. So between your freezer and your pantry, and possibly some eggs and butter, you’ll be able to have an emergency stash of healthy ingredients that just might help you bypass the drive through.
Rest assured, you do NOT have to be one of those super organized people to pull this off! You also don’t need to do a lot of prep. Most of these items can be found already ready, and keeping just a few of these in your house is all you need for a quick and easy emergency healthy meal. And, if you want to keep this blog handy so that you can refer back to it, that might help too. (Hint: bookmark or pin! The image below has a Pinterest button.)
No-Plan Meal Plan Ideas
Frozen Fish, Frozen Vegetables, Brown Rice
Why this works: fish thaws in about ten minutes and cooks in less than ten. Frozen steam in the bag vegetables cook in about 6 minutes. Brown rice cooks in about 20 min (or 3 minutes for the pre-made rice packs). This is a healthy dinner in 20 minutes or less.
Pancakes, Eggs, Canned or Frozen Fruit
Why this works: everyone loves breakfast for dinner and, with our just add water pancake and waffle mix, they are easy to make without needing a trip to the store. Eggs have a long life in the fridge (or at room temp if you have farm fresh unwashed ones!), and the fruit brings it all together. Just watch for red tier ingredients in canned fruit especially.
Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, Canned Fruit
Why this works: Grilled cheese is a cinch to make and only requires the most basic ingredients (bread, butter, cheese). You can even take this a step further and make freezer ready grilled cheese sandwiches for more time savings. Tomato soup is another super easy, super fast, super healthy one and of course we all love the combination of the two! Canned unsweetened fruit makes this a healthy, well-balanced meal.
Mac-n-Cheese, Frozen Vegetables
Why this works: See our blog about how our mac-n-cheese recipe, made from real ingredients, cooks up just as fast as the blue box. No need to keep the blue box in stock. Just keep the easy, healthy
ingredients for our mac-n-cheese (whole grain noodles, real cheese, unsalted butter, milk) at
Chicken Noodle Soup
Why this works: If you do the extra step of cooking and dicing some chicken specifically for your freezer, you can whip up this healthy chicken noodle soup, which is a complete meal all by itself, in a snap.
Taco Soup, Cheese Quesadillas
Why this works: Taco soup is one of the easiest recipes on our entire site, especially if you do the added step of pre-mixing a large batch of our taco seasoning mix. Just 1/4 cup is all you need to replace the
separate spices in this recipe. Cheese quesadillas make great dippers for this soup!
Waffles, Bacon, Applesauce
Why this works: Again, breakfast for dinner. Couple of choices here. You can pre-make the freezer waffles, then use your toaster to heat them up, or you can make the waffles fresh from our just add water (and oil) mix. Bacon thaws quickly and cooks in about 20 min in your oven or 9 min in your air fryer.
No-Plan Meal Plan Items To Stock
The lists below will help you stock items that can be used to make meals like the ones I’ve shared with you above. There’s also a downloadable pdf version of these stock items so you can just print and take it to the store (use the button below to download).