Food Q&A: Low-fat Protein to Go

Help yourself stay on Plan by preparing quick, low-fat meals to take to work.

Need ideas for coping with restaurant buffets? Want some good snack ideas? In our Q&A series, nutritionist and food editor Leslie Fink, MS, RD, answers questions about food, nutrition and weight loss.

Q: Any suggestions for low-fat foods (I prefer protein-rich options) that are fast and easy to prepare, that I can take to work and eat at my desk or on the go?

A: If you're looking for quick and easy, seek out as many prepared foods and convenience food products as possible. Roasted chickens, marinated meat and poultry, frozen soy burgers and stir-fry vegetable mixes can help cut cooking time. Doubling your dinner recipes and toting leftovers to the office for lunch is another terrific time-saving tactic.

Try these protein-rich meal ideas:

  • Chicken Chili Purchase marinated, grilled chicken breast strips. Cube them and toss into low-fat canned vegetarian chili. Sprinkle with low-fat shredded cheddar cheese and heat in the microwave.

  • Beefy Vegetable Soup Heat up a can of low-fat chicken noodle soup; toss in cooked lean beef strips, peas and carrots; tote to work in a thermos.

  • Shrimp Cocktail This tasty and very low-fat finger food can be purchased fresh or frozen. Enjoy it dipped into cocktail sauce along with some fresh vegetable sticks (even a handful of baby carrots will do).

  • Grilled Chicken Salad Many grocery stores have extensive salad bars where you can load up on lettuce and fresh chopped vegetables. Make yourself several salads and then buy a roasted chicken. Remove the skin, cut up the meat and divide it among your salads; toss with the low-calorie dressing of your choice.

  • Steamed Chinese Chinese food is an easy option when you're short on time. My favorite is steamed chicken and broccoli with garlic sauce on the side, and it's typically large enough for 2 or 3 meals.

  • Cheese "Burger" Microwave a frozen soy-based vegetable burger. Top it with a slice of low-fat cheese and pair it up with roasted vegetables.

  • Ham and Turkey Roll It's not fancy, but even rolled up pieces of deli-sliced turkey breast and lean ham wrapped around fresh vegetable sticks will do the trick for a protein blast when you're crunched for time.

Go to Food & Recipes to see more questions and answers!

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