For everyone who was worried about the fact that I haven’t written in a while (Hi Mom), I was JUST BUSY and everything is FINE.
For everyone who is not my mom, I recognize that you did not notice, and apologize for being a narcissist.
NOW THEN. Let’s talk about some late night dinners.
Late Night Dinners don’t have to be Hate (your body) Night Dinners (seewhatididthere). A little thinking ahead and refrigeration will go a long way in maintaining some fitnessing while real life things happen. Sometimes we’re out at happy hour, sometimes work runs late, sometimes we have a “function” to attend, or any other number of things come up that make us unavailable to prepare and consume a nutritious meal by 8pm. But GUESS WHAT. You are not obligated to eat bullshit in these situations. No, not at all. In fact, you can eat exactly as healthy as your normal, badass, fitnessing self. Yes. You can do this.
The main thing this requires is planning. This may scare some of you. For others, it may get you incredibly excited (I GO NUTS FOR PLANNING). However, you don’t have to plan too crazily. In fact, you can even have a few freezer-ready items that you prepare and never think about again, until that one fateful night when you stumble home at 10:15 after a “quick drink,” in need of nourishment / dinner / french fries.
Here are a few easy late night dinner options that you can keep handy, so that on this night, you do not end up eating three spring rolls and some brown rice at 11pm.
CHICKEN AND A VEGETABLE: This is the best one, for both ease of planning and overall fitness value. There are two versions, depending on how well you know your own life.
Option 1: I Know My Schedule And Keep Track Of Groceries and General Life Things
- If you’re aware that a late night or two are in your future for the week, go to a grocery store.
- At that grocery store, buy a large pack of boneless, skinless chicken breast.
- At the very same grocery store, on that very trip, buy a green vegetable that you like / is on sale. Some examples, for those of you who do not like thinking of things, would be broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, or zucchini.
- Pay for those things. Then bring them to your house.
- Preheat the oven to 375. While it’s preheating, cover the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any dried herbs you like (oregano, some weird herb mix you don’t know the contents of, thyme, rosemary, basil, whatever. For these purposes, herbs are herbs, and can be used liberally).
- Spray two baking sheets with Pam Olive Oil.
- Put the chicken breasts on one, and the green vegetable on the other. Coat the green veggie in a little more olive oil, and salt and pepper.
- Cook the chicken for 15 – 20 minutes, and the green veggie for 20 – 30. (This, obviously, is not very exact; cook the chicken until the inside isn’t pink, and the veggies until they are as roasted as you’d like them to be).
- Let both cool for a few minutes, then put them in a tupperware / plastic bag. They will await your drunken arrival, ready to be microwaved and consumed for optimal premeditated fitnessing.
Option 2: I Have No Concept of My Schedule, Or What Things Will Go Bad At What Times In My Fridge
- This dinner combination is pretty much the only thing that is ideal for this type of person. Follow all of the above steps, with these modifications:
- When you are at the grocery store, instead of buying fresh vegetables, buy frozen ones. Usually frozen broccoli is a great way to go, but there are also frozen mixed veggies. Just make sure there’s a lot of green things (frozen mashed potatoes and carrots don’t count).
- After you cover the chicken in herbs and roast it, put it in a bag and then IN THE FREEZER. Did you know you could put cooked meat in the freezer? I didn’t up until about 4 months ago. This is a very important technological advancement / thing I just figured out.
- When you come home from a late night of work 3 months later and can’t see straight, pull a chicken breast and frozen veggie out of the freezer, and microwave them (usually with the veggie you’ll need to add like a teaspoon of water or something, I don’t know, just read the box / bag). Now you’re doing the lean protein / green veggie thing like it’s NO BIG DEAL, and you didn’t even PLAN on it. Good for you.
OH HEY IT’S SALAD:
This sounds like a no brainer, and it sort of is. Anyway, Keep. Salad. Ingredients. In. Your. House. It will make your life so much easier. It requires a little planning, because these are all things that go bad within a week or so, but you are a grown up, and you can handle it. Here are the things to keep handy:
PROTEINS (choose one):
- the aforementioned herb chicken
- black beans (keep a can around, it takes up very little real estate and is always useful)
- cooked tuna (maybe even canned? I don’t know how comfortable you are with seafood. I am mildly uncomfortable with it, and only eat it on the night I’m cooking it. But, you know. You do you.)
- deli turkey or chicken (a great alternative if you’re unprepared, but watch out for sodium)
VEGGIES (any / all):
- ANY of the roasted veggies we talked about earlier. Roasted green veggies add a lot of great flavor and filling.
- roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash (remember?)
- bell peppers
- You know, salad stuff. You’ve done this before.
THE SALAD PART (one or combo):
- Get one of those things of ready-to-eat salad mixes. Washing lettuce and drying it and breaking it takes forever, and will give you a reason to just order a pizza instead. Just have something ready that you can grab a handful from. You can buy a pound bag for pretty cheap (like 5 or 6 bucks, it’ll last you the week, if you eat 2 salads every day. It’s a lot of salad).
- chopped raw brussels sprouts
EXTRAS (choose only one of these to add to your lean protein / vegetable extravaganza)
- feta cheese
- avocado (I know this was in veggies, I’m just pointing out that you should be choosing it INSTEAD of these others in this category. Limit your fats, even if they are monounsaturated).
- roasted sweet potato or butternut squash (same deal as avocados. it’s a veggie, but don’t go crazy.)
It will take you around 2 minutes to pull these things our of your fridge and put them in a bowl. If you’re using the herb chicken and roasted veggies, there’s already a lot of flavor there, so your dressing can just be olive oil and a little salt. Everything else, olive oil and lemon will do nicely, or any oil-based salad dressing that you like and keep around. Make sure you don’t go crazy with the “extras” category. Try and just choose one of those, as like a treat to add to your salad. The main deal is having lean protein and a lot of greenery.
There’s also always the option of making a huge damn pot of stew and freezing it in single serving containers. It’s tasty, easy to make in bulk and stick in the freezer, and super easy to microwave and spoon into your mouth after a long day.
Anyway, that should be enough to get your late night dinners started. If you need more options, just let me know in the comments, and I’ll give it. BUT DON’T GET CRAZY. Just kidding. Get crazy. I have literally nothing else to do.