Generic filters

Ready to change your life?Start Now! Contact Us

Healthy Convenience Foods that Require No Cooking or Prep Time

October 21, 2021

By Kira Jennings, MS and Christine Tenekjian, MPH, RDN/LDN, NBC-HWC

In our ever-changing world, many of us are struggling with our lives getting increasingly busy again. We are always seeking foods that are convenient and require little to no cooking/prep time. There are plenty of food options that are nutritious and able to contribute to balanced meals for these lifestyles.

To have a healthy convenient meal, we must start with a balanced plate. Putting together a meal in a hurry can be stressful but if you can combine a simple protein, some vegetables, and a healthy carbohydrate food (e.g. fruits, whole grains), your healthy meal will be complete within minutes.

To have a healthy convenient meal, we must start with a balanced plate.

Down below we share ideas for each food group and their corresponding meal ideas:

Food Group Examples


  • Canned tuna or salmon, tuna/salmon/chicken pouches (e.g. Starkist Creations)
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • String cheese or Babybel cheese
  • Frozen turkey burgers, frozen veggie burgers (e.g. Beyond meat)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Frozen cooked shrimp, or seasoned fish fillets
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut butter powder
  • Canned beans
  • Cooked lentil pouches
  • Frozen egg bites (Egglands Best, Organic Valley, Life Cuisine)


  • Bag spinach or other greens
  • Sliced vegetables or vegetable tray
  • Bag broccoli & cauliflower mix or broccoli slaw
  • Chopped onions
  • Grill-ready veggie skewers
  • Baby carrots
  • Frozen vegetables (lots of combos, sauced or plain)
  • Spiralized zucchini, and cauliflower rice (fresh or frozen)


  • Fresh cut melon or pineapple
  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Fresh apple slices
  • Frozen fruits of all types (no added sugar)
  • Frozen smoothie combos (no added sugar or juices)


  • Rolled or quick oats
  • Frozen prepared steel-cut oatmeal
  • Pre-cooked whole-grain pouches (e.g. Uncle Ben’s original whole grain brown ready rice, Seeds of Change whole grain blend)
  • Whole grain or blend pasta (e.g. Barilla Protein +)
  • Whole-grain crispbread crackers (e.g. Finn Crisp, Ryvita, Wasa)
  • 100% whole wheat English muffins or thin-sliced slices of bread

Meal Starters

  • These are frozen combo meals that can be combined with extra frozen vegetables, extra protein, and/or whole grains to increase the number of servings per bag. This will lower sodium and caloric intake per serving.
  • Some examples are Birds Eye Voila Chicken Fried Rice, Healthy Choice Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry, or even P.F. Chang’s General Tso Chicken!

Meal Combination examples

Dinner or Lunch

  • Shredded rotisserie chicken + taco shells + bagged spinach or slaw + shredded cheese + salsa
  • Green Giant marinated veggies eggplant, peppers & zucchini frozen vegetables + Barilla protein plus penne pasta +/- frozen shrimp
  • Frozen turkey burger or veggie burger + pre-cooked whole-grain blend + steam-in-bag frozen veggies
  • Curried lentil pouch + frozen or fresh spinach + pre-cooked brown rice +/- rotisserie chicken
  • Breakfast on the go
  • Fresh apple slices + peanut butter + string cheese
  • Whole wheat English muffin + slice cheese + frozen egg bites
  • Breakfast made overnight
  • Rolled oats + milk of choice + greek yogurt + chia seeds + frozen fruit + pb powder

About Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center Nutrition Consultations

Our registered dietitians /nutritionists will conduct a nutrition assessment and create a plan with you that addresses your weight and health goals. Your nutritionist will learn about your personal needs and then assist with creating a nutrition plan and setting lifestyle goals to help you adopt healthier eating habits. During regular visits, you’ll learn how to plan meals that can be adapted to your preferences or if you have cultural eating limitations, food allergies, or other intolerances.

Make an Appointment Today



Your Guide to Nutrition and Metabolism

Content curated by Kenlyn Young, LDN, MS, RD, Dietitian, Duke Integrative Medicine. Support and optimize your metabolism with ""Your Ultimate Guide to Nutrition and Metabolism." This e-book shares in-depth information about your metabolism and ways to support and optimize it. Download the Nutrition and Metabolism Guide   About ...


Feeling 35 Years Younger After Partnering With Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center

Deana Doub, from Hillsborough, NC, partnered with the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center to help her lose more than 60 pounds. Deana's goals included weight loss, increasing exercise and fitness, and finding a balanced diet that would work for her. Deana was thrilled to work with Christine ...


Four Factors that Can Improve Your Metabolism

By: Kenlyn Young, LDN, MS, RD, Dietitian, Duke Integrative Medicine. Metabolism is so confusing and frustrating, right? Common questions asked, "Why can't I lose weight? Why is my metabolism so slow?" In simple terms, "Metabolism is the internal process by which your body expends energy and burns calories. It runs 24/7 ...


For more information about

Duke Integrative Medicine and our various services and programs, please join our mailing list.

error: Content is protected !!