As you may know, I’m 25 years old, a little bit of a chub, and I work in an office. I am a great target market for Lean Cuisine. My delightful coworker Amanda is 30, a new mom, and works in an office. She is also a great target market for Lean Cuisine.
Unsurprisingly, we both eat pretty many Lean Cuisines. Also unsurprisingly, Lean Cuisines are not great and often leave us feeling disappointed and unsatisfied.
But like… we are still in it for Lean Cuisines because they
- are cheapish.
- are super easy to keep on hand.
- are super easy to make.
- cause me no guilt (except the guilt that you have for not packing a real lunch).
We do feel spite for the Lean Cuisines because they
- are depressing to eat out of that black plastic tray.
- aren’t actually very nutritious.
- never feel substantial.
How have we been making the Lean Cuisine lunch experience feel better:
1. Eat it off of a real plate.
It might feel crazy to create a new dish to wash, but this goes such a long way. Visually, it becomes far more appealing and makes me less likely to speed through it and find another snack to eat. (JK, still probably scootering around for snacks…)
2. Bulk it up with vegetables.
Fresh, frozen, leftover, what-have-you — after you dish that Lean Cuisine on a plate, toss some veg in it. Amanda’s put sliced tomato on a Korean beef one, I put a microwave steamer pack of broccoli on any pasta dish, maybe some bell pepper and stirfry veggies with that Asian egg roll one that basically is no food??
Especially for my Weight Watchers peeps, zero points, yo! I like pretending to be on Weight Watchers for a few days every few weeks.
3. Make it a salad.
Just dump the whole thing on some greens. Works great with anything that is chicken+ (vegetables, rice, this is like 50% of Lean Cuisine’s offerings) and the vegetarian rice bowls. You can even toss it and fake your coworkers out that you made a beautiful looking lunch salad.
4. Add a side.
This is clutch if you’re having one of the pizza ones, spring rolls, panini or anything else that just kind of comes as one item. I like adding a side salad for the pizza or other “Italian” options, rice for anything pseudo-Asian that comes sans rice, some pita alongside the steak and mushrooms one, some tortilla chips with something vaguely Mexican or Caribbean, you know what I’m talking about — easy. Don’t beef it up too much because remember – this is a LEAN Cuisine. Portions, people, portions. Or just eat some fruit and yogurt on the side.
5. Make it spicier!!!
This is so clutch. Whether it is dumping a ton of sriracha on their fake Asian food, cholula on the fake Mexican, black pepper on anything vaguely American comfort food related, or red pepper flakes on fake Italian food, this is how you make it even a little interesting to your mouth. And you can add wayyyy more spice than you would to any other food you’d make or consume. Lean Cuisines are so bland that they will suck up the flavor you are trying to add. Be bold, my friends. Be bold.