We’ve all been there – rushing out the door for a kids’ sporting event or hurrying to make that meeting across town, when suddenly the hunger pangs hit. Altra Elite Athlete and Registered Dietician, Corinna Coffin, shares some great ways to skip the fast-food lines and fill up on satisfying, healthy options quicker than you can find your car keys. 




Corinna Coffin in a blue shirt in a kitchen, holding a jar of overnight oats



One of the greatest barriers to healthy eating that I hear all the time is: “I just don’t have time!” If you can relate, then I’m excited to help make your life a little bit easier by sharing a few 5-minute meal ideas so you can focus on good nutrition even with a time crunch. But, before we dive in, let me first set some meal-building foundations that will help moving forward. 


When we set out to create a meal, it can be helpful to set an intention for the meal. Ask yourself, ‘what am I hoping to accomplish or get out of my food?’ Your answers may vary, but you likely want to at least get satisfaction out of your meal. We can achieve this ‘satiety’ by creating well-balanced meals, meaning there is variety of nutrients (macro and micro) being represented. I like to aim for four different categories with my meals to ensure a good balance of nutrients. These include protein, carbs, fat and veggies.   


Once we have these categories, we can list out foods that fall under each one to help us with our meal planning process. Some options require minimal prep and hassle, which is what we are going to focus on for today’s topic. 


Here are some low-hassle food ideas for each category:



  • Cottage cheese  
  • Greek yogurt  
  • Rotisserie chicken  
  • Deli meat 
  • Shrimp
  • Beans  
  • Tofu 
  • Canned (or pouch) tuna 
  • Canned chicken 



  • Sweet potatoes (microwave) 
  • 90-second rice  
  • Fruit (frozen, fresh or canned)
  • Beans  
  • Whole wheat breads, tortillas



  • Salad greens  
  • Frozen mixed veggies
  • Canned green beans
  • Raw veggies
    (carrots, bell peppers, snap peas etc.)



  • Nuts/nut butters  
  • Seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, hemp hearts etc.) 
  • Avocado 

As you’ll notice, the foods listed here are a combination of fresh, canned and frozen. I recommend stocking up on a variety of each to ensure you have some quick go-to options on days (or nights) when you’re strapped for time. Once you have some options from each of the categories above, you can mix and match different combos until you find something extra tasty!


Here are some of my favorites:




  • 2 cans beans of choice, drained (black, garbanzo, kidney etc.) 
  • 1 can corn, drained 
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced 
  • 1 avocado, diced


  • ½ cup olive oil 
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tsp mustard 
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)


Combine salad ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle on top.





  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked 
  • ½ cup cottage cheese 
  • 1 Tbs peanut butter (or nut butter of choice) 


Microwave sweet potato until soft. Allow to cool, then slice in half. Top with cottage cheese and a drizzle of nut butter of choice.





  • 2-3 oz rotisserie (or canned) chicken 
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt  
  • ¼ medium avocado, mashed 
  • ½ cup grapes, sliced


  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 cup fresh spinach  
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


Combine Greek yogurt, avocado, shredded chicken and grapes in a medium sized bowl. Add salt and pepper as desired. Place spinach leaves along the center line of the tortilla. Top with chicken salad and roll tightly from one end to the other. 


Corinna Coffin in a blue shirt in a kitchen, holding a jar of overnight oats




  • ½ cup dry oats 
  • 1 cup fruit (fresh or frozen) 
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt of choice
  • 1 tbsp nut butter 
  • 1-1 ½ cups milk of choice

*Optional ingredients

  • Honey or maple syrup, dried fruit, nuts, coconut flakes, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.


In a cup, jar or container, stack oats, fruit, nut butter and yogurt one on top of the other. Add the milk so that it covers the oats and fruit. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight for at least 3-4 hours before consuming.





  • 3-4 oz shrimp (frozen or pre-cooked) 
  • 2 cups mixed frozen veggies


  • 3 Tbs low sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 Tbs honey 
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch


Defrost shrimp and veggies (separately) in the microwave or on stovetop. Peel shrimp if needed. Combine sauce ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake to combine. In a pan, combine shrimp, veggies and desired amount of sauce. Cook over medium heat until shrimp is cooked thoroughly, and sauce is evenly distributed.


About the Author:

Born and raised in the Virginia countryside, Corinna grew up on a horse farm with her three older brothers. From an early age, she developed a love for the outdoors and sports, always in pursuit of her brothers. Corinna's love for sports and fitness continued to evolve into a passion for health and wellness, which led her to pursue dual degrees in nutrition & exercise and Spanish at Virginia Tech.

Corinna placed second at the Spartan Race World Championship in 2014, second at the US OCR Championship in 2017, first in the Tough Mudder X Championship in 2017, among many other CrossFit and OCR accomplishments.