When you’re on a tight schedule and need to grab a fast meal, forgo the fast-food drive-through that wreaks havoc on your health and head next door to the supermarket to pick up these quick, healthful alternatives.
Our handy guide to the 18 best ready-made meals will help you cut through the guessing game of “What’s good?” and keep you on course with a nutritious diet.
1. Frozen Chicken Entree
Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken
Epicurious raves: “a colorful, well-balanced meal that combines a chewy-nutty whole-grain pilaf, chunks of chicken, carrots and sugar snap peas with a sauce that had a lemongrass kick.” This dish packs seven grams of fiber to help stave off hunger pangs.
2. Healthy Frozen Entree
Kashi Southwest Style Chicken
Author David Zinczenko’s hit book Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide applauds the “big flavor” in this tasty chicken meal which packs protein and fiber that will keep you going through your shift.
3. Packaged Sushi
Trader Joe’s Brown Rice California Roll
This light, healthy brown rice meal is perfect as a flavorful snack that won’t weigh you down.
Serving size: 4 pieces
Kashi Chicken Pasta Pomodoro
Epicurious recommends this flavorful dish that serves up healthy multigrain pasta, plenty of veggies and spices to keep your taste buds entertained.
Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable Soup
Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide gives two thumbs up to this healthy, low-cal black bean and vegetable soup.
(Serving size: 1 cup)
Fat: 1.5g (0g saturated)
Amy’s Asian Noodle Stir Fry
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, director of nutrition for WebMD Health and the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, recommends this stir fry. Packed with nutritious organic vegetables, this noodle dish is a tasty, healthy pick.
Trader Joe’s Turkey, Spinach and Swiss Cheese Wrap
Eat half of this healthy wrap for lunch and save the other half for dinner! The fat content in the swiss cheese will keep your stomach from growling through your shift. The turkey and spinach make a nutritious, lean combo.
(Serving size: 1 wrap)
Szechuan Style Stir Fry with Shrimp
This low-fat, low-cal meal has tasty shrimp, snap peas, baby corn and whole wheat pasta in a spicy Asian-style sauce.
Gardenburger Meals Meatless Citrus Glazed Chicken with Green Beans and Rice
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, director of nutrition for WebMD Health and the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, recommends this delicious meatless meal that’s served with healthy rice and green beans.
Healthy Choice Mushroom Roasted Beef
Lean Cuisine Salmon with Basil
Say yes to wild salmon, whole wheat orzo pasta, spinach and carrots in a basil sauce. A pick from Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, director of nutrition for WebMD Health and the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic.
12. Packaged Lunch
Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Flatbread Sandwich Fajita Beef and Salsa
Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide recommends this flatbread sandwich from Oscar Mayer.
Lean Pockets Pepperoni
Satisfy your pizza craving by popping this convenient Lean Pocket into the break room microwave and you’ll have a low-cal, high-calcium alternative to carb-rich takeout.
(Serving size: 1 piece)
Fat: 8g (4g saturated)
14. Pot Pie
Marie Callender’s Oven Baked Chicken
Marie Callender’s version of chicken pot pie is only 320 calories of chicken, delicious gravy, potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Fat: 12g (3g saturated)
15. Lunch Ramen
Nissin Choice Ramen Slow Stewed Beef
Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide recommends these grab-and-go noodles for their great taste—and the low-fat noodles aren’t fried like most other ramen brands.
Fat: 2g (0g saturated)
Sodium: 800 mg
16. Protein Bar
Odwalla Super Protein Bar
There’s nothing more convenient than a replacement bar that you can quickly throw into your purse in the morning. Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide picks Odwalla Super Protein Bar for its high protein and fiber content (which will curb hunger) and appropriate amount of sugar (less than 20g).
(Serving size: 1 bar)
Fat: 4.5g fat (1.5g saturated)
17. Microwave Pasta
Smart Ones Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Microwavable meals with beef can be notoriously high in saturated fat. Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide marks Smart Ones Spaghetti with Meat Sauce as a safe, heart-healthy pick.
Fat: 6g (2g saturated)
Sodium: 580 mg
18. Protein Drink
Bolthouse Farms Perfect Protein Vanilla Chai
Protein shakes are good at hiding high sugar content. Avoid the unintentional “dessert lunch” by opting for Bolthouse Farms Perfect Protein Vanilla Chai.
(Serving size: 16 oz. bottle)
This article is mentioned in the Spring 2010 print edition of Scrubs Magazine, which can be found at uniform retail stores nationwide or purchased online. Go to https://scrubsmag.com/magazine for a peek inside and to find out where you can get your copy!