Ready to swap drive-through fast food for healthy microwavable meals that cost just as little but pack tons of good-for-you nutrients? After all, you’re a man and need legitimate fuel to keep doing manly things, like fighting off bears.
We’re not talking about ultra-light TV dinners that taste like cardboard and are about as filling as a jelly bean, but rather savory and rich options that are substantial, yet won’t make you so full you feel like shit and puke during your workout.
From a 60-second black bean and rice bowl to guilt-free mac and cheese, try these healthiest microwavable meals to feel strong and save time and money.
Sweet Earth Protein Lover’s Breakfast Burrito – $3
What guy isn’t drawn to a package marked with the word “protein”? The problem is, a lot of protein-packed meals are high-calorie and low in nutrients. In the case of Sweet Earth’s breakfast burrito, the claims are backed up by 20 grams of protein, high vitamin C, 5 grams of fiber, and a modest 280 calories in the form of egg, cheese, and bacon … only without the actual meat. Vegetarian and delicious (yes, we said it), each burrito contains egg whites, quinoa, cheddar cheese, and the meatless benevolent bacon, plus savory grounds.
Luvo Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Flash-frozen, the vegetables in Luvo’s whole-food meals pack tons of nutrients and flavor while still being full of fiber and protein. All in all, these meals a healthy yet satisfying response to microwave dinners. Take Luvo’s Mac and Cheese, which is made with brown rice pasta, antioxidant-rich cauliflower, and flavorful cheese (and we’re only talking 340 calories). After all, the more satisfying our “healthy” meals are, the easier it is to stay on track.
Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl
Plant-based protein and 100% vegan, it takes a crazy-quick 60 seconds to microwave this substantial and delish Loma Linda bag for an easy Southwest dish containing black beans, rice, veggies, and plant-based steak. This faux steak tastes juicier than microwaved real steak. The meal is gluten-free, non-GMO, and 260 calories per bag — less than a Chipotle bowl and better for you both portion-wise and in terms of calories.
Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai
Don’t be fooled by the cheap plastic bowl. The Vegetable Pad Thai from Saffron Road is full of flavor, packed with great ingredients, and so easy to make. A nutty and savory Thai peanut sauce mixes with firm tofu, carrots, scallions, and peanuts on top of rice noodles. One bowl is 410 calories but remember, you’re eating noodles and everything is certified gluten-free. You’ll get a little protein boost of 15 grams and a quarter of your daily sodium to power-up a sweaty workout.
Healthy Choice Italian Chicken Sausage and Peppers Power Bowl
The first ingredient of this Power Bowl by Healthy Choice is cooked Italian chicken sausage, so you know it’s clean, mean, and legit. (Yes, real meat this time!) Roasted bell peppers join the mix along with brown and red rice, red quinoa, black barley, and a dash of sauce and Parmesan. We’re happy to report this meal costs less than an iced latte and is under 300 calories (290) with 16 grams protein and 6 grams fiber. Bonus: The bowl is biodegradable.
Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup – $2
The single-serve, 8-fluid-ounce container of Pacific Foods Tomato Soup is the perfect response to eating a higher number of smaller meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism firing. Only 110 calories of rich organic milk and tomatoes with garlic and onion make this healthy soup soul-filling and satiating. In fact, try swapping your late-afternoon sugary coffee for this soup and see a few unyielding pounds drop.
Amy’s Kitchen Swedish Meatballs – $4
We steer clear of frozen meals claiming to be healthier because they’re often made with phony ingredients and contain too few calories to be sustaining. But one member of the “Light and Lean” category of Amy’s Kitchen meals we wholeheartedly approve of is the Swedish Meatballs. Your taste buds will have absolutely no idea you’re eating “lighter” because this quick-fix meal is mind-bendingly rich. You also wouldn’t know the Swedish meatballs are meatless, made with organic quinoa, lentils, tofu, and flax seed. Adding healthy carbs to the mix, the meatballs are served over thick fettuccine noodles and topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. Made without tree nuts for those with allergies, the total calorie count is 260 — on the low side, but the dish crushes cravings.
Morning Star Buffalo Veggie Wings
Damn it, sometimes we need chicken nuggets and/or buffalo wings! The Buffalo Veggie Wings by Morning Star are stupidly simple to microwave, crispy, and breaded, with 13 grams protein and a kick of spice. Best of all, they let us indulge a little without throwing our diets off wack since five wings are only 200 calories and contain 56% less fat than ordinary chicken wings.