I don’t really hate cooking, but I often can’t find the time. Maybe that sounds familiar to you?
Many years ago, Peg Bracken wrote a book called The I Hate To Cook Book. My mother never bought a copy because she liked to cook and did it often. But times and the demands of life have changed since then, and I take every possible opportunity to avoid cooking.
More exactly, I take advantage of all the ways I have found to eat healthy meals without cooking. This short post will share just a few of those ways – nothing momentous, nothing you haven’t thought of, just ways you can keep your nutrition in the right direction without cooking. Well occasionally a little microwave or heat in a toaster oven.
An entire industry has grown up around the busyness of everyone’s life. You can find organic bagged salads, with serious veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and more.
You can try pre-cut broccoli, cauliflower, and other vegetables that are labeled “stir fry” but are perfect for adding to salads or other dishes, or for quick microwave heating.
Trader Joe’s has refrigerated packages of many different types of vegetables and even pre-cut butternut squash. They can simply be heated in a toaster oven.
Several brands of frozen vegetables can be “steamed” by microwaving them in the bag for several minutes. In general, cooking vegetables in the microwave is quick and easy.
When it comes to vegetables, raw are always an option. Just make or buy an organic sauce or bottled organic salad dressing. With a juicer, the possibilities are practically endless.
If you have access to a grocery store with a good salad bar, you can generally find all kinds of vegetables and don’t limit yourself to just salad greens.
This can be a sticking point. I am in favor of an adequate amount of protein (approximately 20 grams per serving / meal). It can be difficult to get enough if you are using what I have called “protein imposters”.
Protein imposters include nuts (mostly healthy fats with just a little protein), quinoa (mostly healthy carbs with just a little protein), and cheese (mostly saturated fats with just a little protein).
If you’re okay with dairy, protein options include cottage cheese and, of course, Greek yogurt. Today there are many Greek yogurts and not all of them have a lot of protein. Read the labels and look for one with 18-22 grams of protein per serving.
I have often relied on protein powders. A good example is Garden of Life Raw Protein which is vegan and organic. Another good option is hemp protein powder, and my favorite brand is Manitoba Harvest. It is more palatable than other hemp proteins. There are also many other brands and types of plant proteins.
Again, if you are okay with dairy, you can try whey protein.
I recommend getting the unflavored variety of any protein powder you select. Flavoring almost always means added sweeteners.
You can find pre-cooked packages of brown rice or even lentils, and just heat them up or microwave them quickly.
Cans of organic sweet potato, pumpkin and squash puree may come to the rescue. Season as you prefer.
If you don’t mind cooking some pasta, you can make it bulk and refrigerate it. A recent research study found that refrigerated and reheated pasta has less insulin impact and even less calorie impact than freshly cooked pasta. If you are looking to increase the nutritional value, try pasta made from quinoa, brown rice, or black bean flour. Whole Foods sells organic, sugar-free pasta sauces that taste great.
So here are some quick, no-cook, no-surprise ideas that, as I mentioned, are far from momentous, but can help you get through a variety of meals without actual cooking.