Some people find cooking therapeutic. You’re not one of those people? I get it. That last thing you feel like doing when you get home after a long day is to try and figure out what seasonings to combine with what protein, how long to cook it, etc. Even those of us who do enjoy cooking get worn out with decision fatigue or just feel plain tired and not up for it sometimes. If you’re wondering how to eat healthy without cooking, this post will answer that.
You get home from a day of putting out fires at work, or just problem solving all day long, and you’re feeling spent. You love your job, and you love your family. But managing everything from day-to-day decisions at the office to shuffling kids to their various activities can take a lot out of you. And you might just literally not have the time. Here’s how to eat healthy without cooking.
In this post, I’ll go over how to eat healthy without cooking by
- Zero-cook healthy meal and snack ideas
- Minimal effort, maximum benefit cooking tactics
- Ways to customize restaurant meals to be healthier
- What a “grocerant” is and why it’s one of my new favorite ways to be healthy without cooking
How to eat healthy without cooking: No cook meals
Whip up a smoothie to bring down your weight
The first defense against cooking and pro-healthy eating is easy. Smoothies! They’re so healthy because they have a big dose of your daily recommended servings of fruit and veggies. They’re packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals to support your whole body and brain.
They take literally 5 minutes to whip up, and you get to have a shake for breakfast! If you make them more filling with good quality protein, they’ll sustain you well into lunchtime. Some of my favorite ways to bulk up a smoothie to be more filling are protein powder, greek yogurt, or nut butter. (1,2)
Here are some of my recent smoothie recipe loves with modifications to make them more filling and fat burning.
Add cinnamon to your smoothie for extra blood sugar stability and sweetness. One of the many benefits of cinnamon.
Handheld foods are easy to make, take, and eat
Not just any sandwich will help burn away that annoying layer of fat. Use a high fiber bread (I recommend Ezekial bread) or better yet, try making a wrap with collard greens for easy, quick handheld foods that are WAY healthier than store-bought on white or even whole wheat bread.
Make sure you prioritize protein again with meats or hard boiled egg, healthy fats with avocado, and healthy carbs with hummus or another bean spread. (3,4)
Stay sustained throughout the day to keep your metabolism up
When you allow yourself to get too hungry, your blood sugar dips too low and you become ravenous. It’s way too easy to eat junk food when you’re this hungry and even if you get a healthy meal, you’ll probably overstuff yourself. That means you’ll have trouble digesting, which slows your metabolism and bloats you.
If you start to feel your tummy growling in the afternoon, choose healthy, high-protein, low sugar foods (nuts, avocado, greek yogurt). (1,4,5)
Try some no-cook, no-bake healthy easy snacks and meals like chia seed pudding or overnight oats. You just pour chia seeds or oats into jars at night, top with nuts, berries, and unsweetened almond milk, and let it sit in the fridge. In the morning, breakfast is served! Or you can have it as an afternoon snack. (3)
Cheat! Microwave to reheat healthy meals or zap fresh veggies
Don’t be afraid to use to microwave. If you have healthy leftovers that need to be warmed up, zap away! There are also really easy ways to cook vegetables in the microwave now, like healthy quinoa or green beans in a microwaveable bag. (4)
Read about which foods burn belly fat here
I wouldn’t microwave stuff in plastic too often, because of the risk of it leaching into the food. You can transfer it to a glass bowl or container and then microwave.
P.S. Check out my post on the benefits of using a BPA free water bottle.
Minimal effort: How to eat healthy without cooking much
Set-it-and-forget-it = watch the pounds fall away
Crock pot meals for the win! Spend 15 minutes tossing food into the crock pot and walk away (1,2). Try this crock pot lentil recipe or other healthy comfort-food crock pot bean recipes.
Batch cook to set up your week for smooth calorie-burning
Another option to make your week easier is to cook in bulk. On the weekend, spend a few hours cooking big batches of food to get you through the week. I like to cook a big batch of this curried garbanzo beans recipe that helped me lose my first 10 pounds.
Cooking with friends is more fun
Have a cooking party with a friend or two! You can spend a Saturday sipping sparkling water and catching up with friends while you all cook meals for the week together.
Enjoy this scrumptious cinnamon tea recipe, served hot or over ice.
It’s way more fun than feeling trapped in the kitchen by yourself, it makes the time go by so much quicker, and hey, laughing burns calories too! (1)
How to eat healthy without cooking: eating out
When eating out, don’t be afraid to modify
Ask for steamed veggies instead of a deep-fried side dish, ask for the dressing on the side so you can decide how drenched your salad is.
These little modifications can make a big difference in the number of calories you eat during your meal, and how heavy you feel when you leave the restaurant. (5)
Don’t eat the whole thing in one sitting
Most restaurant meals are way bigger than we would ever serve ourselves at home. Eat slowly, enjoy the food and the company, and pay attention to when your tummy gives you the “I’m getting full” signal.
When you feel satisfied, but not uncomfortably stuffed, ask for a box to take the rest home. You can heat it up for lunch tomorrow and split the calories for each meal in half. Eating less in one setting also aides in a low sodium diet, which reduces bloating and that “full feeling”.(1)
Eat at grocerants and still slim down
When you don’t have time to make a meal, here’s a great solution for how to eat healthy without cooking. Eat prepared foods at a grocery store. (2) More and more grocery stores are offering healthy hot and raw food. The Whole Foods hot bar is a great example.
You can read the ingredients, sometimes even the nutrition facts. You pick and choose exactly what fat-busting foods go into your body without doing more than scooping it up.
What are some healthy shortcuts you take when you don’t feel like cooking? Let US know in the comments!