Name: Hunter Labrada
Weight: 235 lbs
Education: Texas A&M University
Sponsor: Labrada Nutrition Athlete
Location: College Station, TX
We all have days that are busier than others. It doesn't matter who we are or what we do: students, business professionals, construction workers, teachers—you name it. Sometimes, circumstances seem to conspire against us, we miss the window to prepare our meals, and we pay the price—both literally and figuratively—of fast food. This is what I like to call a "botched" meal. It's a product of convenience, not planning. You eat it because it's available, not because it's good.
In the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal, right? Sure—although that depends on how often you tell yourself those words. If you find yourself in this predicament often, take note: Just four botched meals a week—which is easy to do—adds up to 16 meals every month that did not contribute to you achieving your physique goals.
Let's go one further. If you relinquished control year-round, you would be eating 192 lost meals every year! I hope you can see what I'm trying to illustrate: Every meal does matter, no matter how insignificant it seems among your day-to-day activities.
Luckily for you, I've got five easy, healthy, nutritious, and delicious recipes right here! All can be prepared in less than five minutes, and they'll fuel your hungry muscles during any diet phase—cutting, bulking, or just eating for health. Enjoy!
Egg whites and oatmeal shake
This is by far my favorite quick meal to eat, because it gives me a break from milk-based protein shakes. This is important to me, because I believe you grow best by eating lots of different whole foods.
The great thing is that your macros don't have to bear the cost, because a pint-sized carton of egg whites contains 50 grams of protein, and each cup of oatmeal contains 50 grams of carbohydrates. Lots of protein and lots of slow-burning carbs—that's why I love this shake for breakfast!
- 2 cups instant oats
- 1 pint egg whites
Dump both ingredients into a blender and mix it on high for 1 minute, or until oats are liquefied. Optionally, you can flavor it beforehand with a dash of cinnamon, a packet or two of Stevia, peanut butter, or Jamie Eason's new Signature Series Peanut Protein.
Egg Whites and Oatmeal Shake PDF (145 KB)
For those of you who are a little weirded out by the thought of drinking egg whites, let me address your doubts. First, they are pasteurized, which means you're not at risk of food-borne illness associated with the consumption of raw eggs. Second, if flavor is your concern, 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, try one of the flavoring options.
Lean Pro8 and sweet potato shake
This is another personal favorite of mine, because it's almost like eating dessert if done right. All you need is your blender, your favorite chocolate protein, skinless baked sweet potatoes, and water. Doll it up with a little stevia and cinnamon, and you'll end up with a rich delicious shake that tastes like a pumpkin spice milkshake!
- 60 g Labrada Lean Pro8
- 14 oz. baked, skinless sweet potato
- Stevia and cinnamon to taste
Bake the sweet potato, or cook it in the microwave for 4-6 minutes. Chop it into cubes and dump it into a blender with the other ingredients. Add water to achieve your desired consistency, and blend until all ingredients are smooth.
Lean Pro8 and Sweet Potato Shake PDF (138 KB)
The portions for this meal, like the egg whites and oatmeal meal above, are entirely dependent on your personal macronutrient needs. The recipes here are based on my own shakes. Also, while a recipe like this can make for a great post-workout shake, I prefer to utilize it as a meal replacement. Since Lean Pro8 contains eight different types of protein that digest at different rates, I find it really helps me keep hunger at bay.
Light tuna and 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. And I also had to include it after I learned a couple of years ago that the difference between tuna and chunk light tuna is more than just the name!
Chunk light tuna is actually skipjack, which is a smaller predatory fish related to the albacore and yellowfin tuna. If you're going to be eating tuna regularly, you should know that chunk light tuna contains considerably less mercury than its albacore and yellowfin counterparts. The FDA even has different recommendations about how often you should eat the two variations! This really only becomes more important if you are consuming tuna fish 3-4 times per week, though.
- 1 can or pouch of chunk light tuna
- 2 cups Minute Rice brown rice
Prepare the rice according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mix in the tuna and flavor with low-cal sauce to taste.
You can get tuna either in a can or a pouch. I prefer the water-packed tuna in a pouch because it's lower in fat, and because it's easy to rinse off the extra salt and dump it out. I'll usually add a little mustard or Sriracha sauce for flavor.
As far as the rice goes, I usually get the Minute Rice brown rice cups, since they are premeasured into single-cup servings, making portion control much easier. I just pop one into the microwave for 1 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 your liking, try adding a teaspoon of virgin olive oil, or even fish oil. This never fails to make the rice go down easier.
Light Tuna and Microwaveable Brown Rice PDF (152 KB)
Greek yogurt and granola
Greek yogurt and granola is 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 since you won't be able to eat for at least 6-8 hours—if you're resting like you should! Second, Greek yogurt is loaded with healthy bacteria known as probiotics, which perform a host of positive functions for your intestinal health and aid in digestion. If those reasons aren't enough, Greek yogurt also is a great substitute for sweet cravings at night. You can sweeten Greek yogurt with Stevia, Splenda, or a natural sweetener, or you can just enjoy its thick, creamy texture on its own.
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 2 cups granola
Mix ingredients and enjoy!
Again, this is just the way I eat this particular treat. Feel free to adjust the quantities or eat the ingredients separately, as you prefer. I just love the crunchy-and-creamy combination of having both of them together at the same time.
No granola? No problem. You can add almost any cereal to Greek yogurt to give it some additional carbs, as well as an even more satisfying crunch. My personal favorites are Quaker Life, Honey Nut Cheerios, and any of the Ezekiel brand cereals. As long as you avoid cereals with high sugar content, high fat content, or a lot of enriched flour, you can do no wrong.
Greek Yogurt and Granola PDF (176 KB)
MRP and a piece of fruit
My final choice for a quick meal is the most versatile, and also the 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 "backup meal." Pretty much without exception, I was glad that I 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 some ice. Eating a piece of fruit such as a banana with my shake gives me an immediate pick-me-up from the fruit sugars. Pair that with the sustained energy from the carbohydrates in the MRP, and I'm good to go for hours!
Nutritional gaps = filled
Remember, none of these meals is meant to be the backbone of your nutritional strategy. They're placeholders that you can rely on whenever necessary to get you from one solid meal to the next without succumbing to the trashy temptations that surround us all. But don't be surprised if you begin to find yourself craving them like I do!
As always, if you have questions or comments, don't hesitate to hit me up in the comments section. I welcome your perspective, and I'll get back to you with an answer as soon as I can!