Quick Meals for Busy Teachers!

Quick Meals for Busy Teachers!

Recently, I have noticed that education must have some sort of vendetta against eating lunch. Many teachers only get 30 minutes, which definitely isn’t enough time to wrap up, go out, and have a nice meal. Many of the administrators I work with forgo lunch all together. Not to mention that there is lunch duty and other responsibilities that call to us during our lunch hours. I know it is legally required, at least in the state of Texas, for educators to receive a 30 minute duty free lunch, but in our current landscape, that is often not the reality.

Let’s expand this vendetta against lunch to meals in general because let’s face it, eating is a challenge. When you get home the last thing you want to do is cook a meal. You’re exhausted mentally and physically. Sunday meal preps seem like an impossible feat when you must also create a lesson plan for the week. The Sunday scaries are real, and batch cooking 5-7 meals many times is not possible or sustainable. Soooo, what do we do?

A teacher suggested to me a quick meal called egg roll in a bowl. I made it when I got home, and it was so easy that it took less than 30 minutes and little to no prep. I also had lunch for the next couple of days. It made it that much easier to win a battle for food in this education world. It inspired me to go on a journey to find quick meals, I mean super quick meals, with the smallest amount of effort possible! Here are three of the recipes I found!

For this recipe, I used Italian sausage because it is already seasoned, an “asian mix chopped salad” from Aldi, and PF Chang’s sweet red chili sauce. It was so quick, delicious, and I had enough for lunch the next day! I linked a full recipe if you need more step by step instructions! (the subheading of this section is a link to a recipe for this!)

  • Rotisserie chicken Alfredo

I got a rotisserie chicken from Kroger and Primal Kitchen’s dairy free Alfredo sauce, but you can use any Alfredo sauce. I sautéed some spinach, mushrooms, and combined it all together. Cook some pasta, and you have an easy, quick, after school meal. 

  • Italian Chicken

My coworker told me about this one, and it was easy and great! All I did was wrap chicken and Italian salad dressing in foil, then bake it in the oven. Yes, it was that easy! I roasted some veggies and potatoes also, but you can make this even quicker by buying microwave steam-able veggies and potatoes.

I also have a blog post on eating well in a hurry, and I still employ those tips and techniques so, it’s linked to this post!

Please, please, please eat well. Your body does so much for you, and it needs nourishment to function. So many times I have seen teachers and administrators alike skip lunch and eat snacks from the vending machine because they do not have the time to prep, and or they spent their lunch prepping for another class or task. I want us as educators to prioritize things that will enrich our lives both mentally and physically because both elements are more connected than you may realize. 

Eating Well in a Hurry!

Eating Well in a Hurry!

This is a different kind of post for my blog, but I want to share more content that will be valuable to you and your journey to make Everydaylicious! If you did not know, my day job is teaching! I teach high school English in the Dallas, Tx area. During my career, I have coached basketball and cross country, sponsored multiple clubs, and worked with organizations to develop curriculum on top of all the responsibilities that come with the charge of teaching 120 nineth graders! All things considered; I understand the busy struggle.

Regardless of how busy you are, prioritizing your health is a nonnegotiable. Not only can you not pour from an empty cup, but you also can’t fill a broken one. Even though planning is key, I learned early on that meal prepping every week is not realistic or sustainable for me. If you are like me, spending countless hours every Sunday to cook and pack food for the week was draining; I missed having my Sundays to myself; I got tired of eating the same meal halfway through the week; finally, if I didn’t meal prep, I was screwed and off to the closest fast-food restaurant I went.

For all of these reasons, I decided to find a better way. Here are my quick tips and favorite go-to’s for when I am short on time but want to eat well!

My Favorite Pre-Seasoned Raw Meals

One of the most valuable eating tips I’ve learned is to utilize pre-seasoned meals. They usually don’t take long to cook, and it’s so simple that it’s nothing to throw them in the oven or pop them in a skillet after a long day’s work. It is usually cheaper than ordering food, and it is usually better for you! Here are some of my favorites!

  • Aldi’s Atlantic Salmon with Mediterranean Herbs: This is delicious! I throw the salmon filet’s in the oven or, if I’m really in a hurry, a cast iron skillet. I like to pair it with asparagus or microwavable steamed vegetables. You can also ustilize boil in bag rice and your favorite dressing!
  • Aldi’s Cilantro Lime and Tomato Basil Chicken: These are some of my favorite go to pre-seasoned chicken! You can use them in recipes for a quick protein without the hassle of seasoning and marinading!
  • HEB Meal Simple Meals: I will say that this is Texas specific, but if you are lucky enough to live near an HEB market, their meal simple meals are basically a meal prep you can just pick up! They have oven and microwave options. Most of the meals can be baked or microwaved in the containers they come in, so you can also save time on washing dishes!
  • Trader Joe’s Salads: Okay, so these aren’t “pre-seasoned” But I included it in this section because it serves the same purpose! I love to keep a couple of these salads in the fridge for when I am in a pinch. They come with pre-packaged and pre-portioned salad dressing and toppings.

Pre-Cooked Protein

Another thing I like to buy while grocery shopping is pre-cooked protein. This makes it easy to throw a meal together without much thought or prep! Here are some of my favorites and how I have used them in the past!

  • Good and Gather Grilled Chicken Strips and Shredded Chicken: You can find this brand in Target! You can really use this hack for almost any quick meal that requires chicken. I used it to make a taco bowl by adding canned black beans, green chilies, canned tomatoes, spices and boil in bag rice. It took 10 minutes to make and it was delicious!
  • Rotisserie Chicken: You can find rotisserie chicken in different stores, but my favorite is from Walmart! You can either eat it as is and pair it with a quick side, or you can use it to create quick recipes! The recipes are simple to find on Pinterest or a quick google search!
  • Pre-cooked Frozen Shrimp: This is another one that you can find all over the place! I love this because even though they are frozen, shrimp thaws very quickly if you put them in water! Similar to the chicken, you can eat them by themselves with cocktail sauce, use it on a quick salad, or add them into a recipe!
  • Aldi’s Fully Cooked and Seasoned Turkey Breast: If chicken isn’t your vibe, Aldi also has fully cooked turkey to add to quick recipes and salads!
Aldi’s fully cooked pre-seasoned turkey breast

Better Fast-Food Options

Let’s face it. There will come a time when you are going to eat fast food. In today’s society, it’s inevitable. Here is a list of specific meals that I like to eat. I will also include general tips when eating out, so you don’t need a recovery from your meal!

Specific Meals
  • Chipotle’s Burrito Bowls: This is great because it is fully customizable, and they have multiple options for protein and starches! They even offer cauliflower rice!
  • Panda Express Plate with Super Greens: I love that panda express has a super greens option! I try to avoid the classic orange chicken, even though it is my favorite, and go for black pepper angus steak or mushroom chicken.
  • Starbucks Protein Boxes: These are a little more on the pricier side, but they are my favorite when I am in a pinch or on a road trip. I like the eggs and cheese protein box, but they have a variety of options!
  • 7 eleven’s Salad and Wraps: Again, not a gourmet meal, but it is an understatement to say that these meals have saved my stomach on several occasions. They are awesome when I realized that I forgot to prep lunch. I can stop and grab a salad or a wrap, 2 bananas, some trail mix, and a sparkling water, and I am set!
Eating Out Tips
  • Look for grilled options: Many restaurants have grilled versions of your favorites. It’s a great way to avoid the breading that can cause the “itis” (the sleepiness that occurs after eating a carb heavy meal)
  • Choose veggies when possible: Many restaurants, including fast food, have options where you can choose fruit or vegetables for a side! This is an easy way to make fast food a little less taxing on your body!
  • Bring your own tortillas: This might seem silly, but my dad gave me this idea and I’ve since regarded it to be genius. He would bring his own low carb tortillas to a restaurant and order fajita’s! My favorite is Siete Food Grain Free Tortillas. You can find them at Walmart!
  • Bring your own condiments: There are so so many options for condiments today to fit your food lifestyle. It’s a simple way to customize your fast-food meal to fit your needs! (Even Beyonce brings hot sauce in her bag!)

The Frozen Meal

When all else fails for me, I reach for a frozen meal. However, today’s market has so many options, you can still make choices that fit your food lifestyle and treat your body with love! Here are some of my favorite brands that have a variety of options!

  • Healthy Choice Power Bowls: You can find these in almost any grocery store, and I love them because they come with a wide range of dietary options. Whether you are carb free, meat free, dairy free, or none of the above, you can find a bowl that fits your lifestyle!
  • Evol Frozen Meals: These bowls also come with vegetarian options. They also have gluten free bowls! My all-time favorite is their Fire Grilled Steak Bowl.
  • Amy’s Kitchen Meals: You can find these bowls in Whole Foods. These meals come with plant-based options, and they use organic ingredients. In addition to microwave meals, they also have oven meals in lager portions!

Thank you!

As usual, I would like to express my graditude for your support and time! I hope that this adds value to your life, and don’t forget to make Everydaylicious!