Whether you’re a student, business professional, construction worker, teacher—you name it– we all have some days that are just plain busier than others. We also encounter times where we haven’t had time to prepare meals, and we pay the price, in terms of having to settle for some kind of less than nutritious fast food.
In the grand scheme of things, if this happens to you only every so often it may not really impact anything, but if you’re one of those individuals that finds himself in this predicament once or twice a week, then take note:
When you multiply just four “botched” meals per week, by 4 weeks per month, that equals 16 meals every month that did NOT contribute to your achieving your physique goals.
Let’s go one further…. If you engaged in this bad habit year round, you would be eating 192 sub-optimal meals every year! I hope that by this point that you can see what I’m trying to illustrate: every meal DOES matter, even if it seems small and insignificant in your day to day activities.
That is why I’ve decided to share my 5 favorite, 5-minute muscle meals. They’re healthy and perfect for any diet, whether you’re cutting or bulking. Enjoy!
EGG WHITES AND OATMEAL BLENDER SHAKE:
First on my list is egg whites and oatmeal, and for good reason. This is by far my favorite quick meal to eat because it gives me a break from milk-based protein shakes, which is important to me because I believe you grow best by eating lots of whole foods. The easiest way to prepare this meal obviously is by blending it all together. For reference, one pint size carton of egg whites contains 50 g of protein in it, and each cup of oatmeal contains 50 g of carbohydrates. Lots of protein and lots of slow-burning carbs–
I love having this shake for breakfast!
I personally use 2 cups of oats, and the entire carton of egg whites whenever I fix this meal. I dump it all in my blender and mix it on high for at least 1 minute, or until the oats are liquefied. For those of you a little “weirded out” by the thought of drinking egg whites, I’m here to let you know that they are pasteurized, which means you cannot get any of the food-borne illness associated with the consumption of raw eggs, and they actually taste like milk with a pinch of salt added to it. I think it tastes great straight-up with the oatmeal, but If you just can’t get past the idea, don’t despair, because there are lots of things you can add to this meal to make it taste even better. These options include a dash of cinnamon and a packet or two of Stevia, Splenda or your favorite sweetener; whole fruits such as strawberries or bananas, peanut butter, or Jamie Eason’s peanut protein (if you’re watching your fat intake.)
LEANPRO 8 PROTEIN BLEND & SWEET POTATOES BLENDER SHAKE:
This is another personal favorite of mine, and it’s almost like eating dessert if done right. What you want to do is get your blender and add your favorite chocolate protein (in my case I use LeanPro 8), skinless baked sweet potatoes (“how many ounces?” are dependent upon your diet) and water (use the amount that achieves your desired shake consistency). You’ll want to add a packet of stevia or Splenda per sweet potato in the shake, and I personally also like to add some cinnamon, as it brings out a ton of flavor without any added caloric impact.
What you’ll end up with is a rich delicious shake that tastes like a pumpkin spice milkshake. The portions for this meal, like the egg whites and oatmeal meal above, are entirely dependent on your personal macronutrient needs, but here’s what I use: I personally like to do 60 g of Labrada ISO LeanPro with 14 ounces of baked, skinless sweet potatoes. A huge plus of using LeanPro 8 as opposed to normal whey isolate is that LeanPro 8 not only has 8 different types of protein with varying digestion times (which keeps your muscles fueled and your hunger at bay), but also has 8g of essential fatty acids, which can be hugely beneficial to your physique, and your overall health.
One last tip for this meal: If you don’t keep baked sweet potatoes on deck, you can actually cook a smaller sweet potato all the way through in the microwave for 4 to 6 minutes and it will taste perfectly delicious when used in this recipe.
TUNA & MICROWAVEABLE BROWN RICE:
Although it’s not my favorite of the lot, I had to include tuna and rice because of how quick it is to prepare and how nutritionally sound the combo is. One thing that I didn’t know about tuna until a couple of years ago, and that I now want to share with you, is that you need to make sure that if you’re going to be eating tuna often you get the light version.
Light tuna is actually skipjack, which is a smaller predatory fish related to the albacore and yellow fin tuna. If you going to be eating tuna regularly, the light version contains considerably less mercury than the albacore and yellow fin counterparts. This becomes more important if you are consuming tuna fish 3 -4 times per week. You can get tuna either in the can or in a pouch. I like the water packed tuna in a pouch because it’s lower in fat (no oil), easy to rinse (to get rid of unwanted salt) and spoon out to eat. Sometimes I’ll add a little mustard or sriracha sauce for flavor.
As far as the rice goes, I prefer to get the Minute Rice brown rice cups as they are premeasured into single cup servings, making portion control on the go much easier. I just pop one into the microwave for one minute, let it sit for an additional minute, and it’s ready to eat. If you find that your rice is too dry or hard for you to get down, try adding a teaspoon of virgin olive oil or fish oil. It makes the rice much more palatable and can make it go down considerably easier.
GREEK YOGURT & GRANOLA/CEREAL:
Greek yogurt and granola is by far my favorite meal to eat before bedtime for several reasons. Greek yogurt is packed with slow-digesting casein protein, which is perfect right before sleep time since you won’t be able to eat for at least 6 to 8 hours (if you’re resting enough!). Secondly, Greek yogurt is loaded with healthy bacteria known as probiotics, which perform a host of positive functions for your gut’s intestinal flora, and aid in digestion. As if the benefits of slowly digested proteins and healthy bacteria, weren’t enough, Greek yogurt also is a great substitute for sweet cravings at night. You can sweeten Greek yogurt with Stevia, Splenda or natural sweetener. And Greek yogurt has thick creamy texture that’s very satisfying.
You can add almost any cereal to Greek yogurt to give it some additional carbs, not to mention a satisfying crunch. There are a slew of healthy options out there, but things to keep an eye out for are high sugar or high fat content, or enriched flour. My personal favorites are Quaker Life, Honey Nut Cheerios, and several of the Ezekiel brand cereals. You can either choose to eat them separately, or combine both the cereal and Greek yogurt in the same bowl, as I do, which makes for quite a treat.
MRP & A PIECE OF FRUIT
My final choice for a quick meal, is also by far the most versatile and quickest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken an MRP (meal replacement powder) packet and a piece of fruit with me to the library or the gym as a “back up” meal; and then was beyond glad that had done so several hours later when I was starving! A good MRP, such as my family’s Lean Body MRP, will contain quality proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. It doesn’t require a blender, either—I just mix up mine in a shaker cup with 12 ounce of water and ice. Eating a piece of fruit, such as a banana, with my Lean Body MRP shake, gives me an immediate pick-me-up from the fruit sugars, and along with the sustained energy from the carbohydrates in the MRP, I’m good to go!
Now that you’re armed the recipes for my 5-minute meals for building muscle, be sure to implement one of them the next time you’re pressed for time and haven’t prepped your normal food. You won’t regret it!
As always, if you have any questions or comments on this article or any of the others that I have written for Bodybuilding.com, please do not hesitate to leave a question or remark in the comments section, I welcome them. I’ll be sure to get back to you with an answer as soon as I can!
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.