Four very simple meal ideas for doctors on the go
We all know how important it is to fuel our bodies with nutritious food. Most doctors will have told a patient to make dietary changes to improve their health outcomes. But during a long shift, how many times have you scoffed coffee and muesli bars like they’re the only two major food groups?
Food bloggers can talk about Sunday evening food preparation all they like – when you work in a hospital, it’s just not gonna happen.
We’ve asked around and found out some of your go-to healthy meals on the go. The sort of meals which require very little preparation and require four ingredients or fewer (and can be bought easily during Covid-19 lockdowns when Uber burgers can’t be delivered). If you’ve got some lazy, easy and healthy ‘recipes’ or tips to add, we’d love to hear them.
1/ Microwave rice, tinned fish and frozen vegetables
Rice is a great staple to have in the cupboard and although you’ll pay a bit more for the convenience of microwave-ready packaged rice, it’s a must-have, particularly for doctors on the go. It’s easy to throw in your work bag and doesn’t require refrigeration. If you’re cooking at home, it’s quicker and makes less mess. Avoid the flavoured varieties and aim for healthier rice mixes like brown rice and quinoa. Quinoa is a bit of a hero in the nutrition world: it’s naturally gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids, so it’s also a fantastic addition if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
No longer the dry, foul-smelling stuff of yesteryear, tinned – or pouch – fish can really make a meal. The flavoured pouches (try salmon with real tomatoes, basil and olives) can transform a drab, dry meal into a tasty quick-fix. They’re also a great protein-packed snack and I’m sure we don’t need to rant about the benefits of omega oils for your hard-working brain…
If you’re cooking at home, add one of your five-a-day in there and toss some frozen vegetables into the microwave too.
2/ Peanut butter and apple
If you don’t know about this combo yet, you’re in for a treat. Together, they are a healthy balance of protein, fat and fibre. Your peanut putter should only contain peanuts (and maybe a little salt) – don’t go in for the cheap varieties mixed with oils and flavours, they’re a false economy!
While great as a snack, you could take this combination one step further and stick it between two slices of brown bread for a sandwich with a difference.
3/ Overnight oats
This is not as hard as it sounds. Some of the medical professionals we talked to swore by good ol’ porridge sachets too. But if you’d like to try something different, get yourself a good-sized mason jar and throw the following in:
· Plain rolled or toasted oats
· About ½ cup milk (this can be dairy, nut or soy milk)
· Some seeds (like chia, pumpkin and sunflower)
· Fruit – frozen raspberries or blueberries work great
Make it the night before, put it in the fridge and eat straight from the jar the next day. It’ll keep for about 4 – 5 days. Note that fruit like banana and apple will spoil, so if that’s your fruit of choice, it is better to slice and add these in fresh, right before you eat it.
Couscous is in essence a kind of pasta. The kind often found in supermarkets is pre-steamed and dried to enable a very quick cooking time. The best way to make it is to bring 2–3 cups of water or broth to the boil in a pan, add 1–2 cups of couscous, then remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. You can ‘fluff up’ the couscous using a fork.
If you’re on the go and only have access to a kettle, try making couscous with a sachet of dried/instant soup mix (‘Cup-a-Soup’ style).
Again, frozen vegetables are an easy and healthy addition. Sprinkle some seeds on top for a satisfying crunch (seeds toasted in salt and oil are delicious, if you’ve got the time and resources).
In Egyptian cooking, couscous is also made into a moreish dessert with cream, sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit. Couscous is a fantastic cupboard staple and should be on your supermarket shopping list.
Quick ingredients list
Tinned/ pouch fish
Have you got a recipe or ultimate ‘cheat’ dish that you’d like to share? Get in touch.