If you’re sheltering in place or self-isolating somewhere that offers only a microwave to cook, the ability to eat nutritious and flavorful meals may seem impossible. If you can expand your cooking tools a little, your options increase, but if a microwave is all you’ve got, you can do more than you might realize. Microwave dinners and canned soups, move over.
Microwaves actually do a fantastic job with cooking whole grains. Whether you want oatmeal for breakfast or brown rice with your dinner, a microwave is honestly easier and faster than stovetop cooking, especially if you’re cooking for one. Look for “instant” varieties to reduce the cooking time and follow the package directions for simple grains. Pick up one or two mixed spice blends and some of your favorite hot sauce to keep things interesting.
Frozen vegetables are going to be the easiest option to prep if you have freezer space for them. Most can be steamed in the bag these days, so cooking them is also a matter of following the package directions. Canned vegetables also honestly heat up as well in the microwave as they do on the stove: you just need a microwave-safe container to heat them in. Remember to look for 1, 2, or 3 Guiding Stars to help you find canned and frozen options with less sodium.
Bonus tip: Potatoes and sweet potatoes can be baked to perfection in the microwave, and veggies tossed with your favorite spice blend are a wonderful way to top them.
Here’s where you’re not going to believe me, but honestly, you can microwave much more interesting protein than canned beans. You can microwave eggs in all kinds of fun ways, for example. While you and your neighbors might not thank you for the aroma, the microwave can also produce moist and tender fish. And last for this post, but decidedly not least, you can make chicken that has absolutely no business being at once both at tender and as crispy as it is.