Many people have way too many things to juggle in the middle of the day to be able to whip up a from-scratch balanced, healthy, and satisfying lunch. Sure, it would be nice if people could chop, cook, and serve nutrient-dense dishes once their lunch hour hits, but the reality is that most of us simply don’t have the time or in some cases, even the desire. When you don’t have time to prep everything from scratch in the middle of the day, eating lunch may seem like less of a priority, but the only way to sustain your momentum and remain productive is to keep your body well-fueled throughout the day. That’s why stocking up on easy pre-made lunches at the grocery store can sometimes be a lifesaver. However, with all the unhealthy options out there, you’re probably wondering which easy, pre-made lunches do not sacrifice quality ingredients in the interest of convenience.
As a dietitian who works from home and is trying to balance everything—like meeting deadlines, managing household tasks, and attempting to have a semblance of a social life—I am guilty of not prioritizing creating homemade healthy lunches for myself. But instead of skipping my midday meal or noshing on unsatisfying snacks to fill my belly, I keep my kitchen stocked with some solutions that are made with quality ingredients and are ready to be enjoyed in minutes or ASAP, depending on which I choose on a particular day.
Here are 7 quality meals and pantry items that are on my grocery rotation, which help me actually eat a balanced and healthy meal in the middle of the day with very little effort. And for more healthy eating ideas to inspire your lunch preparations, be sure to also check out 21 Easy Lunch Ideas Made With 3 Ingredients or Less.
This charcuterie plate is an easy grab-and-go option that requires absolutely zero thought. Made with uncured Genoa salami, cheddar cheese, roasted and salted almonds, and dark chocolate chunks, this plate is an easy pre-made lunch nosh to enjoy during a busy workday. I pair this with a handful of fresh berries and some veggie sticks with a light dip for a balanced meal when I feel more like a snack then a heavy dish. The meat has no antibiotics ever and no GMO ingredients, was Applegate Humanely Raised, and everything included is gluten-free.
These frozen egg bites are a microwavable solution for getting high quality protein on my plate in a short amount of time. Made with Eggland’s Best eggs, which have six times more vitamin D, 25% less saturated fat, and 10 times more vitamin E compared to ordinary eggs, these bites can be popped in the microwave for a delicious and satisfying addition to a balanced meal. I pair these Bacon & Three Cheese Frozen Egg Bites with a bagged salad and a piece of fruit for a wholesome lunch that helps keep my energy up throughout the day. You can find these egg bites in your grocer’s freezer!
Sometimes, a pizza craving just won’t go away in the middle of the day. But instead of ordering pizza delivery, which can be pricy and not the most nutritious choice, having Milton’s Craft Bakers Cauliflower Crust Pizza on-hand allows for me to get my pizza fix—but with an added boost of cauliflower and fiber. The crust is certified gluten-free, and the ingredients—like real dairy cheese and tomato sauce—makes for a super high-quality frozen pizza option that is perfectly crispy and flavorful.
For a light meal, this frozen pre-made acai bowl topped with nut butter and chia seeds from Tattooed Chef makes for a nutrient-packed lunch that is made with quality ingredients, like organic fruit. This acai bowl comes with small packages of granola and coconut chips, too.
While it is true that whipping up a salad isn’t extremely time-consuming or challenging to do, it sure does make eating a salad a lot easier when you have one already made and ready to eat. Taylor Farms Everything Avocado Salad is packed with quality ingredients like lettuce, hard-boiled egg, cheese, everything seasoning, and an avocado dressing. I pair this salad with a bowl of soup for a satisfying and simple meal.
It doesn’t get any easier than opening a can of this chili and heating it in the microwave for a stick-to-your-ribs meal with a whopping 9 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber per cup.
Think of these as an elevated microwavable cup of mac and cheese. ZenB Pasta Agile Bowls are made with yellow pea pasta and tons of quality ingredients to create a variety of pasta dishes that are ready in three minutes. With 14 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber, and high quality finishing oil, this plant-based pasta cup is surprisingly filling and totally delicious. With a side salad and fresh fruit for dessert, this microwavable pasta bowl is always on my quick meal rotation.