Food Finds That Save You Meal Prep Time

Jul 12 2017
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm trying to prepare healthy meals on a regular basis, but I'm always strapped for time. Are there any products you can recommend to cut down the time spent preparing my meals?

Never Enough Time
Answer@2x Hi Never Enough Time,

Lack of time is probably one of the most common reasons that people don't cook healthy food on a regular basis. But eating smart doesn't have to eat into your busy schedule. I've found lots of shortcuts for veggies, meat, and more! Check 'em out, and savor those extra minutes of "you time"...

Green Giant Frozen Riced Veggies

1 cup: 20 - 50 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat fat), 15 - 25mg sodium, 4 - 11g carbs, 2g fiber, 2 - 3g sugars, 2g protein -- SmartPoints® value 0 - 2*

Cauliflower rice is an amazing swap, but it can also be a lot of work. That's why Green Giant's freezer-aisle riced veggies are such a game changer! My favorites in the lineup are the classic Cauliflower and the Cauliflower Medley. Use the medley to make super-easy Cauliflower Fried Rice, and use the regular cauli' rice in other HG recipes. Or just pair any variety with lean protein for the easiest meal ever.

Fully cooked chicken sausage (with 8g fat or less per serving)

One 3-oz. link, average: 145 calories, 7g total fat (2.5g sat fat), 510mg sodium, 2g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 0.5g sugars, 15.5g protein -- SmartPoints® value 4*

Heat 'n eat chicken sausage is such a smart protein to keep in your fridge or freezer. Slice it into coins, and quickly brown in a skillet along with some veggies. Or save time washing dishes with this chicken sausage foil pack! Here are some more great recipes worth whipping up. My go-to brands of chicken sausage are Al Fresco, Applegate, and Trader Joe's. Not a fan of sausage? Look for fully cooked chicken breast, chicken meatballs, and meatless meatballs.

StarKist Tuna Creations (classic varieties)

One 2.6-oz. pouch: 80 - 110 calories, 0.5 - 4g total fat (0 - 0.5g sat fat), 340 - 390mg sodium, 0 - 4g carbs, 0 - 1g fiber, 0 - 3.5g sugars, 14 - 19g protein -- SmartPoints® value 1 - 2*

Tuna salad doesn't require any actual cooking, but it can still be a pain to make: flaking canned tuna, adding condiments and other mix-ins, getting the flavor balance just right... Luckily, we have these pre-seasoned, portion-controlled pouches! The Sweet & Spicy is my favorite, but I'm also loving the Thai Chili Style in the new Bold lineup. Add these to green salads, toasty sandwiches, veggie bowls, and more. StarKist makes plain albacore pouches too; those are perfect for recipes.

Fat-free liquid egg substitute/liquid egg whites

1/4 cup: 30 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat fat), 110mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0.5g sugars, 6.5g protein -- SmartPoints® value 0*

Cracking eggs is messy; separating egg whites is even worse. Save your counter from a slippery mess, and grab a carton of egg substitute or egg whites. This stuff is ideal for last-minute breakfasts like egg mugs and omelettes. And who says you can't have eggs for dinner? Check out this Steak 'n Eggs Stir-Fry!

Lean turkey patties (fresh or frozen)

One 4-oz. patty, average: 170 calories, 9g total fat (2.5g sat fat), 100 - 490mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 20.5g protein -- SmartPoints® value 4*

Okay, you still have to cook these, but you can forget about handling ground meat! Let these pre-formed patties do the work for you. Jennie-O makes seasoned varieties (note the frozen ones are larger), but you could also sprinkle on your favorite spices before cooking the plain patties. And a burger bun isn't your only option. Chop up a patty, and add it to your salad or stir-fry. Vegetarians: Boca, Amy's, and MorningStar Farms all make excellent meatless burger-style patties.

Steam-in-the-bag veggies

nutritional info varies

Cleaning up after a meal is half the battle... That's why veggies that can be nuked in their package are so fantastic! You can find these in the freezer aisle and the fresh produce section. And there are so many options! Try stir-fry mixes for a quick Asian-inspired meal. Or go with petite mixed veggies for a comfort-food feel... This recipe has just three ingredients and is ready in 10 minutes! Some steamable vegetables come already seasoned or sauced. Read the label carefully, so you know what you're getting into.
There you have it! P.S. Please enjoy these 144 recipes that are ready in 30 minutes or less.

Chew on this:

Today, July 12th, is National Pecan Pie Day. How cute are these itty-bitty Crispy Pecan Pie Bites!? Only 35 calories each...

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SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.