Do you run out of time to make a healthy and tasty lunch? Welcome to my world! I run back and forth from the hospital to the clinic all day long and I don’t have time (or desire) to make gourmet lunches.
I like to grab something that helps me stay fueled for the day, that isn’t crazy expensive, and something that I genuinely enjoy eating! Because we are super busy, let’s start with the absolute easiest options at the beginning:
Tastiest Store Option: (In the freezer section)
Birds Eye Steam Fresh Zucchini Lentil Cheddar Pasta
- Place unopened package in the microwave for 5 minutes
- Serve and enjoy!
Review: This tastes remarkably similar to pasta made regularly. The zucchini noodles are not soggy, the sauce is super creamy, and I really love eating this on occasion! Fresh basil on top is such an easy addition, and it really takes it to a new level. It is more expensive ~$5, but it saves me time when I am in a rush!
Most packed with vegetables:
Simple Plant-Based Stir Fry
- Cook your favorite vegetables in a hot skillet in 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup of liquid aminos (which tastes like soy sauce) and 2 Tbs of Yoshida’s marinade and cooking sauce, for approximately 6-8 minutes.
- Stir fry vegetables: You can buy these vegetables pre-packaged (to save time) or buy them individually (to save money.)
Approximately ½ cup carrots, handful of snap peas, 5 florets of broccoli, a ½ cup of mushrooms, 5 bamboo shoots, ½ cup yellow onion, ½ red bell pepper, and 1 tsp garlic.
- Serve over 1/2 cup cooked brown rice. (Trader Joe’s makes frozen rice bags that cook in 4 minutes. It is $4 for 4 bags, and is my favorite easy option).
Review: When I get the chance, I like to buy the fresh Asian vegetable mix from Trader Joe’s to simplify this process, and save time! Fun fact- I don’t like the mini corn, so I always pick those out. This is an extremely inexpensive meal. It costs less than $2 per serving, and is a lot of food for a great value.
Blue Cheese Chicken Salad
- Start with a base of greens of your choice
- Add ~ 4 oz shredded rotisserie Chicken (I like this from Costco)
- Add a ¼ an avocado, sliced lengthwise (optional)
- If desired add a red onion and tomato
- Add 2 TBS Marie’s Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
Review: I could be a spokesperson for this salad dressing because it is out of this world. I really like blue cheese salad dressing but I dodge it because a fairly healthy salad can faceplant into a high calorie treat in just a few added spoons. This vinaigrette option from Marie's isn't "super healthy" but it tastes so good and it is much lighter than some of the other options. The combination is my favorite quick go-to right now.
With my love,
Dr. Monique Middlekauff
About the Author
Dr. Monique Middlekauff is a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). She has been a certified personal trainer with the NSCA, ACSM, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) for over 10 years. Monique is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and is an Exercise is Medicine Level 3 credentialed provider.
Monique works for a major health system in Idaho. Her goal is to pursue health and overall well being through evidence-based practice. Physical wellness comes in many forms, and she seeks to celebrate where you are, and challenge you to be better! Find more information about Monique at www.MoniqueMiddlekauff.com