“I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”
Ah, fish and steamed veggies for lunch again! You put it in the microwave, heat it to lukewarm, and watch your co-workers put on their masks. One poor woman wretches in her trash can. Food smells at work are a big deal because they can irritate everyone and increase tensions and block your chances for developing authentic relationships. Planning and making your own lunch the night before can also help to reduce stress. Before we list digital resources, there are a few principles that are helpful to follow.
Eat minimally processed and higher quality foods. “Higher quality foods” does not necessarily mean “spending more money.” Find recipes that help you save time and money. Balance protein, carbs and fats, unless you are on the Tapeworm Diet. You can eat anything with a hungry worm in your intestines. Make sure your portion sizes track with your health goals. Always start with small changes and eat what you like! Drink more water, too. I lean toward plant-based recipes. You will live longer.
The Minimalist Baker. 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, 30 minutes of less to prepare. Do you like simple food that tastes good? Start here. Most of these recipes are plant-based. Throw in some chicken or tofu if you need more protein. Enough said.
Allrecipes. Scroll through the tab “Quick and Easy Recipes.” There are hundreds of recipes for 15-, 30- and 45-minute meals. This website has mostly everyday foods like burgers, pasta, stir-fries, etc. It also has an app for both Andriod and iPhone called Allrecipes Dinner Spinner. I haven’t tried the app yet myself. Or any food app, really.
The Food Network. Search for “Healthy Lunch Recipes” and you will find a ton of ideas. Warning: if you watch one of their many shows there is no going back. I am afraid that I will binge them and forget to eat myself. Also, the shows that involve kids are the most intense and may make you cry at the joy and beauty of children encouraging each other to do their best. And the grandmas…
Kitchn. Click on “Meals” and then “More” and then “Quick.” Fewer recipes than other websites but I just like what they have. There are also cooking lessons and product reviews. You can also look at artful designs and ways to renovate your kitchen. I have dreams, too.
Food. Not the most original name for a website but if you go to the search box “I Want To Make…” and enter “Quick,” you will find over 2,500 results. I also like the search filters, which I haven’t seen anywhere else, like “For 2,” “Quiche” and “With Sauce.” At the top there are tabs for each Holiday. Bring a “Char-Boo-Terie Board” next month for Halloween and watch your co-workers start to nod at you with respect. They still need to do something about the name “Food,” though.
Tasty. This website is all about videos. “Prep Smart, Save More, Stress Less.” Click on “Work Lunches” and you will find lots of options that aren’t salad. I find recipes for things I’ve never even heard of like Muffuletta Sandwiches and Veggie Nori Wraps. (Don’t judge my Montanan taste buds.) I also love that it has free meal plans on a tight budget. $40-$50 a week, for example. Yup, “Easy Meal Prep” under “Tips and Tricks” is where we should start. Still eat salads, though.
Yummly. With over 2 million recipes and 23 million users, you can definitely find something new to eat. It has won lots of awards, an app and pretty cool pictures. Basically, I look at any recipe with the word “Easy.” I’m also a bit of a hipster and I avoid anything this mainstream. I haven’t come across any websites that encourage the reuse of food or what to wear when you are reusing food or what music to listen to.
Damndelicious. Ok, yes. The title alone sold me. This team focuses on videos for quick and easy meals. They may even convince you that you can make lunches completely from scratch without the fire department making a visit. Click on “Browse Recipes” and then “quick & easy” and you will discover some… damn delicious stuff. Heh heh.
Delish. Click on the side tab “Meals & Cooking” and select “Under 30 Minutes.” I’m not a foodie. I just want to eat a variety of protein sources or add a ton of protein powder to cereals and get swole so my partner loves me a bit more. (Partly kidding.) For anyone who loves to cook and get fancy-schmancy, the team behind this website are your fancy-schmancy people.
Chowhound. Like Damndelicious, the name caught my attention. It can be a little more difficult to find quick recipe results but from the home page use the search bar and enter “quick.” You can find recipes, articles and many discussions. Food.com could learn a lot about how to brand from this team.
Epicurious. This website features quality recipes over quantity. You refine your search by selecting “Dietary Concerns” first. Categories include “Vegetarian,” “Kid-Friendly,” “Healthy,” “Gluten-Free,” “Low Fat/No Sugar” and, you guessed it, “Quick and Easy.” I also like the ancient Greek reference to Epicurus, who would tell you to choose meals that don’t cause physical pain or mental disturbances. That’s just good advice.
What if you just don’t like websites and you still like to hold books in your hands? Go to your local used bookstore and I promise you will find something surprising. Recipes for when you are traveling by horseback. Jungle themes. Cicadas, rattlesnake and cactus. All these, I’ve seen. You may even meet someone else in the Cookbook aisle and become fast friends and bounce ideas off each other. Or invite a co-worker to explore with you. You don’t have to do anything by yourself.
Warning: Be sure to check the sodium levels of all these quick and easy meals. Adding a lot of salt is a trick to make simple recipes taste better.