Life is crazy. Especially now that summer is over and the kids are back in school.
I have high school football players, 3 of them. That means my kids are gone about 12 hours a day between school and practice.
And when they get home, they are STARVING!
On game days or other busy days, I don’t always have time to make a big, elaborate meal.
So I have a few “go to” meals that I always keep ingredients for. That way I know I can throw something together quickly, without advanced prep time.
Here are some recipes for my favorite last minute healthy meals. You should be able to make all of these meals in under 30 minutes, from start to finish.
10 Last Minute Healthy Meals To Feed Your Family in Under 30 Minutes
1. Grilled Cheese and Fruit
Grilled cheese is super easy and a kid favorite. Add some fruit such as watermelon or berries on the side and you have a quick and delicious meal, not just for lunch!
Here is a fun take on grilled cheese:
Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese @ Lil Luna
2. Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
My family loves mac and cheese and this real food Instant Pot recipe is way better than the blue box!
The Best Ever Pressure Cooker Mac & Cheese Recipe @ Delishably
Pasta is very easy to make. It is one of the first things my boys could cook for themselves.
I love this recipe below because it simplifies the process even further. If you have precooked ground beef on hand (maybe cook twice as much for a different recipe), it is even faster!
One Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce @ Rasamalaysia
Quesadillas are super quick and easy. At it’s core, a quesadilla is just cheese melted between 2 tortillas. We like to dip ours in sour cream, but that’s up to you.
If you have a few more ingredients, you can add other things to your quesadillas (like beef, pepperoni or chicken) to add more heartiness and flavor.
I love this Chili’s copycat recipe:
Chili’s Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
5. Garlic Steak and Rice
I fell in love with garlic steak on our trip to Hawaii 5 years ago. It is super easy to make and you can pair it with premade rice or throw some rice in the rice cooker (or instant pot) to cook while you are preparing the steak. You could also serve it with potatoes or green beans, as in the recipe below.
Garlic Butter Steak and Lemon Green Beans Skillet @ Eat Well 101
Tacos is a staple in our house (and not always on Tuesday). If I know we are going to have a busy few days, I will make some taco seasoned ground beef ahead to cut down on time. Either way, it is a quick meal that is a family favorite.
Ground Beef Tacos @ Dinner at the Zoo
7. Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes are easy and customizable for whatever your family likes. But cooking them an hour in the oven might not be feasible on a busy night. Enter the Instant Pot. It makes baking potatoes (and a bunch of other stuff) quick and easy. Just keep your favorite toppings on hand (like cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, etc) and you’ve got a meal in a jiffy!
Easy Instant Pot “Baked” Potatoes @ Life Made Simple
8. Mini Pizzas
Pizza is always a hit at our house, especially if each person gets to pick their toppings! The quickest way to make mini pizzas is to use garlic naan bread from the store, add toppings and cook for a few minutes in the oven. Popular toppings at our house are: cheese, pepperoni, canadian bacon, bacon and sausage.
Check out the recipe below for another quick alternative:
Easy Skillet Pizzas @ Lauren’s Latest
9. Chicken Fajitas
Can you tell our family likes Mexican food yet? Yes, we do. And chicken (or beef ) fajitas hit the spot every time. Whether you cook them in a skillet or in the oven, they are a easy way to get meat and vegetables on the table on a busy night.
Easy Sheet Pan Fajitas @ Our Best Bites
10. Chicken Fried Rice
This is one meal that if your prepare ahead, it is super quick, but if not it still doesn’t take too long. If you can cook your rice and chicken ahead of time (rice cooker/instant pot), you just throw everything together and cook for a few minutes.
Here is an easy recipe:
Chicken Fried Rice @ Mommy’s Kitchen
So how do you make these last minute healthy meals work for you? Take a few you would like to try and make a grocery list. Stock your pantry or fridge with the ingredients, most of which don’t spoil too quickly.
Then the next time you get rushed or have a last minute schedule change, you can be confident that you have something to make for dinner. So much cheaper and healthier than driving thru your favorite fast food place.
What quick meals does your family love? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!