Who has time during the day to prepare something that will give them energy, make smart decisions and prevent the hangry monster from hitting two hours later?
Here are my five go-to easy meals whether I'm traveling, working at home or need to eat in a parking lot between meetings.
Quinoa or rice and lentils
Pros: no cooking required, portable, inexpensive, shelf-stable
Cons: individual packaging creates waste.
I buy Minsley pre-cooked quinoa or rice bowls and always keep one in my car, and another in my luggage and will throw one in my bag if I have to eat on the go. Tasty Bite Bengal or Madras lentils are pre-cooked and don't need to be heated. The Tasty Bite Vegetable Korma is also yummy to pour over the quinoa bowls. You can buy them from most grocery stores. I buy mine cheaper on Amazon. This meal is best if you can add some vegetables.
Muesli Mix and Fruit
Pros: no cooking required, can be made 3-4 days ahead of time.
Cons: needs refrigeration, some prep required.
This is usually one of my breakfasts but is also a substitute lunch on some days. I make 6-8 grab-and-go muesli bowls at a time on Sundays for my husband and me.
- .5 – 1 serving of Bob's Red Mill Muesli (no sugar added)
- 4-6 oz of plain Kefir, unsweetened coconut, almond or hemp milk
- .5 – 1 cup of fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit
- .2 – .5 ounces of raw nuts
- 1 Tablespoon of hemp hearts
- .5 Tablespoon of chia seeds
- .5 scoop of high-quality protein powder. I like Vega or Deep30
Combine everything in a container with a lid. I like to reuse Talenti containers for this. Mix it up and refrigerate. These will last several days. When you are ready to eat, the muesli and chia seeds will have thickened up. Add a little water to thin if needed.
Kitchen Sink Soup
Pros: Use what you have, one pot and one bowl to clean.
Cons: Need a stove or microwave for heating.
Not jazzed by canned soup? Buy an aseptic container of low-sodium roasted red pepper or tomato soup and throw everything but the kitchen sink into it! I throw in beans, high-quality meat, and any vegetables on hand and do a quick heat on the stove. The aseptic containers make it easy to pour what I need. If you want even more bulk in your soup without the calories, try Miracle Noodles. Rinse them first, they have a distinct ‘from-the-sea' smell, but it goes away after rinsing and a quick boil.
Pros: Mix and match ingredients, less than 10 minutes to prepare cook.
Cons: Need a stove, oven or grill
- Rice flour or Ezekial sprouted corn tortillas. These are denser and heartier than typical flour tortillas.
- ½ cup Pre-chopped fajita peppers
- ½ cup Pre-chopped mushrooms
- 4 Tablespoons Salsa
- ½ cup Rotisserie chicken
- 1/8 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast
- 1 Wholly Guacamole packet or 2 Tablespoons of fresh guacamole
Preheat skillet on stove on medium heat or turn on the oven to low broil. I prefer mine on my grill. Use the salsa as a base on the tortilla. Top with peppers, mushrooms, and chicken. Sprinkle nutritional yeast like you would Parmesan cheese. Heat, broil or grill until edges crisp up, about 5-8 minutes. When it’s done, squeeze the Wholly Guacamole packet over the pizza.
- Rice flour, sprouted corn or sprouted wheat tortillas.
- 3 Tablespoons of Hummus or 2 Tablespoons of Tahini (thinned slightly with water) mixed w/ 2 teaspoons of mustard
- .5 – to 1 can of wild salmon, drained
- 1/4 cup pre-chopped onions
- 1/4 cup pre-chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups baby spinach steamed or sauteed or 1 cup fresh
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
Preheat skillet on the stove over medium heat. Saute onions in olive oil until softened. Add mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of baby spinach for 1 minute or until the spinach wilts. Add in the canned salmon to warm. While the veggies are sauteing, spread the hummus or tahini as a base on the tortilla. Top with vegetable mixture and canned salmon. Sprinkle nutritional yeast like you would Parmesan cheese. Heat in skillet until edges crisp up, about 5-8 minutes. If using tahini, sprinkle a few drops of low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari on top at the end.
Pros: Fast, portable
Cons: May require several items to pack
I use either Mary's Gone Crackers, pieces of Paleo Wraps or Nori sheets and top with tahini (I'm addicted) and whatever I have – smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, sauerkraut, artichokes, sliced olives, sauteed onions, soft cheeses. I add more vegetables and tahini for dipping on the side. Today's lunch was a turmeric Paleo Wrap with a tahini/nutritional yeast/gelatin sauce, turmeric, Roma tomatoes, hemp hearts and artichokes. Delicious!
As you see, I'm a ‘whatever I have' type of girl. Break outside your box of thinking, “does this go with this?” Who cares? Mix and match with what you have. There is no right or wrong way to combine foods. Always try to have at least one vegetable (preferably 2-3), a good source of protein and high-quality fat.
What’s your most convenient but nutritious lunch?