January 10, 2012

Low-Sodium Microwaveable Lunch Challenge

Wouldn’t it be extraordinary to simply unpack a pre-made meal from its cardboard box. Rip off the plastic. Throw it in the microwave. And have your lunch ready and hot in minutes?

That would be nice.

But on a low-sodium diet, these “open and heat” dishes are filled with sodium (not to mention other non-food unmentionables). So to stick to the diet, one must either (a) quit your job and work and cook from home or (b) bring leftovers with you for your noon-time chow fest.

I’ve tried both.

And while working from home definitely lets me (over)feed myself great low-sodium snacks, lunches, and more snacks (and lunches) whenever I want them, the freelance lifestyle is not totally feasible for most. And even I truck my way downtown every few days to work from an office, where the only cooking equipment around is a coffee maker, a hot water spout, and the all important microwave.

So I really do understand the predicament. I have spent years bringing liquidy lunches, packed in tupperware, secured with rubber bands, and wrapped in plastic bags, all in an attempt to keep my meal from spilling and ruining my computer. And even with all the precautions, it always causes me anxiety. And sometimes, a total hot mess.

With the wonderful Chelsea undergoing Low-So January, I knew I needed to finally face this challenge. For reals. And give her a few low-sodium lunch options that would save her from stress. And spills. And the need to quit her day job.

The answer? Homemade, low-sodium, microwaveable meals.

Lunch recipes that require one to simply pack a bunch of diced ingredients into some tupperware–no liquid necessary–and then simply add water and heat once they get to work. That’s it. No spills. No slaving at a stove. No starving.

And to get us started, let me present to you the first of a few “Just Add Water” dishes: Asian Soup.

Yeah, I said it. I made it too. And it was delicious.

The trick is in the dried shiitake mushrooms, which creates a dark, umami-flavored broth once combined with the hot water. Do you see it? Doesn’t it look luscious?

And while you can always look for prepackaged, cut vegetables (like this Taylor Farms Broccoli Slaw), dicing up some greens will only take you seconds.

So get packing and lunch like you’ve never low-sodium lunched before.

Chow on.

JUST ADD WATER: Microwaveable Low-Sodium Asian-Flavored Soup

Serves 1 

Ingredients for your tupperware:

  • 1/2 a head of bok choy, thinly sliced (I cut mine into little crescents)
  • 1 green onion, root discarded and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 large daikon, sliced in half and cut into crescents
  • 1/4 cup tofu, cubed or tofu skins, sliced (called Yuba–35mg per sheet, which is a LOT)
  • Red chili pepper flakes to taste
  • Handful dried shiitake mushrooms, broken up into smaller pieces (remember, you’ll be eating these!)
  • Handful pre-sliced brocolli and carrot matchsticks, but vegetables pre-chopped (or that you chop) is great
  • Feel free to add any other ingredients to your tupperware–like frozen corn, cooked chicken from an earlier meal, cooked noodles…seriously, anything that fits your mood. 


1. Put all your chopped ingredients in your tupperware. Close it. Put it in your purse or work bag. Go to work.

2. Fill your tupperware with warm or hot water as soon as you get to your desk. Cover it back up and let the magic mushrooms steep and release their juicy flavor.

3. When it’s close to lunchtime, place your microwave-safe tupperware into the microwave. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the tupperware. Grab a spoon and a napkin. Make your coworkers jealous.

(I know. I am a genius.)


Christy January 11, 2012 at 6:59 am

Looks beautiful & sounds delicious, Jess! Way to GO!

Lindsay January 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Love, love, love, love, LOVE! Chinese was one of my favorite food groups before I got sick, and I miss it so much. I can’t wait to try this!

Andrea Shef January 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

This is genius!!! Great idea!!! Looks awesome!!!!

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