Oh, this? This is no big deal. Just a little something I whipped up last night. That happened to taste amazing.

What Do You Eat?

Date: January 7, 2013 at 7:18 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 136

Don’t freak out.

This isn’t a “What I Ate Whateverday” thing I’m starting. (We’d all be horrified if I kept a daily log of every morsel that went into my mouth. I try not to think about it.)

Cupcakes in the morning, cupcakes in the evening, cupcakes at supper time. When cupcakes are on…whatever…you can eat cupcakes anytime! And Bagel Bites.

I’m not becoming a food blogger and I still don’t know what to do with nutritional yeast or chia seeds. Or spaghetti squash, though I’m planning to figure that one out.

Today, I could use a little help, guidance and inspiration from those of you who come up with more creative meals than “chocolate chip cookie disguised as a granola bar” or “Seamless.com for dinner…again.”

Here’s the thing: I am so bored with my breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

I need something filling but “on the go” for breakfast. That’s why I eat those “granola bars” (shut it, Halnon — there’s granola in there somewhere, according to Mr. Entenmann).

Upon closer investigation, I see this is actually called a “cereal bar” and not a “granola bar.” That’s like, a lifetime of lies shattering down on me. Wow. Mind…you’ve been blown.

I either work out at a gym in the morning and then go straight to the office (yes, I shower there, I swear) or I run in the morning and have a solid 15 minutes to shower, dry my hair, stand in front of my closet hating everything and then scoot to the subway.

Breakfast needs to be fast. I go through phases where I like oatmeal, but I get sick of it pretty quickly. And I know eggs are speedy, but I literally do not have a single second to waste in the morning standing in the kitchen waiting for something to cook. So omelette-style creations are out.

Lunch…is a problem.

Lunch is the main meal in my day I’d like to revamp.

I used to be so good about packing my lunch. I’d whip up a little sandwich with tzatziki sauce at the office and I’d be satisfied.

Now though?

I’m lazy. I don’t plan ahead. And whenever I do bring something from home, lunchtime rolls around and I don’t want to eat it because everything my coworkers are going out to get seems so much more enticing.

And so I go out.

I go to the same place almost every day and I get a salad. I eat salad now. Yeah, I don’t know when that happened, either.

The salad is good, it’s healthy, it’s quick — and it’s $9.

Nine friggin’ dollars.

For lunch.

Every day.

Please stop judging me. Please stop judging me. Please stop judging me.

Only recently did I realize just how much those daily lunches are adding up. I need to cut back. But I also know that if I make a salad at home and bring it to the office, I’m not going to eat it. I’m going to hate it and I’m going to resent it.

I like the salad from the fancy place because the throw in all the ingredients I carefully select, and then they chop it up at rapid speed, and then they toss it with dressing and then they tell me to have a nice day. And I do have a nice day. Because of the salad people.

So I need suggestions there, too.

Thanks.

Dinner is OK. When I lived alone I cooked way more than I do now. Probably because I could make total crap in my toaster oven (English Muffin Pizzas!!!) without fear of judgment from The Man Who Thinks He’s A Chef.

A pretty standard pre-cohabitation meal for me. Lazy vegetables, sadly-seasoned fish and a trip to 16 Handles for dessert.

Now, most nights Brian and I both get home late so we’re lazy and we order in. But again, that gets expensive and it gets unhealthy. I always thought lo mein translated to “low-fat vegetable nutrition” but apparently it doesn’t?

I have no excuse for not cooking dinner most days. I still don’t want to spend tons of time whipping up a crazy concoction, and I don’t like things that require really obscure ingredients — but I will gladly smother something in cheese and call it a casserole.

Oh, this? This is no big deal. Just a little something I whipped up last night. That happened to taste amazing. (I’ve actually made it before, and here’s the recipe.)

In an ideal world, Brian “I Cook Everything Well & I’m Awesome At Food-Making” would feed me every day. He doesn’t want to do that every single night, though. Something about “being tired,” or “not feeling like it by the time I get home,” or “I’m not your personal chef, despite what you’ve been thinking all this time.” His excuses are terrible.

I always welcome dinner ideas, though. I think it’s in my best interest to cook more.

Another shot of last night’s dinner. I failed Food Photography 101, in case you were dubious.

Will you help me?

Please?

I went grocery shopping. On a Sunday afternoon. I almost cried, it was that bad. I swear, these women at Fairway…I am going to start taking muy tai boxing or whatever just so I can stand my ground against them in the checkout line.

Tell me what to have for breakfast.

Tell me what to bring in for lunch.

Tell me something you make for dinner that is so easy, I couldn’t possibly screw it up. And also it has to taste somewhat amazing.

I LOVE MY KNIFE SKILLZ!!!!!!!

Tell me if you follow blogs or websites with good, easy, healthy recipes I can recreate without setting my kitchen on fire.

My “Cook One Legitimate Meal Per Month” resolution in 2012 got off to a pretty slick start when I made macaroni and cheese and subsequently lit the top of it on fire. Also, it tasted terrible.

You’re the best and I love you.

xoxo,

Hungry Poor Clueless Girl

Posted in Recipes and tagged -

136 Responses to "What Do You Eat?"

I’m the same as you… i get bored of all the same foods I eat and everything always tastes better when buying out… 9$ salad is the same as the one brought from home yet the 9$ is way more delicious
I’m a fan of yogurt and granola…quick, easy, cheap. what about smoothies? you can make it the night before and just store in the fridge and scoop it up on the way out?

i hope you recap some of the ideas you get because I sure as hell know I could use some help too! good luck

oh- and definitely pick up a 20$ crock pot for dinner ideas. i literally throw frozen chicken and a can of salsa in…let it sit for 9ish hours and boom, gourmet salsa chicken

The crock pot is a GREAT idea — there are lots of recipes to make really yummy meals.

My crock pot is my new best friend! It makes 6-8 servings of most recipes, and I usually freeze a few portions to have backup dinners. It’s amazing.

What I do is cook everything for the week on Sunday night. Sure this doens’t work out every week, but it really does help. Then all I have to do during the week is reheat or pop my meal in the oven. If I don’t have time to prepare everything, I’ll prepare small parts of my meals. Roast the veggies, cook the chicken breast, make mashed potatoes. By the time I’m finished work and done at the gym, I have no interest in cooking. I get a lot of my recipes off of pinterest and skinnytaste.

Christine says: January 7, 2013 at 7:49 am

Breakfast — cereal, bagels with cream cheese, and a banana. Easy and filling.

Lunch — leftover dinner. Nothing better, faster, easier, and more delicious. Alternatively, I like Amy’s frozen vegetable lasagna. A lot. Other Amy’s meals are good, too.

Dinner — the reason I blog about food is that I am not a great cook and I have two little mouths to feed. If you have ever sat at dinner with Tyler, you know what I’m saying. Suddenly, Bagel Bites look like what they are … Awful for you. I can send you links to some recipes I’ve made recently that were easy and delicious. What’s your email addy. Last, I am crazy impressed by that giant plate of Brussels sprouts. You are doing okay! But eating out is $$$. Do you have a slow cooker?

Breakfast- I’m with Christine, bananas and bagels are delicious in the morning. Also, sometimes I make eggs and veggies pinterest style in a muffin tin, store them in a ziploc bag, and stick them in the microwave for a few seconds in the mornings. http://pinterest.com/pin/220394975484020402/

Lunch- I love a great salad for lunch too. I recently bought a container like this http://www.coolgearinc.com/stay_fit_830.html to pack them. You can put the toppings in the lid part, so that they don’t get soggy (meaning you can pack it the night before). Or I like to make a big batch of soup or a stir fry on the weekends and then portion it into tupperware containers. All I have to do in the morning is grab it and go.

Dinner- I’m actually in a bit of a dinner rut myself too, so I’m excited to see what your other readers suggest!

When I’m good at eating well I plan ahead. For instance for breakfast it’s so much easier to have a frittata in the fridge to reheat. And you can change it up every week so you never get bored. And even if you’re bored by Friday just put a bunch of hot sauce on it, No big deal. My resolution this year was to be a better meal planner so I didn’t end up throwing a bunch of food away because I just bought stuff at the store that doesn’t go together, so I’ve been using an app called “Menu Planner”. It’s great! Keeps track of recipes and then makes you a grocery list! I’ve been trying out new recipes all month.

Make everything on weekends. This is easy for lunch, if you don’t care about eating the same thing every day. Open up a bag of greens, divide it between five tupperwares, add your protein of choice, cordon off a section of the refrigerator for it. Or some variation thereof. Boom, it’s done Sunday night.

i’m like you and typically on the go when i’m eating. for me to save money and stay on the healthy side it involves a little planning ahead… but not too much. overnight oats are my go-to when i’m going from the gym to work. you can throw a bunch of crap in a small tupperwear the night before and pack it in your a gym bag to eat after your workout. smoothies are also an easy on the go option…

Those “granola bars” say Multi Grain on them, so they are totally legit…right??

Breakfast – Whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter and banana, overnight oats with some granola for crunch and fruit (super easy) or I make eggs at work. Seriously, I chop up some veggies at the beginning of the week and put them in snack size baggies. Grab an egg and scramble it with a fork and some milk at work, microwave for 30 seconds and scramble again with the fork. Add veggies, even cheese or salsa and nuke it another 10-20 and you’re good to go.

Lunch – I always go with dinner leftovers, salad or I’ll even do eggs for this as well. The girls above me got it right – slow cookers are fabulous. Cooks dinner during the day and more often than not you’ll have leftovers for the next day.

These sites have some great recipes as well:
http://www.hungryhealthygirl.com/recipes/
http://iowagirleats.com/recipes/

Good luck!

Thanks for the mention, Sarah!! I love iowagirleats site too!

You’re so welcome – love your site!

Nine times out of 10, I have an English muffin or toast with PB and a sliced banana for breakfast. This morning, I switched it up and had pumpkin seeds instead of bananas. WILD! Greek yogurt with fruit and seeds of some sort is another quick and portable option.

I bring soup to work for lunch a lot during the winter. Sandwiches are another option. Or leftovers…as long as they aren’t fish. Communal office kitchen fish is stinky and rude.

You can hard-boil a bunch of eggs on the weekend and store them in the fridge all week to save time. Pinterest is also chock full of baked oatmeal casserole-type dishes you can make on Sunday and eat all week!

breakfast: yogurt and a granola bar (or Belvita, my favorite). Healthy, quick, easy.

lunch: I eat out almost every day because I too get bored bringing in lunch, so I can’t opine there.

Dinner: we made steak tips, lobster rissotto and asparagus last night. it was delicious, you should make that. or saffron rissotto

I have a protein bar for breakfast most days. If anything at all. I work from home so lunch is always at hand. Leftovers from the night before, soup, turkey burger, etc. And dinner I make and is usually simple. Protein, veggie. Maybe a carb (sweet potato). If you are in NY with access to all those yummy deli’s it would be hard to brown bag it I think.

The Kidless Kronicles

My favorite winter meal is soup. I’ll make a big pot of soup (chili, tomato, lentil soup, chicken noodle, minestrone, countless others) on Sunday and my husband and I will eat it for lunch 3/5 days of the work week. We eat out the other 2 days, because variety is the spice of life and all. The good thing about soup is that cleanup is easy (only have to clean a knife, a cutting board, and a pot!), it’s easy to eat a lot of veggies in a soup, and, if you want, you can crock pot the soup overnight and have meals without having to slave over them for a long time.

OH, and soup gives me an excuse to buy bakery bread :)

For breakfast I’d say go the smoothie route (esp with greek yogurt). It’s super fast and takes a minute to make. And if you’ve got a really good blender, you can use frozen fruits and veggies in it so you don’t have to worry about the food going bad.

I almost always take leftovers for my lunches. It helps keep things interesting since I’m not eating the same thing every day for a week and it’s generally healthy.

I LOVE spaghetti squash. If you need some tips or recipes, let me know. Those things are a pain to cut!

Good luck! :)

I think the main point is to plan ahead. I plan my meals for the whole week and do my grocery shopping accordingly once a week. (with a list of ingredients / a menu for every day and all… I guess you would easily manage to do that ;-))
I always bring my lunch to work. Even if my coworkers look at me as a strange animal (in France, it’s not so common to bring lunch to work). To prepare your lunch every day is not a big deal as, for me, it’s only a question of cooking a little bit more quantity in the evening (it doesn’t take more time).
Now, the main point is : finding the time to cook in the evening. It all depends on the meals you want to do. As suggested, if it is something which needs preparation, you can do it in advance. You can also cook easy meals, such as : a soup with bread, a salad and a yogurth / rice and fish. And, as you now live with Brian, you could share the evening cooking (one night for you, the other one for him…).

For the breakfast, I don’t really have great advice as I take time for it. I eat bread and jam with a cup of tea at home before going to work. When I was living in NYC (no real bread in sight), I was eating slices of Challah (which is a “brioche”) with jam, or mini-bagels with jam, or granola cereals with milk.

Breakfast: English muffin + PB, yogurt, granola bars, apples, Balance Bars (Cookie mint crunch tastes like thin mints – not lying). I keep oatmeal at work but I pretty much never want it.

Lunch: I get the healthy choice frozen meals. I don’t care what anyone says – they’re easy and stress free. I switch between these and sandwiches and soups.

I never make salads for lunch because I never eat them – they just don’t taste as good as the ones that are made for you. I let myself go to lunch once a week if I want (more of a money thing than a healthy thing) and it seems to keep me in line most of the time. Good luck- report back your findings!

I’ll second (and third) the yogurt, granola, banana breakfast. I also like almond butter smeared on a banana.

Crockpot dinners are the best, too.

Other easy ones: veggie quesadilla with side of smashed avocado, shredded chicken (crockpot) with side of brown rice cooked in coconut milk, couscous and veggies toppd with simple peanut sauce (I seriously only heat soy milk and peanut butter on the stove and pour it atop the food), and pita pizzas (no need for shame! you can dress these up with pesto sauce, eggplant, squash, etc instead of the typical stuff).

I get lots of recipe ideas from Fitnessista.

Lately I’ve been really into microwave eggs. Used to think they were disgusting and uncooked but Ashley showed me otherwise last week. One egg, one egg white in a bowl, 1:30 in the microwave, COVER WITH PAPER TOWEL. (That is the most important part.) I usually put on a whole wheat English muffin with a little ketchup.

Just like you, I am tired and lack the motivation to cook. Then I decided I wanted to eat healthier and that forced me to make time… because let’s face it… eating out isn’t exactly healthy. Salad or not.
I found this blog about clean eating, healthy lifestyles and motivation and love it. The girl is young, but she has amazing ideas!
http://undressedskeleton.tumblr.com/
Hope this gives you many happy belly and wallet days!
p.s. She uses chia seeds and teaches you how to good spaghetti squash! :-) And yes, the crock pot is a lifesaver! :-)

For someone who considers herself an excellent cook and who truly loves food, my daily meals are so routine it’s criminal. Cheerios/banana for breakfast, Lean Cuisine for lunch, salad or leftovers reheated in a tortilla for dinner. Or salad on top of the leftovers in the tortilla. Weekends are grilling, veggies, etc. That end up in a tortilla during the week.

CROCKPOT.

Seriously, this is me. I work from home and I’m still too lazy to pull it together and cook dinner lots of nights. The crockpot is saving my waistline and my wallet. When I get bored with what I’m making, I just scour pinterest for new crockpot recipes. The next one to try goes like this: put frozen chicken breasts in crockpot and cover in spaghetti sauce. Cook on high for 4 hours (or lower temp for longer.) Put on some mozzarella cheese at the end so it melts. BAM. Chicken Parmesan.

I think they make crockpots that you can set to turn on at a certain time. Then it could cook dinner while you’re at work!

Breakfast: about a cup of greek yogurt and scoop of peanut butter into oatmeal or smeared on toast.
Lunch: Cut up carrots, celery and red pepper for some crunch. 1/2 cup of beans (black, pinto, chickpeas, lentils), a scoop of hummus, salsa and cheese. Pita bread on the side.

There you go. Easy and cheap.

Do you have enough time in the morning to wait about 30 seconds for the microwave? If so, then I’d suggest this (it’ll take some time to prepare on the weekend but it’s worth it). Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan (or individual baking cups if you have them, whatever) with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of egg beaters (or you can use real eggs but I’m lazy and the egg beaters are already all whipped up) into each cup and bake for 35-40 minutes. You can add cheese or salsa (or use the flavored egg beaters) before baking for extra flavor. Remove from the oven, let cool and then remove from the cups and store in the fridge. These are good on their own or on an english muffin/toast.

Can’t wait to read the comments because I am just like you! I eat out too much because I’m too lazy to plan ahead or cook. :-/ Good luck!

xo Lauren
http://www.laurensthoughts.com

Oh, and about that spaghetti squash… I made this last night and it was pretty good…

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up in a baking pan. Pour some water in the pan and cover with foil. Bake for about an hour – it’ll be soft when you insert a knife.
About 40 minutes into the squash baking I started to brown some ground beef (can also use chicken) and add taco seasoning. I drained the beef after cooking to get rid of most of the extra grease. If you drain the beef then put it back in the pan and add a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine. At this point the squash should be done roasting and you can remove it from the oven to let it cool. Once it is cooled you can take a fork and scoop out the “noodles” that are inside. I put them right into the big pan I was browning the meat in and then stirred everything up. Once that was done I poured the entire thing into a 9×13 baking pan, topped it with about 3/4 c. of cheese and put it back into the oven to melt the cheese. But please try not to light it on fire.

Breakfast: cereal w/ banana, oatmeal, or make up some breakfast sandwiches and freeze them individually then take out the night before and heat at work
Lunch: tuna or chicken salad made with greek yogurt/light mayo/salsa/lemon pepper/seasoning salt, leftovers, sandwich, amy’s or kashi frozen meals
Dinner: white wine/balsamic vinegar grilled chicken, breaded then baked pork chops, bell peppers stuffed with turkey sausage and orzo, rotisserie chicken tacos, crock pot chicken with salsa/sour cream/dry ranch dressing mix/corn/black beans… shred chicken when it’s done cooking and serve over black beans or wrap in tortillas for enchiladas

For plan ahead: whenever you make a casserole, make an extra one or spend some time on the weekend stock piling: line a casserole dish with parchment paper, fill it with casserole ingredients, then freeze unbaked. When completely frozen, take it out, wrap well, and return to freezer. When you’re ready for it, put the frozen block back into the original casserole dish the night before, let thaw in the fridge, then bake when you’re ready for dinner. This allows you to continue using the casserole dish and keep some quick dinners on hand.

Thanks for the post, and thanks to your readers for leaving comments. We are on the same boat- I hate making plans for meals mainly because I simply don’t know what to eat at all!

Dinner – 9×13 pan – 3-4 chicken breasts down the center, can (or2) of green beans down one side and chopped up potatoes down the other side. Salt/pepper, Italian seasoning on chicken, maybe some butter dropped on top. Cover with foil, bake 350 1 hr. EASY entire meal in one pan. Saw it on pinterest. Take leftovers for lunch. Otherwise, lunch is my down fall too!!!!
P.S. I do a lot of crockpot recipes because I don’t feel like cooking when i get home either.

For breakfast, I’ll usually have a Chobani with some granola in it. Those are pretty easy to eat on the go!

For lunches, I went to Costco (become best friends with someone who has a membership) and bought a 10 pack of Healthy Choice Chicken Noodle and Chicken Rice Soup. It’s like $8 and pretty filling! And the entire can is about 200 calories! I sometimes supplement by walking to the bakery down the street and get a roll for 30 cents. But that’s only because I’m obsessed with dipping bread into soup.

For Dinner I make meals in the crockpot a lot. I use the book, “The Healthy Slow Cooker” by Judith Finlayson is amazing and I love her soup recipes the best. It’s also nice because she puts the nutrition facts and she also has ways that you can prepare most of it the night before so all you have to do is just turn it on in the morning before work. Also, Smitten Kitchen has tons of amazing recipes. My husband and I are in love with her broccoli fritters (its healthy because there’s broccoli, right?) and her most recent recipe looks awesome (and quick and easy!).

For dinner, have you looked at thefresh20.com? It’s a subscription service (like $25 for a year with a groupon), and they give you five meals made from a list of twenty ingredients for the week. All fresh, not processed.

It’s pretty easy, but tasty stuff. It can get redundant, but it really helped me come up with new ideas. I saved a ton of money using it, because you don’t end up throwing food away.

And crock pots rock!

I’m boring – Same thign for breakfast/lunch everyday

Breakfast – Microwaved egg patty (crack egg into Pam sprayed bowl, micro for 1 minute). Toast english muffin while egg is microwaving. Slap egg and English muffin together with cheese in middle and egg sandwich is born

lunch – Turkey breast, mustard on sandiwch thin. Chobani. Kashi bar

That’s it!

I know this isn’t exactly the path you’re looking for, but the frozen dinners at trader joes are fantastic. If you don’t have something you could bring one in for lunch and it’s $3 rather than $9.

Soups are pretty forgiving to cook and reheat well during the week. I hear you on the dinner thing though half of the time I fry up eggs for dinner because I’m too lazy / tired to do anything else. Whatever, it’s a protein, right? :)

Lemme know when you find that perfect grab-and-go breakfast. #hardestmeal

For lunch I usually bring tasty dinner leftovers. Most of the time that keeps me more excited than what the local restaurants have.

Fast/easy/healthy dinner idea: Honey roasted chicken, asparagus and sweet potato fries. One baking sheet, 15 minutes tops. http://dbli023.blogspot.com/2011/03/tasty-re-entry-to-blogging.html

I know it’s hard but a little planning can go a long way.
I often eat oatmeal in a variety of ways for breakfast. But for on the go options I would try baked oatmeal (Kath eats real food) has a great easy recipe that you can’t screw up. My husband a very picky eater is happy to eat this cool and cut like bars – it’s filling and tasty.
Lunch I usually bring my lunch – I plan my weeks menu before I hit up the store on Saturday and have an idea of what I will have available for lunch. But I always try to make sure I have some Protien, veg and Complax cabs and add yogurt or snack as needed.

I love the food magazines websites for easy simple and healthy recipes.
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/recipes and http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus both of these have provided me great success… good luck

I agree planning ahead is key. I know I have very little time to spare in the morning as I have to get myself ready, a 4.5 year old ready and drop-off at preschool AND drive 40 minutes to work in Chicago. For breakfast I like to do a variety throughout the year but I’ll stick with one thing for about three to four months. The last few months was turkey bacon as it can be zapped in the microwave with little mess and takes about 3 minutes; before that was a Nutrigrain waffle with peanut butter and blueberry jam; before that it was Greek yogurt with fresh berries (this was summer) and before that it was General Mills Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheerios (two different cereals that I mixed together because I heart Reese’s Peanut Butter cups). As for lunch, I tend to make my lunch Mon-Thurs and then allow myself to eat out on Fridays. I HATE our school’s microwaves (we have to share them with about 400 or so grad students) so I just bought a CrockPot for work: http://www.cvs.com/shop/product-detail/Crock-Pot-The-Original-Slow-Cooker-Lunch-Crock?skuId=913377&WT.mc_id=Shopping_Google_PLA

I’ve done soups in it from home and it cooked it up very nicely. I have friends that are teachers and said they’ve brought leftover lasagna, porkchops, pot roast and mac and cheese, plus many other leftovers to pop in the crockpot. I know back in the summer my favorite lunch was a sandwich I fell in love with from Au Bon Pain – it is their Caprese sandwich which is just Focaccia bread, fresh mozzarella, basil and pesto. It is super easy to make and I just had it with chips and some fresh fruit.

Also, if you are on Pinterest, there are a couple of good websites that have some great ideas on lunches, some which you can make ahead.

As for dinner, we use the Crockpot a lot and then we also grill a lot in the summer but given that you live in an apartment, you could do a George Foreman grill and grill chicken breast, burgers, steak, pork chops, fish, portabella mushrooms, and veggies.

I think once you start planning your meals and then have back-up choices you won’t find yourself in a food rut or getting stressed.

Good luck!

Breakfast: I always do oatmeal. If I have my ish together, I prep it at home in the morning and then microwave it at work. I stir in some berries and peanut butter too. Instant oatmeal is clutch for those frantic mornings. I keep the packets at my desk and just cook them up once I’m at the office.

Lunch: Typically a (non $9, homemade) salad + toast.. Or a microwaved veggie burger (w/ toasted English muffin bun + cheese) + carrots or mini salad on the side. Or an Amy’s meal (I like the cheese tamales)–still not as good as just packing a sandwich, but cheaper than eating out. Or dinner leftovers.

It is key to have no shame about using your office kitchen like a home kitchen! People make fun of me for my elaborate set ups, but it is worth it to me to have real food. Also, keep some staples in the office fridge/freezer, if possible. I always have salad dressing, peanut butter, a few slices of frozen bread, and a back up frozen meal on hand.

For breakfast, you could pack a yogurt and half a banana with one of those granola bars or a little baggie/container of cereal or granola. That is pretty easy to prep in advance and even better if your office lets you store extra food in the fridge. Multigrain agels or English muffins w/cream cheese or peanut butter are good too.
My office gets lunch out every Friday, so I try to be “good” all week to save money. Try picking up a bunch of ingredients you actually want in your salad and a really good dressing , then prep two days at a time. Pack the dressing on the side and at lunch time, pour it in, put the cover back on and shake it up to coat everything in dressing.
Tacos/fajitas are pretty easy. Cook up some meat or beans on the skillet, dump in some frozen peppers and onions if you want, then serve with your favorite toppings. When veggies are in season I just throw chicken and sliced peppers under the broiler, then slice the chicken when it is cooked.
Homemade Chipotle-style bowls are good too. (Guess I’m craving mexican….)

Overnight oats. I second the chicken+salsa in the crockpot, or chicken + bqq sauce. Vegetables that steam in the bag – brussels sprouts with bbq, asparagus with lemon, broccoli with pasta sauce.

I am in your boat. I am so busy that I don’t have time to cook. So here is a super simple breakfast.

Egg muffins
I cook a few pieces of bacon for flavor and once they are cooked, I crumble them up and scramble some eggs (about 5) a week.
I then put the mixture in small muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes at 350.

I take mine to work on Monday and I eat one a day all week.

First of all spaghetti squash is delightful! But save yourself by poking a hole or two in it, put it in the over at 400 for 15min, take it out, let it cool to touch and then it’s SO much easier to slice in half.
Secondly, I am with everyone who says plan ahead. Lunch and dinner are hard if you don’t and I am like you, I don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen whipping up a gourmet meal. I am a big fan of roasted veggies and sweet potato fries, yes LOVE those! For dinner eggs are a go to meal if I didn’t plan, with cheese of course!
And I made a big batch of pancakes the other day, put them in different tupperware containers and I eat those for breakfast. Or greek yogurt with oats and raisins and maybe bananas.

I’m not much of a cook either, and this is why I love Trader Joe’s so much. So many quick and easy lunch and dinner options. I usually make a whole package of something, eat half for dinner and take the rest for lunch the next day. Favorites include: frozen gorgonzola gnocchi, mushroom ravioli, spinach pie, and shrimp and veggie dumplings. I also love TJ’s creamy tomato soup and sometimes take that with a pre-made cheese sandwich to stick in the office toaster oven.

Breakfast: English muffin with scrambled egg and cheese. Egg is scrambled in the microwave – takes about 60 seconds, slides out of the thing I cook it in (small tupperware container). Alternate breakfasts include refrigerator oatmeal, cereal, or a sandwich. Yup. Plain ol’ pb+j in the morning.

Lunch is my variable: today I’m having a salad, last week I ate butternut squash+red lentils, week before was chicken and quinoa, sometimes I do sandwiches, etc. My big thing is this – whatever it is, I usually make it all on Sunday night, then parse it out into separate containers so I can just grab one in the morning and go.

Dinner: whatever the heck I want. Usually chicken. I eat more chicken than anyone I’ve ever met.

I am a fan of freezing stuff. So that means I’ll make a big batch of whatever and freeze individual portions. Breakfast-egg muffins, banana oat muffins, overnight oats (not freezing but you get the idea) Lunch-broccoli cheese chicken quinoa casserole, soups, I like to do left overs over salad. Dinner-Tacos, lasagna (I make a big one and then a couple of small ones and then freeze them so I can pop on in the oven whenever I feel like it, fajitas.

I love reading about people’s fast meal options! I have a busy lifestyle as well: I work a lot, my husband works even more and has a long commute. That means I am responsible for most of our food prep and cooking, but I don’t mind because I hate commuting. So, first things first, if you hate going to the grocery store, you won’t end up with food to cook. Can you use a delievery service or make Brian do it in exchange for another chore? I *hate* vacuuming but my husband doesn’t mind it, so he does all the vacuuming and I clean the bathroom. Because lets’ face it, I’m not going to vacuum but having a trade makes my husband feel less resentful about the fact that he always does it. So once you find a non-awful way to get groceries, I’d focus on dinners first because take out is so crazy expensive and so bad for you. I know that no one reads cookbooks anymore since pintrest/cooking blogs showed up, but I LOVE this cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Simple-Recipes-Americas-Kitchen/dp/1933615591/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1357572217&sr=8-6&keywords=americas+test+kitchen+cookbook+quick. The recipes are really simple but really good and there are helpful discussion about choosing good asparagus for roasting vs. steaming and other really helpful advice for beginning cooks. America’s Test Kitchen also has a crockpot cookbook that I want (crockpots are awesome, as you’ve already been told about 20 times). Also, I *always* cook enough for two meals (4 servings total) because it just feels so much more worth the effort and let’s face it, cooking every single night sucks. I personally don’t like the whole cook all your meals on the weekend strategy, though I admire people who do it, but I just end up having too many things going on during the weekends to do that. My goal for the weekends is to plan at least two meals (ideally 3) to feed my husband and I for 4-6 nights, obtain the necessary food and prepare either a big fruit salad or a big pan of roasted vegetables to beef up meals for the next few days.
I would honestly just keep eating the $9 salads as long as they are reasonably healthy and you can afford it. You’ve got to pick your battles and at least you get to go with your co-workers so it is a break and social.
Breakfast is hard too. I think if you can make yourself do it, you could making a big dish of baked oatmeal or baked french toast (extra eggs and whole wheat bread for staying power) and on the weekend and bring a serving with you to heat up at work. Just don’t try to do all this at once or you are just setting yourself up to fail. Once you get used to cooking regularly (even a couple times a week), it will be so much easier. Anyway, sorry for the longest comment ever, but I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to make this work, and I’m finally at a strategy that I’m ok with and it gives me a lot of satisfaction:) Good luck!

As annoying as it may be every week, for lunches I prep some stuff on Sundays and pack the night before. Chop veggies, grill up some type of meat, make ‘yogurt bowls’ with peanut butter, fruit, etc. My breakfasts are usually just oatmeal or toast with PB. Or boil some eggs in advance and eat with ketchup or salsa. The last one is not as tasty but obviously a healthy addition.

For dinner, the crockpot is a lifesaver. Your choice of meat, choice of sauce, choice of beans/veggie, cook on low for 8 hours and leave on automatic warm afterwards. I shred the meat when I get home and let it soak in the sauce. Makes a ton of food and then we have leftovers for lunch or dinner. Also, cooking something like fish on broil is very quick and you can mix up the sauce here as well. I like a spicy, sweet combo so it caramelizes nicely. Good luck!

I’m also terrible at packing lunch. Going out is so much better! One of my secrets is making soup because it easily reheats. Chili over quinoa is a filling meal and it’s easy to pack. There are some pretty decent frozen meals at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, too.

Breakfast: more often than not I do oatmeal. But I pre-cook a batch of oats every Sunday and have 4 days of it. So, steel cut oats, and then right at the very end I throw in some dried fruit, or jam, or some other kind of sweetener. Alternative breakfast: pre-make egg mcmuffins. Mix up a bunch of eggs, with whatever seasonings you want, pour them out into muffin tins, and bake. Then just microwave them in the morning.

Lunch: I’m terrible at bringing my own lunch, so no recommendations there.

Dinner: I’m also a bit terrible at this too, but here are some ideas. #1 – buy chicken sausage (hot Italian is my fave) and bake it in the oven for about 20-30 mins. It’ll get nice and crispy like a hot dog. Also roast some veggies at the same time. Done. #2 – google Wegman’s slow-cooker beef minestrone. You can do all the work on a Sunday. Obsessed. #3 – Green chile chicken. Buy mild green chiles (comes in a can at a supermarket). Chop some scallions. Mix together some spices (cayenne, salt, pepper, anything else you would throw on a fajita). Chop chicken into strips, season with spice mixture. Saute chicken, then add scallions, then add green chiles. Top with pepper jack cheese, and cover until it melts. Mmmmm.

Oh, and have you used Fresh Direct? They are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

One last dinner idea. Meatloaf muffins. They cook super quickly, and you can substitute ground turkey: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/diner-meat-loaf-muffins-10000001160601/

Breakfast- Greek yogurt and a handful of cereal (I bring 5 yogurts & a box of cereal to work on Monday morning and store them there, then eat them right when I get to the office). Quick, easy, cheap.
Lunch- Pack the night before. It’s just way too pricey to eat out all the time for lunch. But, I do “let” myself eat out for lunch once a week. Makes it so I have something to look forward to and 1 day w/o having to pack. I usually do either a can soup, sandwich, veggies/hummus, or leftovers.
Dinner- my husband and I cook a big dinner Sunday night and strech those left overs pretty well. Then, we usually have left overs from going out at least once. Then, I usually make a big batch of brown rice Sunday night too and combine that w/ random things to do quick fried rices or stir-frys or something.

I go through “phases” w/ foods where I can eat the same thing 15 days straight and then don’t want it at all for 2 months. I don’t beat myself up about it. It is what it is! :)

I think having a live in maid/cook would solve my food problems.

i eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday. iowagirleats and eatliverun have great recipes for entrees and I just take left-overs for lunch.

Breakfast= Van’s Gluten Free Waffles (10 min in toaster), apple maple chicken sausage (3 min in microwave), bit of syrup on top. Or almond butter on waffle. OR if I need 15-20 min to shower and want the food to make itself while I’m in there, cupcake pan–>grease up one or two cups, put in a slice or two of prosciutto into the cup, few bits of basil, crack an egg in each cup that has prosciutto in it. 400 degrees, 20 mins and you have egg cups!

Lunch= Ummmm, I do left over chicken and rice, soups, or a meal made of snacks (ritz & pb, applesauce, crackers, turkey slices, string cheese). Or I do a Ploughman lunch kind of thing and bring slices of french bread, cheese, a few different slices of meat and some grapes.

Dinner=crockpot stuff, or chicken with olive oil, lemons, rosemary, salt, wrapped in a tinfoil packet, 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Or I just stuff my face with french bread and Boursin cheese.

You could do boiled eggs for breakfast.. They’re portable and can be made ahead of time. For the other meals, I would definitely go the crockpot way. It’s amazing! :)

I am like you. It’s hard when you are gogogo all the time to whip up a quick meal that’s healthy! Breakfast for me I usually boil an egg or two while I’m getting ready for work or make a smoothie. I just bought this single serve blender with a travel lid my blogger friend told me about. It’s awesome and $15 at Walmart or Target. I throw frozen fruit, greek yogurt, honey and ice in there. Lunch is usually a salad (I feel you on the $9 salad- I’ve done it too!) Dinner is sometimes quinoa pasta with feta/spinach chicken sausage that’s already cooked, I just pop it in the oven and then mix it in the pasta w/ some laughing cow cheese. It’s a filling quick meal! I’m still working on dinner ideas. I love anything with quinoa in it though. A lot of it is trial and error…keep working at it!! haha…”What I Ate Whatever-day” makes me giggle.

UGH I spend so much of my money on food is is so sad. Easily $10 a day at lunch. If I oder seamless for dinner another $15. Even Whole Foods is cheaper. I started buying some of Amy’s frozen dinners. I’d like suggestions too because I can’t really cook at all…

There’s lots of good breakfast ideas already, and I eat the same weird boring breakfast every day, so I’ll start with lunch ;) What helps me is to make something on Sunday that’s easy to put together and will last me 4 lunches (I know…boring, but if you make something delicious I promise by the time you’re bored of it, the week will be over), and go out for lunch one of the days. This makes going out to lunch more exciting than Christmas, and we could all use a little Christmas exciting in the week. For dinner, a lot of people have said it, but the crockpot really is miraculous. Also, I love buying Trader Joe’s refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough, and making my own pizzas. I blog about a lot of recipes that are mostly healthy and easy if you’re looking for meal inspiration. I just didn’t want to be that person that linked to every recipe post I’ve ever written ;) Some other recipe blogs I love that have some healthy things (and some not) are http://foodiemisadventures.com, http://pinchofyum.com, http://runningtothekitchen.com, http://fooddoodles.com.

I start work pretty early, so I keep a box of Kashi cereal and container of almond milk at work for breakfast. It used to be greek yogurt and fresh fruit, but I recent;y became lactose intolerant so for the time being it’s almond milk, yuck. Because my finances are so tight I have to bring lunch every day and it’s generally leftovers or a salad. It gets boring, but it’s worth it when I have more money at the end of the month. I try to spice my salads up by adding black beans, mashed up tortilla chips and BBQ/ranch dressing – it makes them not as boring. Dinner…now that a work in progress and I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s ideas. One of my favorite go-to meals is (friend, unfortunately) panko chicken with lemon on top and a greek yogurt dill dip and cut up veggies. The warm chicken in the cool dip is delish and the chicken heats up great in a toaster oven the next day!

I totally sympathize with this! I get the same way. If I’m going the bar route for breakfast—have you tried LaraBar uber bars? So much better than the original in my opinion—they are so good! And just fruit and nuts. As for lunch, if you like those $9 salads and enjoy going to lunch with people, maybe you could back to two or three times a week, and the other time bring leftovers from dinner? I never want a packed lunch unless it’s leftovers that were good the night before!

I make tacos a lot during the week for dinner—just heat up the shells, brown the hamburger and throw in the seasoning (I use the Old el Paso kit), and then chop lettuce/tomatoes. Makes a lot so the lunch problem is solved too!

I just found you blog a month or two ago (LOVE IT) and have been in this rut place so here you go!

Breakfast- try looking up microwaving your eggs, you can essentially make an omelet in a mug and go! I like 2 eggs, a dash of milk, and a little bit of cheese and salsa, microwave from 1.5 min and done!

Lunch- I typically just do leftovers from the night before sooo here’s were the dinners come in

Dinner- Crockpot a must! Seriously my bf and I both work ~12-14 hour days (grad students) and the crock is our best friend. (try crockpot365.blogspot.com)

Or I really love iowagirleats.com for delish and healthy meals! And she loves some spaghetti squash too!

Good luck!

From one Hungry Poor Clueless Girl to another, here’s what I do:

Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/4 cup almonds, dried fruit (I opt for cranberries). Combine the ingredients ahead of time in plastic (microwave safe) containers with lids. Add some water and heat for about 1 minute on high in the microwave and take it with you as you leave the house.

Lunch: Yummy dinner left overs I want to eat!

Dinner: CROCK POT!

There’s hundreds of healthy meals out there you can make with your crock pot (http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/slow-cooker-favorites-00400000038588/). Prep it the night before, plug it in before you leave for work (maybe while your oatmeal is heating) and BAM! When you get home from work dinner is ready to go! Get a large crock pot too so you can make more than just dinner and take it for lunch the next day! If you loved it for dinner you’ll want it again for lunch!

Good luck!

I’m a full-time grad student and I work, so this is what fits my busy schedule!

#1 key: On whatever night for you is least busy (for me it’s Sunday), buy a week’s worth of veggies, cut them up, and put them in a Tupperware. SO much easier to cook (and find the motivation to do so) when your veggies are cut up. It doesn’t take too long & is fun when you listen to music :)

On whatever nights that I have some time, I just cook easy stuff: omelettes, tofu scrambles, fried rice with shrimp, roasted butternut squash with tempeh & quinoa, canned salmon with avocado, etc. Make several servings so you can eat it for a couple days!

Breakfast is also easy: cold oatmeal that I assemble at home and eat at work, smoothies, egg sandwich (2 eggs cooks in 1:30 in the micro) with a little jam.

Good luck! Planning ahead is key :)

Meghan, would love the recipe for this roasted butternut squash with tempeh & quinoa that you speak of!

I’m big on fritattas for breakfast (mix veggies, cheese, bacon, 8 eggs, plus whatever else in a pan, bake it for 15 minutes of so)– I just make it on Sunday night, stick it in the fridge and then pop a slice in the microwave for 30 seconds in the morning… and it’s insanely quick for a before-work egg dish. My lunches are homemade but not worth sharing and I’m always in the “i’m way too tired to cook” boat at dinnertime too.

Your morning sounds just like mine! Today I left my apartment so late I had to take a cab to work… no bueno.

Call it OCD, but the only thing that works for me is grocery shopping on Saturday/Sunday and making breakfast/lunches for the entire week. And then, like a 5 year old, taking it all with me to the office on Monday morning.

Breakfast is usually yogurt with peanut butter and fruit, and lunch is typically something I can make five servings of in one pot/dish. In the summertime, veggies and cous cous, chicken salad, etc. and in the winter, SOUP! My current favorite: http://sweetbasilkitchen.com/2010/09/09/chicken-butternut-squash-soup/
(and Trader Joe’s has great pre-cut butternut squash, too!)

I love iowagirleats.com for recipes. I actually learned about her in the same Fitness article you were published in– blogs to check out. She has great ideas!!

Breakfast: Spend some time on the weekend making breakfast tacos (roll them up and put them in a pan like you would enchiladas, but without sauce). Bake them and then stick them in a Ziplock back in the freezer. Reheat as many as you’d like in the microwave, and BAM! Breakfast on the go.

Lunch: I’m way lazy and ALWAYS have leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Dinner: Soups are SOUPer easy, tasty, and healthy. It can be a brothy soup, a chunky stew, or a creamy soup. They’re all delicious and a great way to get your veggies in without feeling like you’re just eating some veggies.

I own a bazillion cookbooks but when I want new recipes I almost always turn to a good google search.

Good luck!

Lauren W. says: January 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Right now I always eat yogurt with fruit and granola. Getting pretty sick of it though. Have you ever made one of Fitnessista’s Breakfast Cookies? SO so good, I need to get back on that. (http://fitnessista.com/the-fitnessista-cookbook/the-breakfast-cookie/)

Zero clue for lunch because Juice Generation is devouring my savings. So close to my apt so I pick it up before going to work and I live for their Kale Salad. Excited to see other peoples ideas too.

You could set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and that might just give you enough time to make some toast/yogurt/eggs/etc (on the mornings you’re not at the gym of course).

To get you out of the “that $9 salad looks better than my homemade lunch” mind set, think about how many hours of work it takes you to earn that $9. Here is a depressing but realistic way to calculate how much you really earn per hour, after taxes, communing costs, work wardrobe costs, etc. http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2012/01/05/calculate-how-much-you-really-make-4365/

like everyone else who feels they’ve somewhat mastered this common issue-planning ahead is key. you’ve got to stack the cards in your favor. if i havent been grocery shopping, if the fridge is devoid of veggies and protein sources then ofcourse I’m going to order in and 3 nights of sushi is pricey and not as good for you as we like to think. i also subscribe to the cook it all one day a week method. I make one or two soups that are full of green vegetables – my favorite cook book right now is ‘Love Soup’ its vegetarian and really creative. every recipe has been incredible. right now I have a pumpkin chard white bean soup and an onion fennel soup in the fridge. then I make sure I have easy protein sources: frozen fish fillets, eggs, nut butter, even sausage ( soup plus one chicken sausage is a yummy lunch or dinner) you can easily defrost frozen fish fillets or chicken breasts in some warm water while you’re coming down from the day ie changing out of work clothes, showering, whatever 15-20 minutes of things you do once you get home, just throw your frozen meat in the sink in a bowl with warm water dribbling on it. it’ll be soft enough to cook in about 15-20 minutes(and its safe to do – i promise- i heard a whole radio program about defrosting in warm water and they said its all safe) – super easy: protein plus premade pesto spread on top- 12-15 minutes in the broiler or toaster oven and its done. you can be steaming your pre cut veggies or re-heating roasted ones you already made. I DO NOT own a microwave and dont believe in them. too many studies show they alter the way the food is metabolized. so I am best friends with my incredible toaster oven. it reheats quickly and easily and i don’t find i’m missing out on vast amounts of time without the micromachine.
when i had to work at dawn I used to premake yogurt and granola in a tupperware the night before and eat it on the train. i’d pack a simple pbj sand which for lunch and i ALWAYS have a fruit and a tupperware of nuts in my purse in case I’m stuck or need another meal before I’m home again.
i think one really important thing to really conquer this issue forever is to try to see cooking, grocery shopping and your meals as important moments to relax and care for yourself and prep your body to be the wonderful physical machine that it is. once you see meals as something positive and not as something getting in the way of getting you out the door on time or something too hard to do after a long day-if instead dinner prep is something enjoyable you and yours can do to wind down together…then you really shift the whole issue and its stops being a problem to solve but instead a healthy part of an already healthy lifestyle. i really look forward to my cooking days and the prep time looking at recipes and trying new things. when life is really fast paced, making time to do domestic things like that really keeps me sane :) hope that helps:)

I think Lunch is definitely the hardest meal to plan and bring to work! I completely agree about the salads (I’ve brought one I made at home before, actually thrown it out, and went to buy one from the Tossed downstairs instead…don’t judge me either!!!)

I make variations of these baked egg muffin thingies for breakfast and actually leave a week’s worth in the fridge at work so I can just heat them up (or hard-boiled eggs when I’m super lazy). http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=300231

For lunch I get chicken breasts and marinate them (different flavors each week but my current addiction is Trader Joe’s soyaki) and cook a bunch in the slow cooker (allows for keeping them whole or shredding them and making pulled chicken, seriously no one can mess that one up!) and then just add side things (brown rice – Trader Joes even has cooked brown rice), asparagus (oven-roasted with garlic salt), etc. I used to try to bring sandwiches or wraps to work but eh, just not as exciting.

Honestly, everything is SO easy in the crockpot and makes for easy lunch meals: http://family.go.com/food/pkg-dinner-recipes/pkg-crock-pot-recipes/

Breakfast: I have a microwave in my office’s kitchen so I crack eggs the night before and bring them in a microwavable Gladware container and microwave for 30sec-stir-microwave for 30sec- voila, scrambled eggs! I top them usually with 1/4 avocado and some hot sauce. I also make turkey bacon in the microwave on a paper plate.
LUNCH: either salad from home (just be sure to buy the happy salad people ingredients and save the dressing in a sep. container) or leftover dinner. some dinners taste better heated up the next day!
Dinner: This is where i lack, but have gotten better. I just discovered what spaghetti squash was this fall (and used google on how to cook it http://homecooking.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/ss/spagsquashsbs.htm ) easiest thing ever. Add some frozen turkey meatballs and tomato sauce and you’ve got gourmet meal! and I agree with above commentors, anything in a crockpot makes things more simple and yummy.

I couldn’t agree more that there are few things more frightening than Fairway on a Sunday afternoon. Yet I still go. And proceed to have panic attacks as I barely survive each aisle. Just like you I barely have time in the morning for a full breakfast after running, but if I don’t eat something filling I’m hungry again by the time I reach the subway. Here are a few filling things I ear that are super easy and delicious (and healthy!)

Breakfast: Whole wheat bagel with cottage cheese (I never used to like cottage cheese but if you put some pepper and other spices in it after you buy it it’s very yummy and more filling! Smoothie (sounds time-intensive but it’s actually easy and fast) just through some frozen berries (fairway has a huuge selection) water, ice and a banana into a blender and throw it in a bottle to go and you can drink it on your way.

Lunch: I eat constantly at work and bring things like yogurt and granola, cut up fruit, carrots/hummus, a simple wrap made the night before, and often left-overs from dinner.

Dinner:
Fiesta Salad: My absolute favorite dinner, just quickly chop (since I know how fine your skills are these days) some of your favorite veggies (avocado is a must!) and add to lettuce. Add in some cooked black beans, salsa and greek yogurt for sour cream if you like

I love these for breakfast- make ahead and eat while you walk: http://spoonful.com/recipes/mini-frittatas

This made me think about eating out at lunch differently- and maybe get your co-workers to, too? We have brownbag lunces at my office- still fun visiting way cheaper http://thehairpin.com/2012/03/how-to-bring-your-lunch-to-work-a-guide

Frittata’s are great for any meal but especially breakfast. Make a large one or several small ones on Sunday – aspargus & swiss or chick sausage & gouda or chock full of veggies! Dish out into small servings and grab & go in the morning! For dinner we’re on a soup & salad & panini kick. Grab a great loaf of bread and pretty much any combo of things from your fridge will make a great panini (turkey/brie/green apple/apricot preserves is to die for! ; ) Bon Appetite!

i feel the same way sometimes…I tend to stick to homemade trail mix for breakfast (baggie of my choice of cereal, usually kashi heart to heart, almonds and raisins, I have a dairy allergy otherwise chocolate chips would probably make there way in there too!).. Lunch and dinner I’m better about I tend to make a huge thing of soup on Sundays and then eat as lunch or dinner throughout the week and then if I get sick of it I freeze the leftovers. I also really like making a large serving of plain quinoa on Sundays and then using it throughout the week for a variation of things. My favorite combinations are quinoa with slivered almonds, dried cherries and grilled chicken sometimes on lettuce sometimes not. For savory I like to make a pseudo stir fry with quinoa, crack an egg and cook it up in the quinoa and then add some peppers onions or whatever veges you want with a little bit of soy sauce. hope that helps :)

Lindsey B says: January 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I LOVE Tina’s blog (www.carrotsncake.com) and Julie’s blog (www.pbfingers.com) for food ideas. Those 2 gals whip up the yummiest, easiest, and healthy recipes. You can generally make a recipe and it’ll last for a few meals too!

Great topic! I recently moved abroad, where eat-out options are limited (especially healthy ones) and frozen dinners are unheard of. Its been a challenge but I feel like I am starting, slowly, to get a hang of it all. For breakfast I actually really enjoy sitting down and eating cereal and yogurt while eating the news so I don’t have many on the go suggestions except making a peanut butter and banana wrap the night before.
lunch: I enjoy feeling like a little kid when packing my lunch and stick to sandwiches. A good ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato goes a long way. Also, salads with things like walnuts and almonds to keep from being too bland.
dinner is what I struggle with as well, I am usually so tired when I get home and I live alone. I’ve started cooking up chicken at the beginning of the week either in the frying pan or baking it, to use in salads, with pasta and veggies, or tonight I threw it in a frying pan with some previously cooked rice, black beans, corn and onions.
It is tough to plan ahead but it definitely helps. Also, it is good to have things that you know you can whip up quickly. I always keep cans of beans and veggies (though I prefer fresh ones) that I can quickly mix together with a grain and some spices. It is better than heading to the local pizza place.
Good Luck!

I feel your pain….I got caught up in that going out to lunch all the time with coworkers and it was unhealthy and expensive!!! Now there are four of us who eat in together! Maybe you could find someone who wants to do that too? We even (sometimes) work out together first (we’re lucky enough to have a gym at work though!).

Okay, I work FT and have 2 kids – a 3 year old boy and my hubs. :) So quick & easy is a must!! I get chicken breasts and make tons & use them all week (chicken salads, chicken tacos, sandwiches for lunches, etc.). Yep, we eat A LOT of chicken :), but I try to do different things with it. Marinate the chicken in a baggie (with your favorite dressing or I like lime/lemon juice-just from a container! I told you easy!!and some spices). Then turn your pan on really hot (7-8) and let it warm up. Take the chicken out of the marinade and sear in the pan for 4 minutes on either side. Then turn it down to 4-5 & finish cooking. It’s really good! Seared on the outside but tender from marinading & cooking slowly. Then I roast veggies (we like broccoli but whatever you like is good). Put a little olive oil, salt, pepper & garlic salt. 400* (on a stone if you have it), 10 minutes, stir, 10 more minutes. I make extra for other nights/lunches too. I sometimes add parmesan cheeses if I have it. Then just rice or potatoes if you want them. Okay, that took longer to type than to make it, I promise!! :)

And we do either fruit + 2-3 hard boiled eggs (I make a bunch on the weekend!), or Greek yogurt with fruit for breakfast. Easy to grab and filling with the protein!

Good luck!! Once you get in the habit its easier. Oh, and leftovers for lunches for sure! I just get lunches ready when I’m putting leftovers away! We are very frugal (some may say cheap :) ), so we each eat out once a week with friends at work. It really makes you look forward to that day too!!!

For breakfast I am a big fan of baked oatmeal. You can make it ahead of time and just put it in containers and grab it on your way out the door. When I bring it to work people always think I’m eating dessert.. it smells that good! Here is a website with some ideas…
http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/chocolate-covered-recipes/all-things-oatmeal

I am a big fan of veggies and quinoa for lunch. You can roast just about any veggie in the oven and make quinoa and mix them together. Or find a good 3 bean chili recipe and you can freeze it. Hope this helps!

Holy crap that’s a lot of advice you’ve gotten. I’m sure there’s nothing I could suggest, that hasn’t already been said. May the force or some higher magical power be with you.

Oh wait, there is one thing…laugh and dance while you do it. Drag Brian, a glass of wine, and your iPod into the kitchen and have some fun.

I am so excited about this blog post because I was just having this exact same conversation with myself. Grocery shopping this weekend I got those mini cottage cheeses, because they seemed like a good breakfast on the run solution. I also got string cheese. So my only solutions so far have involved single serving packs of dairy. (Not to mention that half the time, dairy upsets my stomach. That’s how great my solutions are). I can’t wait to read everyone else’s hopefully better thought out ideas!

Can’t say I’m too creative with my meals, but here’s what I might eat on a normal day:
Breakfast:
-greek yogurt with fruit and cereal
-oatmeal with PB
-PB and banana sandiwch on ezekiel raisin bread

Lunch:
-hummus sandiwch (hummus w/ tomatoes or other veggies)
-hummus and pita and cut up carrots and celery
-leftovers from dinner
-peanut butter (in a container) then bring apple slices and celery to dip (my favorite)

Dinner:
-black bean, mango, red/green pepper, corn salad (can’t think of exact ingredients at the moment)
-chestnut soup

I like simple, practical meals. PERIOD. I did however started a healthy eating journey so nutritious options were reduce to well..a few.
I just read this amazing post from Yum Universe
http://www.yumuniverse.com/2013/01/07/stop-cheating-yourself-success-takes-a-pinch-of-planning-and-a-pound-of-accountability/
Now, I am not by any means vegetarian or on a plant based diet but I do agree on her approach on making the time to cook ahead.
As for me it is always a day-by-day quest but this is sort of what my day to day menu looks like:
I normally have a banana with almond butter or nutella and when I feel like not having a sweet breakfast I have hard-boiled eggs with avocado.
For lunch I always have chicken breasts that I have grilled and store in the fridge or a batch of quinoa or drained black beans topped with some vegetables or again avocados. For the dressing I just add some lime juice, salt and a drip of olive oil. The avocados work great as a “salad dressing”
I think quinoa is great for on-the-go meals!
Chickpeas and edamame are also great for lunch at the office meals.
What I have most trouble with is snacks…but hopefully someone will post snack options here :)

Ok, when I was in my twenties I had my self named Breakfast of champions: 2 chocolate (with vanilla frosting) Pop tarts and 2 Diet cokes. Then a cup of coffee. Healthy, I know.

Now that I am in my 40s, I am remarkably similar. Protein Bar for breakfast. Super chopped up salad from the salad guys at lunch (most days, if I am being good), and scramble for dinner. On weekends, I cook, but I have all day and 2 kids to serve as sous chefs.

My suggestion is to get a crock pot. Put food in at beginning of day, hit the button, bang, food and incredible smell when you come home. If you get the kind with a timer, they cook for like 8 hours (or whatever) and then automatically go to warm. A roasted chicken. Any kind of big cut of beef or pork. Any kind of casserole. Anything. And usually makes a bunch so you can have couple meals out of it. Just a thought!

microwave an egg for 30 seconds. Poof. Breakfast.
LUnch could be soup. It’s not amazing but it’s not bad either.

Dinner. I plan on 3 a week. and 3 nights of leftovers. spaghetti w/ meat sauce. chicken with rice and some sort of asian sauce. and the third night is shrimp somehow.
voila!

Easiest meal ever = crock pot chicken. You throw it in with chicken broth and it’s pretty adaptable (you can add taco seasoning or bbq sauce or whatever marinade you want). Also, Kraft has these things called “Sizzling Salads” and it’s marinade + dressing that goes well with it. Good luck!

Maybe get a slowcooker? Throw things like, a can of broth, some meat, a can or two or three of beans, some veggies. . . then put on high for the day. Then you will have dinner and leftovers for lunch.
Breakfast-smoothies, uber-quick if you don’t clean up right away. Spinach (you CANNOT taste it), banana, milk, other fruit. Blend, pour, go.
I like toast and English muffins. Easy. Put in toaster, keep getting ready. Slather with jelly or butter or avocado or stuff.
Lunch: I also struggle with this. I also tend to pick food up instead of brown-bagging it. Sandwiches are the easiest, I think.I brought in the George Forman grill here to work because melty cheese is better than non-melty cheese. But easier yet, just slap deli meat and cheese on bread and eat. Yogurt & granola – no prep required.
Dinner – quesadillas. Non-stick pan, shredded cheese and whatever else. These also can be done for breakfast. You can use peanut butter and bananas. Or just peanut butter, chocolate chips, etc.
Spaghetti squash- prick the whole thing with a knife all over. Throw in oven at 375 for 1 hour- 1 hour 20 minutes. Then carefully cut in half and use a fork to pull out the meat. Then eat with meatballs and sauce.
I am emailing you some recipes.

stephanie says: January 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I am the worst with breakfast & lunch. I eat a lot of English Muffins, but dinner…Pinterest has completely changed my life. My husband & i used to arrive home from work & be completely shocked every night that we didn’t have anything for dinner. Ultimately, we’d end up going out. (It was like Groundhog’s Day, srsly.) Then I discovered the magic of Pinterest. Not going to lie…it’s a time suck, but it totally appeals to the type-A organizational wannabe in me. So many of the recipes are quick and easy. I’ve even become one of those people who plans ahead! (Feels so grown up!) It’s easy to get on one of my boards, pick a few things for the week, make a list and hit the store.

I’ll preface this by saying I’m vegan but don’t let that scare you because I EAT SO MUCH GOOD FOOD.

Breakfast: overnight oats (the only useful thing I ever got from some of those other healthy living blogs) or a protein smoothie. Cheap and on the go. Almond milk is your friend.

Lunch: I give myself two days a week to buy lunch but the other three are all me. Chopped salads taste SO much better, right? Make it at night, chop it all up teeny tiny (beans/tofu/other protein included), and leave a bottle of dressing at the office. Get a lunch bag that keeps things hot or cold. Canned soup (Trader Joe’s lentil veggie is my fave) in a container in the microwave is also a good idea. Leave some at work. With a can opener. This needs to be hearty filling soup – no 90 calorie bs.

Dinner: Burritos, burritos, burritos. Throw whatever you want/have in them. Cook a big batch of brown rice on Sunday and eat it all week. As long as my burritos have avocado on them I’m a happy girl. Stifry with frozen veggies are also good. Buy pre-made chinese stirfry sauce. It’s actually not bad for you when you only use a little bit. Throw baby spinach into everything you make for an easy veggie fix.

Have you looked at Real Simple Magazine’s dinner emergency series? (I think that’s what it’s called?) They have some great tips and quick, easy recipes.

I pack my breakfast and lunch the night before: usually breakfast is Greek yogurt with pumpkin or banana and cereal, or a whole wheat tortilla with PB and banana (doesn’t get much quicker than that—and sometimes I throw in chocolate chips. No judging). Lunch doesn’t get easier than a salad or sandwich—or leftovers from dinner!

Honestly, your best best for dinners are easy, one pot meals (do you guys have a slow cooker? Even better!) Chili, stir fries, etc. are all pretty healthy, easy, and quick!

Crack some eggs and bake them in a muffin tin (1 egg per muffin cup, 325 degrees) for breakfast– they fit perfectly on an English muffin, are portable, and freeze really well.

Lunch is usually leftover dinners. Or a hodge podge of veggies, turkey, hummus, and pita.

Dinners- big batches of freezable stuff is key (see above). Chicken/tofu stir fry, cook a bunch of hamburger or ground turkey and use it in chili one night, taco salad another, and on top of spaghetti squash and pasta sauce the next.

Breakfast: banana, greek yogurt, coffee

Dinner: A few favorites-
Panko Salmon. Dip salmon in beaten egg, roll in panko. Bake.

Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
http://www.eatliverun.com/tomato-and-feta-stuffed-chicken-breasts/

Chili Lime Drumsticks http://iowagirleats.com/2011/08/09/so-thats-how-you-cook-that/

Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes and Lentils
http://pinchofyum.com/creamy-thai-sweet-potatoes-and-lentil

Do you eat hard-boiled eggs? If so, awesome. Get a pot, throw in 4 eggs, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and let sit for 12 minutes, cool off in a bowl of ice water, stick in the fridge. In the morning, take an egg or two, peel, and smash on toast or crackers. Boom! Breakfast.

Lunch: I’ve gotten into buying those boxes of soup that are like one step up from plain broth (think: butternut squash soup, or tomato soup), spicing it up with some…spices at home, and portioning it into bowls I can heat up in the office microwave. Pair with some kind of wrap sandwich, which for some reason *feels* like it takes less time to make than a regular sandwich even though I’m quite sure that can’t be true.

Dinner: ummmm. you got me. chili? big pot of chili?

On sundays I cook most of my meals for the work week, so during the week I don’t have to do anything. I cut up all veggies for snacks, I make lunches (usually a quinoa mix, sometimes sandwiches) on Sunday evening and put them in individual containers, and i make dinners. There’s no way I would come home and cook dinner, but doing it this way I can eat healthy and delicious meals all week!

I love my crock pot. Taco soup is one of my favorite things to make. It’s easy, almost no work, and makes a big quantity. Make large quantities and freeze some for later! That also helps.

Meaghan S says: January 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I make a mean taco salad that never takes more than 30 minutes start to finish. Ground beef (or turkey) + taco seasoning + shredded cheese + lettuce, tomato, sour cream, whatever else you like. Eat with a fork, or with tortilla chips!!

Then you can pack for lunch tomorrow :)

Favorite breakfasts — half cup instant oatmeal- just add boiling water but then put on top a quick fried egg, salt and pepper and sprinkle with grated cheese. Takes five minutes and is incredible. Also recommend greek yogurt.
Favorite lunches — cottage cheese with veggies and black pepper and cut up fruit.
Best dinner — in a pot put four cups chicken stock (don’t even think about homemade!) Add drained can of chickpeas; can of diced tomatoes; tsp curry powder; meat from a rotisserie chicken and bring to boil and then simmer for 10 mins. Add in a pack of washed arugula and half a cup of couscous. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and enjoy. Plenty to bring for lunch the next day!

CROCKPOT. Adding to the chorus! There’s a great website called a year of slow cooking (she has a book, too, but the website is fine) and she tells you whether or not something is terrible. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

Also don’t think you have to eat strictly breakfasty food for breakfast – I sometimes eat leftovers once I get to work. I also keep a jar of almond butter in my desk and and a loaf of bread in the office freezer – emergency lunch sandwich if I forget to bring it.

For breakfast when I’m not feeling oatmeal I have cottage cheese with some twiggy-type cereal (granola, or kashi) on top. Container of cottage cheese = 2 or 3 breakfasts.

I also just got a little whiteboard, and on Sundays I take a look at my schedule and what’s in the fridge, and sketch out what I’m going to eat for lunch and dinner Mon-Fri. Makes me feel a lot more prepared and I can realize if I’ve bought too much food, or if I need to cook something, or realize that I have meetings 3 days at lunch and don’t need to worry about bringing lunch from home.

Wish I could contribute here, but I’m the asshole who’s all omg i need to try nutritional yeast (i have a b12 deficiency, i swear!) and actually enjoys eating salads. I don’t know what’s wrong with me; I think a childhood of steak steak steak chocolate and steak finally got old. Not the chocolate part though.

Your quinoa dish looked great though — why not try making more of it early in the week, and bringing it in Tupperware along with a pita pocket? Other go-to’s — I heart cereal for breakfast. I keep a box in the office. It’s cheap and easy and crunchy. It’s especially yummy when you get cereal with marshmallows. Or I put different things in my oatmeal, like syrup (which kind of tastes like pancakes and makes you feel like Elf) or frozen berries, which is somewhat dessert-y.

i eat a variant of the same things for breakfast and lunch every day and don’t really get bored because my dinners are pretty awesome/i eat out a lot. it’s nice to have some boring healthy stuff thrown in.

i pack ziplocks with veggies for every day as a snack or to go with my sandwich – chopped up carrots, celery and bell peppers. that way if i don’t eat any green stuff at dinner at least i had some throughout the day.

for dinner, if i’m feeling industrious and i’ve appropriately prepared for the week, i’ll do something simple with chicken/chicken breasts. or my version of turkey meatballs which i’m sure aren’t legit enough for brian’s tastes ;) roasting a chicken for the week (er, for 1 1/2 nights if you’re hungry like us) is a nice way to be fancy without a whole lot of effort, and for the side i like doing something fun with greens and make a salad from home actually taste good – cheese or avocado, a homemade dressing that takes two seconds or just olive oil. also, there is no such thing as too many roasted brussels sprouts. or i’d like to believe that. left on my own, i make a lot of fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.

orrr i’m eating out/ordering in 2/3 of the week and not cooking at all. HEALTHY LIVING.

ps i never was a food blogger ever #proof

My go-to sites are http://www.smittenkitchen.com and http://www.dinneralovestory.com. Iowa Girl Eats is great also. Try Ina Garten (Foolproof or Everyday Recipes…) or a subscription to Cooking Light. I like to get cookbooks from the library just to browse.

Eating shouldn’t be a chore, and it really is so much more pleasurable when you have a good variety of foods. I’m glad you are open to trying new things! A great on the go breakfast would be overnight oats in a jar. Simply combine 1/4 cup quick oats, 1/3 cup milk of choice, 1/4 cup of yogurt, 1 1/2 tsp of chia seeds (now you know what to do with them!), 1/4 tsp vanilla, and a 1/3 cup of frozen berries in a mason jar or another portable container, put lid on and shake until ingredients are combined. Put in fridge overnight and you are ready to go in the morning. Here is a recipe for mango raspberry overnight oats:
http://justwaterplease.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/cold-oatmeal-is-the-new-warm-oatmeal/
And as far as lunch and dinner goes, I love making my own pizzas. I buy a pre made crust and put whatever toppings on it that I want and it can be a quick and easy meal! I made this Thai Peanut Pizza the other day that was delicious:
https://justwaterplease.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/thai-peanut-pizza/

As an actual non-cooker (your “lazy vegetables” are something I could not produce if my life depended on it, and I have never cooked fish), I would say to be a bit less ambitious, at least on a daily basis.

I cannot imagine cooking anything (even a 30-second egg dish) for breakfast, but you might get more mileage out of your morning bar if you made it some variety of Luna/Kashi/ something else with protein.

I usually just eat whatever is available for free at the office (soup, cereal, tuna snack packs, or peanut butter and crackers) for lunch, so I can offer no advice there aside from getting your office to provide food.

For dinner, I’m a big fan of the rice cooker. I guess it’s like a slow cooker, but way simpler and not so slow. You put in your rice and your water, go do something for an hour or so, and at some point it turns itself off and you have rice. Mix with veggies (I’m a big fan of Green Giant frozen veggie mixes) and/or chopped up meat (or Smart Dogs) and/or cheese.

I just reread that and realized how pathetic it sounds. Apparently I chop up meat-substitute sausages and mix them with rice, and I think this is dinner. And my boyfriend can’t cook either.

Have a food drawer (or keep some stuff in the fridge/pantry) in the office – it works wonders! I usually stock up once a week with bread, crackers, fruits, snacks etc.

Breakfast: toast or crackers with PB
Lunch: how about going back to making your own sandwiches?
Dinner: crockpot stuff – stews are good

Breakfast – have you heard of overnight oats? You can prep the stuff the night before (2 mins max) then it’s ready in the morning. Make it in a mason jar if you want to carry it to work!

Lunch – Have you tried hummus and veggies on thick-cut multigrain or whole wheat bread (the type you have to cut yourself)? You can throw in some turkey or cheese, too.

Dinner – I love roasting vegetables! Turn oven on broil, toss chopped veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast for 10 minutes for crunchy deliciousness (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans are all favorites of mine).

Ali! Maybe try a sandwich for breakfast with a piece of fruit? You can make it the night before (PB + honey or banana, cream cheese + jelly).

For dinner I’ve been making big batches of soups and stews that last for a couple of days and are just as delicious heated up with a little cheese (of course). Super easy and you can make a ton of different combinations.

For lunch? Hmmm…. maybe make that your one $$ splurge of the day? The salads sound pretty good. hehe.

Spaghetti squash is delicious! It does not, however, taste like pasta. Haha. I’m happy to give you a few of my recipes if you want! It’s great as leftovers for lunch!

I have the same problem and haven’t found the best solution, other than cooking lunch for the week on Sundays. And buying the ingredients I actually want on my salad. (I love those salad places too so I try to recreate them at home…never works. For some reason I’ll never actually buy the stuff I want. I’ll buy the type of toppings I ‘should’ eat, and then end up not eating the salad because of it. Surprise surprise!

I literally do not have a single second to spare in the morning either…sometimes I don’t even bring my lunch because I dont have 5 seconds to run upstairs. Sad! So I’ll leave yogurt in the refrigerator at work, or oatmeal/fruit etc. Actually I just started doing this yesterday haha I’ll let you know how it goes.

Also, I cannot get the bagel bites song out of my head now.

Breakfast—Starbucks whole wheat muffin with egg whites and turkey sausage…..You live in NYC there are a million Starbucks! Quick, simple, relatively healthy and not too pricey. They have even healthier options as well.

Pinterest is your best friend.
Also, crockpots!
And finally there is Jessica at How Sweet It Is, howsweeteats.com. she has amazing recipes, and most are pretty simple. My favorite of hers ist Thai Chicken Enchiladas. They are pretty easy too. Be careful, because she also posts some to die for desserts.

Healthytippingpoint.com check out her recipe’s!

Breakfast – Stock your work fridge with Stonyfield yogurts and top w/ granola. Or if you have a toaster try english muffin w/ cheese toasted. Lara Uber bars are super yum and filling. I always have a box of those in my desk.
Lunch – On Sundays I usually mix up a quinoa, cous cous or pasta salad. Then you can throw on some chicken or salmon leftover from the previous night’s dinner or just eat w/ raw vegges. I love brown rice cakes w/ peanut butter. Veggies w/ hummus. Babybel cheese w/ Triscuits. Turkey roll up.
Dinner – Quesadillas – Trader Joes has amazing whole wheat tortillas. Super easy pasta dinner – bow tie pasta cooked up, top with raw chopped tomatoes, arugula, pine nuts or sunflower seeds and parm. We drizzle w/ balsamic and/or olive oil and you can add chicken, salmon, shrimp or anything to fancy it up. It ends up being more like a salad but you still have the good pasta and cheese in there :)
Freeze ahead ideas – Meatloaf and bake in muffin tins so portions are single serve when you go to reheat. Muffins – I usually double or triple a batch and those make great fast bfast or snacks.
Good luck and let us know what you are trying that is working!!

I think it’s been said many times already, but the slow cooker is great for dinner. You can prep everything the night before and then the morning of, take it out of the fridge and turn on the thing. 8-10 hours later and you’ve got dinner. If you’re out of the apt longer than that, you can get self-timing ones, I think. I’ve cooked pieces of beef, pork, etc in there and even though I don’t really know what I’m doing with meat…it’s hard to screw up. You can also make soups, stews, and chilies which are nice when it’s so cold. As for the $9 salad….girl, I hear you. It’s something that I still struggle with. Whenever I bring my lunch, I get cranky and resentful because I want to go to Just Salad or Chop’t or the office cafeteria and get something EXCITING (even if exciting means goat cheese). Anyway, I’ve pretty much just accepted that buying lunch makes me happy and the $9/day is worth it. I try not to think about how much I’m spending a week/month/year and I also try really really really hard to bring my breakfast every day (yogurt, apple, granola bar) and not order in/go out for dinner during the week. I figure that kind of balances it out. Sort of.

Elizabeth says: January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I don’t eat breakfast at home either. I’m a big fan of keeping some cinnamon raisin bread and a jar of peanut butter at work. That’s breakfast (and sometimes lunch) also love hard boiled eggs. String cheese. Mini hummus cups, And for dinner I’m really good at making a lot of rice, and a lot of chicken at the beginning of the week, and then putting a different sauce on it each night of the week for “variety” (thanks trader Joe’s) The slow cooker is good too. But mine is from 1972 and will probably be the death of me.

Frogoutofwater says: January 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I’m boring. I often eat the same or similar things for breakfast and lunch on weekdays (more variety with dinners and on weekends).

For me, the trick is to spend a little time on the weekend prepping a few things for weekday meals. I’ll make a batch of breakfast frittatas every other week and usually do one large batch cooking session once a week to make a weekend dinner that also provides leftovers for a dinner during the week and either some frozen leftovers for office lunches or weekday dinners. Takes about an hour, max.

Weekday Breakfast – either:
- Nature’s Path cereal (high protein/high fiber/Omega 3s and surprisingly tasty) – I keep a box at home and a box at the office (will it eat it at my desk for breakfast or for a snack)
- Mini-frittatas (made ahead on weekend): a few whole eggs, some egg white, assorted veggies, herbs and garlic, maybe some salsa or pesto. Bake in muffin cups. Reheat in microwave (1 minute).
- You could also make egg burritos in a batch for reheating in the morning.

Lunch:
- Salad from well-stocked office salad bar (also spendy although not as expensive as your $9 salad). I figure the expense is worth it a few days a week because I get a big dose of veggies.
- Reheated frozen leftovers from batch cooking (chili, Thai chicken with rice, pasta, stew). I am guilty of tossing out the containers instead of washing and recycling them, but the meals are still cheap.
- FreshDirect pizza that I supplement with veggie toppings (not cheaper than buying a slice but better for me).
- Fast food indulgence: Chipotle burrito bowls

I also stock my office once a week with fresh fruit and yogurt (we have a large fridge where we can keep things for a week), so I snack on that stuff. Plus the Take 5 mini chocolate bars that my colleague next door buys in bulk :)

Herbed Chicken Roll-Ups with Dijon and Mozzarella
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Scramble subscriber Gretchen Douglas of Marietta, Georgia, shared this recipe with me recently. After 12 years of developing recipes I’m always delighted when someone sends me a recipe like this one that is unlike any other meal I’ve made. I’m pretty confident your family will love it as much as Gretchen’s and mine do. Serve it with buckwheat (kasha), and with kale with garlic and onions.

Ingredients for main dish

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs, or mix plain bread crumbs with 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning and a little salt and pepper
1 – 1 1/2 lb. pork, turkey or chicken cutlets (thinly sliced meat)
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning blend, or use a mixture of oregano, thyme, dried basil and dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, or use Swiss, Jarlsburg, or your favorite cheese
4 – 8 toothpicks
Changes:
I used: Panko and sprinkled Italian herbs on top, thin pork chops, Koops Arizona Heat instead of Dijon, instead of mozz I used mexican blend

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a wide microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and the oil and heat it in the microwave until the butter is melted. Put the bread crumbs on a small shallow plate.

Lay the cutlets on a cutting board. Put the mustard in a small bowl, and using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, spread the mustard evenly on the top side of each piece of meat. Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper evenly over the mustard, and sprinkle about 1 Tbsp. cheese on top. Roll up each cutlet and secure it with 1 or 2 toothpicks.

Dip each roll into the butter-oil mixture, then into the bread crumbs to coat it. Set the rolls on a baking sheet or dish, drizzle them with any remaining butter and oil, and spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray (use butter flavor, if you have it). Bake them for about 30 minutes until they are cooked through and lightly browned on the outsides. (Meanwhile, prepare the buckwheat and the kale, if you are serving them.) Serve it immediately.

I made this last night. YUM YUM YUM. It was very easy and turned out juicy and tender. Usually I am not a fan of pork. This was perfect and I didn’t want to stop eating. I used 10 pork chops. Now we all have left overs for today!

I make salads at home but they never look as yummy as the $9 salad or the $2 pizza slice.

I eat toast for breakfast and cookies so I’m the worst.

I found that adding quinoa to anything automatically makes it trendy and healthy.

also now all i want is a cupcake!

I’m sure you saw Seamless’s 15% off discount, so I’ll see ya there!

I love leftovers for lunch. I always make it a point to cook extra at dinner just to have leftovers. Breakfast I always have an apple or banana with some kind of carb and protein. It helps to do as much prep as possible the night before. Dinners I plan out the beginning of the week. It’s easier for me mentally to know what I need to do as soon as I get home rather than staring at the fridge in frustration and then ordering Korean take out.

My opinion is this: You need a hell of a lot more protein than you’re giving yourself.

To save money on that 9 buck salad – get yourself a big-ass Tupperware container, put a bag of greens in it, put some other veggies in there, loosen up a can of tuna and dump that in there, add a little oil and vinegar – BOOM – lunch. Alternate that tuna with some other protein source like turkey or hard-boiled egg or chicken. Vary the dressing. Take the time to make it the way you want it. Stop seeing it as a total pain in the ass. Give it your love and attention. Then when you eat it, it will make you happy – YOU will have become the salad people.

You need to lose the fucking cereal bar for breakfast. That shit is NOT fueling you. Again, protein is your answer.

I know it’s hard. But YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Love your blog! I’m planning on trying out the first two recipes posted here, http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/easy-one-pot-postrun-meals ,and then reviewing them on my very young blog. They look pretty quick and easy and might make good leftovers for lunches. Good luck in your kitchen adventures!

Hey Ali,

I have run into some of the same problems, especially with the portable and filling breakfasts. I’m a nurse practitioner and need to be in rounds by 6:30 in the morning. I started buying grab the gold bars online on the recommendation of a coworker. Basically, they taste like an undercooked oatmeal, chocolate chip peanut butter cookie (amazing) and they are in fact truly healthful and full of protein. I have at least one a day. Only downer is you need to order them online because they are only sold in Tennessee. Grabthegold.com

Hope that helps! They have been a life saver

Tina’s blog, Carrots n’ Cake, has saved my meals! Such great, SIMPLE, yummy ideas! Also, hard boil some eggs each week and eat those on the go with you in the morning. Or make a smoothie at night, refrigerate it, and grab it in the morning!

Butternut squash soup is currently my favourite thing, okay really it’s because my body hates real food right now. The box varieties are boring so I make my own. My recipe isn’t very precise, I kind of just wing it.

Saute a few cloves of garlic and an onion in butter in a large soup pot
Peel and cut one whole butternut squash and add to pot
Add 1 litre of chicken stock
cook until squash is soft
mash squash
Use immersion blender to blend until smooth
Add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg to taste

Serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt.

Yummy

Best advice I have: Roast a chicken. Every week. On Sunday or Monday, preferably. It’s easy. OK, maybe it’s a *tiny* bit pesky the first two times, but after that, it’s very simple:

1. Mix up ~ 2 Tbsp salt + 1/2 Tbsp pepper (adjust to your preference)
2. Unpack chicken.
3. Cut off head & feet (d’oh – you don’t live in Asia, so that part has probably already been done for you – skip this step! Whooot!).
4. Rinse.
5. Pat dry with paper towels.
6. Smoosh salt & pepper mixture all over outside of chicken, so it form a crust.
7. Squeeze half a lemon inside the cavity (or don’t, up to you) – you can even stick the whole lemon in there.
8. Bake at 425 for ~ 60 min.
9. Let sit 15 min.
10. Let almost-chef boyfriend carve.

You’ll have at least enough for 2 meals (legs and breasts) for 2 people – more if you don’t eat much meat. We’ll eat the chicken freshly cooked the first day (with starch + veggie, simply prepared), then use the leftover for sandwiches, or casseroles, or straight, or whatever for 1-2 more nights that week. I usually find that, once I have a place to start (“shredded chicken breast meat”), figuring out the details is much easier.

If you establish this habit – you can later add “turn carcass into soup”, and you’ve got another meal. :)

My 11 month old has oatmeal every morning for breakfast. Real oatmeal though, not the baby ones. I’ll make up mashed potatoes and carrots for lunches or dinners, cous cous, speghetti. She loves taking bits of chicken off her try to eat them. For snacks she will have unsweetend fruit cups, yogurt, rice crispies off her tray or those little freeze dried friut snacks. Best thing to do would be to get a food mill (if you don’t already have one). That way you can grind up whatever you are eating for lunch or dinner and give it to them!

Wow, you get a lot of comments on your blog but surprisingly, I’m not sure I saw any that mentioned my favorite tricks.

I do love oatmeal but I add ricotta cheese into my oatmeal to increase protein content. It makes the oatmeal creamy and then I add whatever I want that day (dried strawberries/raisins, fresh fruits etc.) I’m also a proponent of cottage cheese/ricotta cheese in my pancakes (when there’s time).

For lunch, if you make sandwiches, add hummus as your spread instead of mustard or mayo. Ups the fat content to increase satiety (avocado works too but those things go bad so quickly and hummus can be snacked on w/baby carrots at a later date).

For dinner, you definitely got enough slow cooker responses that I echo. It is the lazy person’s gourmet answer to meals.

One of my favorite snacks is roasted garbanzo beans but given your Crohn’s, I’m not sure what your bean/legume tolerance levels are.

I’m in the process of creating a handout for Fit Moms regarding healthy snacks. Once I’m done, I’ll send you a copy.

I don’t blame you. I hear NYC grocery stores are scary places. That being said, our meals are pretty plain ole jane. For lunch, I often bring a PB&J with a side salad I throw together or an appetizer lunch (string cheese, apple, nuts, crackers, that sort of thing). For dinner, we often make simple spaghetti with veggie filled sauce (onion, bell pepper, mushroom, etc). I also like making rice and bean bowls or pulling out the crockpot during the winter and throwing in some meat, veggies and spices to slow cook all day. Good luck, girl!

I’ve been loving this make ahead oatmeal recipe:
Place 1/2 c dry oats in a mason jar. I add one tsp brown sugar and sprinkle of cinnamon. Barely cover oats with milk or almond milk. Top with mixed frozen berries. Refrigerate overnight and top with chopped almonds before eating. When I forget to make this ahead it is just as good when made just before eating.

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