13 Zero-Prep PowerFuels for Easy Eating

Article posted in: Nutrisystem for Men
jar of colorful olives for PowerFuels

Nutrisystem doesn’t just help you lose weight when you’re able to eat our easy-to-prepare, pre-portioned meals and snacks: The program also helps you stay on your weight loss plan while you’re out in the world—at a restaurant or a family picnic—and keep the weight off once you’ve reached your goal.

A powerful part of that weight management toolbox are Flex Meals, meals and snacks you prepare or order using some simple Nutrisystem principles. Based on the number of PowerFuels (a measure of protein and fat) and SmartCarbs (a measure of carbs) in the recipe or menu item, you’ll know just the right amount to eat to stay on track.

But when you’re on the road, rushing out the door or just need to fuel up quick, you need something grab-and-go—a Flex food with the same level of convenience you can get with Nutrisystem meals and snacks. We’ve got you covered! There are plenty of zero-prep PowerFuels in the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide that will fill you up with lean proteins and healthy fats.

For easy reference, one PowerFuel is between 80 to 120 calories with at least five grams of protein or at least eight grams of total fat (with no more than four grams of saturated fat). Stock up on these 13 foods to stash and grab when you need a delicious pick-me-up that supports your weight loss goals. Then click the link below for some no-cook SmartCarb ideas!

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1. Cheese

Healthy Organic String Cheese For a Snack

Serving Size: low sodium, 1 slice or 1 string cheese

From string cheese to pre-packaged slices, cheese is a great way to pump up the protein without any prep work. It’s ready to eat as is and perfect for throwing into your savory recipes.

Grab a string cheese for a quick and easy snack while on the go. Use the sliced cheese of your choice on sandwiches. Chop up or grate block cheese to use in salads or other healthy recipes. Grated parmesan cheese is perfect over pasta or in pesto! Looking for some easy tips for choosing your cheese? Click here! >

2. Low-Sodium Deli Meat

low-sodium deli meats like ham are protein-packed zero-prep PowerFuels

Serving Size: lower sodium, 2 ounces

Deli meats are already cooked, sliced and ready to enjoy! Just make sure to choose low-sodium options. You can go for turkey, chicken, roast beef or even smoked salmon. While Deli meat is ideal for healthy sandwiches, it can also be chopped up and added to salads or roll-ups.

Speaking of roll-ups, consider trying out the world’s simplest power snack: Wrap half a string cheese in two slices of deli turkey.

OK, so it’s not zero prep, but it’s really close: Pull off one half of a string cheese (share the other half with one of the kids or a friend), and wrap it in half of a serving of deli turkey, ham or roast beef: You’ve got salty, cheesy flavor, fast. If you’ve got two extra seconds to prep, you can swipe on a dash of mustard. Or for some added crunch without added calories, pair a dill pickle spear in the middle with the cheese.

3. Hard-Boiled Egg

Hard boiled chicken eggs on rustic wooden table

Serving Size: 1 large egg

While hard-boiled eggs technically require some prep to make, once they’re done cooking, they are one of the easiest PowerFuels around! Boil a dozen eggs to use as easy PowerFuels for the week. They are great at breakfast with some whole grain toast. You can also chop them up to add into salads or sandwiches. Whip up some egg salad with a little mayonnaise or Greek yogurt for a quick meal that’s ready in a snap.

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4. Jerky

Dried Peppered Beef Jerky Cut in Strips

Serving Size: 1-2 ounces depending on type (80-120 calories with at least 5 grams of protein)

Grab this protein-packed PowerFuel at the gas station when you’re on the road! Road trips can be one of the toughest times when you’re on a weight loss plan: The drive-thru is so tempting, and if a gas station’s store has something with vegetables, it usually looks … wilted. But you can fuel up on PowerFuels while you’re stopping for a quick fill-up: Many service stations offer small packages of jerky. It’s a staple of all-night convenience stores.

If they have a low-sodium option, that would be your best bet. Turkey jerky or beef jerky are both hearty, protein-packed choices for your ride. They’re typically shelf-stable so they are easy to toss into your bag or backpack on busy days and long outdoor hikes.

5. Cocktail Shrimp

Boiled Shrimp Appetizer with Cocktail Sauce

Serving Size: 3 ounces

Make your fridge fancy by stocking it with cocktail shrimp! Think being on a weight loss plan can’t feel like a treat? Think again: That ring of cocktail shrimp at the grocery store is a perfect PowerFuel to keep in your fridge and (healthy) snack on for a few days. It’ll give you filling protein, and like other seafood options, big doses of zinc and selenium. One PowerFuel of shrimp is three ounces—for many rings, that’s five shrimp, a perfect little snack size. So class it up and get the ring!

6. Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters

Nuts and seeds and their butter in jars with ingredients. Homemade raw organic peanut, almond, hazelnut, cashew, pistachio, macadamia nuts paste and sunflower and pumpkin seeds butter on a table.

Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons of Nuts or Seeds / 1 Tablespoon of Nut Butter

Count these out and stuff ‘em in your backpack: Portioned out nuts and seeds are some of our favorite zero-prep PowerFuels. Those little crunchers won’t just fill you up—in studies, researchers have found a correlation between eating almonds and reduced belly fat. The potential problem that often arises with nuts and seeds is portion control: It’s easy to grab them by the handful and go overboard—turning a healthy snack into a glut of calories.

The solution is simple: Count ‘em out! Put zip-top bags of 20 almonds in your backpack or work bag, and you’ll be ready for a pre-portioned snack on the go. Don’t want to count and prep? Look for the smallest individual packages at the convenience store—they’re usually two or 2.5 ounces for the smallest bag. And two ounces of almonds? That’s one PowerFuel.

From cashews and almonds to chia and sunflower seeds, there are so many different varieties to choose from for your PowerFuels. You can add nuts and seeds to oatmeal, cereal or salad. Throw together a quick trail mix or granola with your favorite combinations. If you’re craving something smooth, creamy and decadent, nut and seed butters are delicious on toast or fresh fruit. Warm some up and drizzle it over your oatmeal or spoon some into your smoothie.

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7. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese in a bowl

Serving Size: 1% fat, no salt added, ½ cup

The easiest breakfast ever: Keep cottage cheese in the office fridge. Not everyone loves cottage cheese, but for those who do, it’s a semi-sweet, filling option that’s perfect for keeping in the office fridge—and perfect for packing your day with protein. A half-cup (one PowerFuel) serving of cottage cheese has about 12 grams of protein and just 90 calories—that’s about the same protein as two eggs, with fewer calories.

Don’t like it by itself? Give it a SmartCarb boost: Add a half-cup of blueberries, peaches or pineapple to your office cottage cheese stash for a burst of sweetness that only adds one-half of a SmartCarb. Use this easy mason jar hack to transport your cottage cheese and fruit snack while on the go! >

8. Protein Powder

chocolate protein powder is a healthy zero-prep PowerFuel

Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons

Stash this one in your desk for coffee time! Syrup-soaked coffee drinks and lattes from the big chains are delicious, but they often contain as many calories as a meal: For example, a medium frozen mocha drink from a popular chain coffee shop comes in at almost 450 calories.

Keeping a little protein powder in your desk drawer can give your coffee some of that same special-treat sweetness—and your body some protein—for far fewer calories. Mix two tablespoons of chocolate (or your favorite flavor) protein powder into a big mug of hot (or cold) coffee, and you’ve got a protein-packed creamy shake that will keep you feeling fueled up and satisfied.

If you’re more of a dessert fan, protein powder can help you, too: Mix a single tablespoon (half of a PowerFuel) into a half-cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and you won’t miss the fruit on the bottom—you’ll have a chocolate pudding-like consistency that will fill you up for the afternoon ahead.

9. Yogurt

plain yogurt in a bowl

Serving Size: nonfat, plain, 1 cup

Here’s another grab-and-go, zero-prep PowerFuel. Just like cottage cheese, pre-packaged yogurt can easily be stashed in the office fridge when you need a midday pick-me-up. It’s packed with protein to keep you full, while also being a creamy and dreamy dessert-like treat.

We recommend choosing plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt and adding your own sweetness with stevia or fresh fruit. Toss in some berries and you’ve got the perfect portable Flex Snack! Whip up a fancy (yet super easy) parfait by layering yogurt with a few other simple ingredients (Try this four-ingredient Lemon Raspberry Parfait recipe! >) You can also make a simple spicy yogurt dip for veggies or use it as the base of meat marinades.

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10. Rotisserie Chicken

rotisserie chicken is perfect for easy weeknight meals

Serving Size: 2 ounces

Check out this easy hack for your Flex meals! If you’re strapped for time during the week but want to whip up a hearty, homemade meal, rotisserie chicken should be your go-to PowerFuel. Pick up a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store for tender, flavorful chicken that’s ready to enjoy. Because it’s already seasoned and fully cooked, you can easily add it to almost any recipe that calls for chicken.

Tear some of the tender chicken off the bone to pair with roasted vegetables or a leafy green salad for a quick weeknight meal. You can also use it to make an easy chicken salad or as the filler for sandwiches and wraps to pack for lunch. Talk about healthy eating made easy!

11. Olives

Bowl of olives for easy PowerFuels

Serving Size: ½ cup olives

Grab a jar of olives to easily add some healthy fats to your day! Whether you love your olives black or green, they can be a great way to add salty, savory, complex flavors to your meals and snacks.

Of course, olives are great all by themselves. However, you can also use them in pasta dishes or in a homemade Greek salad. We think they’re also tasty stuffed inside wraps, paired with baked fish or enjoyed with other zero-prep PowerFuels like deli meat or cheese. Just be careful with the serving size. Like nuts and seeds, it’s easy to go overboard and eat to many. Portion out those PowerFuels!

12. Low-Fat or Soy Milk

low-fat milk being poured into a glass for PowerFuels

Serving Size: 8 ounces (1 cup)

Probably one of the easiest zero-prep PowerFuels on this list, a glass of low-fat or soy milk is ready to enjoy in seconds. Just pour a glass and enjoy! This is a great option if you’re not feeling too hungry.

You can pair a glass of milk with your favorite Nutrisystem muffin or breakfast. Blend it up with some protein powder for a healthy, protein-packed shake. Love strawberry milk? Grab the blender again and combine milk with a cup of fresh strawberries for a sweet PowerFuel and SmartCarb combo. Check out this guide to the dairy aisle for some shopping tips! >

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13. Oil

Bottle pouring extra virgin olive oil in a bowl close up

Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon

While smaller amounts of oil (one teaspoon) are considered Extras on Nutrisystem, a little bit more (one Tablespoon) can be used for your PowerFuels.

Because healthy fats contain more calories per gram of food than protein does, you will get less volume of food overall than if you chose a protein source. For example, one Tablespoon of oil will be less volume of food than two ounces of chicken but give about the same calories. Adding in the healthy fats like oil as a PowerFuel is a great option for those that may be on higher calorie plans and struggle with the volume of food they will need to eat each day to meet their calorie goals.

Healthy fats are very satiating and a little bit goes a long way! We think choosing oil is a great option if you can’t get enough of your homemade dressings. You can use olive oil, avocado oil and other healthy options. Just drizzle it over some leafy greens with some apple cider vinegar and your favorite spices for a delicious and easy way to elevate your side salads. You can also use oil to roast or sauté vegetables and meat.