If I teach the world one thing and one thing only, let it be that microwave meals are a horrible waste of your hard-earned money (and health). They’re expensive, packed with preservatives and so full of sodium not even your fat pants will fit on account of the inevitable bout of post-meal water retention. Plus, they’re disgusting. Oh and they create the illusion of convenience when, in reality, making a similar (albeit far superior) meal yourself is really not as challenging (or time consuming) as the packaged food industry would like you to believe. In short, they are stupid.
(Tell us how you really feel, Katie!)
I get the need for convenience foods. Believe you me, I get it. I am currently rolling on a three-day bender with a 5am – 1am schedule wherein I crank out a 10-page paper somewhere during that 20-hour waking period. I’m on my way to the 24-hour coffee shop as we speak to write another 10-pager for which I do not even know the prompt… It’s ridiculous, really.
The trick to writing semester-long papers in less than 24 hours is coffee. Coffee and 24-hour coffee shops. Coffee and 24-hour coffee shops and sitting in the most uncomfortable seat in the coffee shop so you don’t fall asleep. Coffee and 24-hour coffee shops and the uncomfortable seat and mad, mad skill.
The point is I don’t have time to eat lunch let alone make it. That’s why I make all my meals on Sunday. And then freeze them. Homemade microwave meals.
You can make any flavor profile you want–Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean–but the base is the same:
- 1/2 cup prepared whole grain
- 1/3 cup beans
- 1/4 cup protein of choice
- 1 cup frozen vegetables
- 1/3 cup sauce
- Mexican Rice Bowl: 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup pinto beans, 1/4 cup crumbled tempeh, 1 cup frozen tri-color peppers and onions, 1/3 cup salsa
- Mediterranean Bowl: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/3 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup crumbled tempeh, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 1/2 cup frozen artichokes, 1/3 cup marinara sauce
- Asian Rice Bowl: 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup cubed tofu, 1/4 cup cashews, 1 cup frozen broccoli, couple tablespoons of soy or terriyaki sauce
It took me 15 minutes to throw five of these together and into the freezer on Sunday and I can’t tell you how grateful I’ve been to be able to just grab and go in the morning. I microwave them for 3 minutes when I’m ready to eat.
They’ll be a little low on fat as described above so plan to top with avocado, nuts or cheese.
Depending on the ingredients you use, this should come in around: 400-500 calories, 8-12g fat and 15-20g protein. Hot damn. And it’s dirt cheap, too.