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Time is short, the days are dark (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) and our energy is often low.

I’m reposting my ideas for some quick and, mostly, nutritious meal ideas. I think they’re way better than driving to a fast food place which can take longer than making a simple meal and may involve maneuvering small children in and out of car seats which always wears me out.

We all have those days, where we look at the clock and realize we have nothing planned for dinner and the family is hungry. Here are a few ideas that may help you fill some tummies without running out for budget-busting fast food.

Oatmeal (if your children will eat it with some nutbutter and honey stirred in, it counts as a health food!)
Baked Potato Bar (microwave the potatoes for part of the time to speed up the process-serve with grated cheese, chopped hot dogs and other toppings)
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (with or without Tomato Soup)
Quesadillas (buttered tortillas with cheese and spices, grilled)
Rice with any type of leftover meat and diced veggies stirred in.
Scrambled eggs and toast
Tuna Salad on toast or lettuce leaves
Refried Beans and chips or tortillas with cheese (salsa makes everything better).

If I really have my act together, I have my ingredients for several last minute meals purchased ahead of time. I like to keep cans of refried beans and jars of salsa along with tortilla chips in the pantry for emergencies because I know that my family loves that combination.

My freezer also holds several containers of homemade soup but, to make them convenient, I freeze them in small containers so they can thaw quickly.

There’s nothing wrong with having a few bags of frozen fish sticks or a couple of pizzas stashed in the oven but a family will not be well-nourished when we moms rely on those types of meals. If we want calm, healthy children and husbands who aren’t cranky and out-of-sorts, we need to make an effort to plan regular, well-balanced meals made from whole foods.

If you don’t like my list of last minute meals, sit down and write up a few of your own or consider using my list of 31 Days of Healthy Snacks that also double as quick meals. Buy the ingredients for several of the meals on your next grocery shopping trip.

Do you have a favorite “emergency meal”? Share it with us in the comment section!