If you want to eat healthy but don’t like cooking or don’t have time to prepare meals, this article will show you how to eat healthy without cooking.
Cooking your own meals gives you the freedom to eat foods you like and makes it easy to control portions. But cooking has a few shortcomings. For one thing, it takes time to prepare a healthy delicious meal. And you also end up using a lot of utensils which take time to clean.
Even though it’s easier to eat healthy by cooking your own meals, you can still eat healthy without cooking. And do it without hurting your wallet.
Whether you’re a college student, a busy man/woman, or a backpacker – this article has tips that will make eating healthy without cooking possible.
How to Eat Healthy without Cooking
1. Crockpot cooking
A crock pot or slow cooker is the closest thing you’ll get to automatic cooking. You just need to put the ingredients in the crockpot, turn it on, and go about your business. When you return home in the evening your meal will be ready.
The meal may not be fancy but it’ll be healthier than most restaurant foods. And with a little effort, you can actually make delicious crock pot meals – here a few crock pot recipes you can try.
Buying a big crockpot will make it possible to prep food that will last several meals. All you’ll need to do is store the food in the fridge and heat it up at mealtime.
2. Eat raw foods
There are so many foods that can be eaten raw especially fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These foods contain more nutrients and water than cooked food. Not to forget the high fiber content.
You can eat carrots, apples, cucumber, and broccoli as healthy snacks. And dip fresh veggies in hummus for lunch. Don’t forget to check the labels when buying hummus because most are high in calories and sodium.
If you’ve never eaten raw foods before start small. Eating raw foods for snacks is a great way to start.
3. Eat dried or dehydrated foods
You can find a variety of dried fruits and vegetables in the grocery store. Alternatively, you can dehydrate them at home – a dehydrator goes for less than 100 dollars.
The good thing about dehydrating food is that it retains all the nutrients – only water is lost. And you can dry any food from fruits, vegetables, corn, meat, and so on. In fact, dried food can last for over a year without going bad. It’s better than processed food since it doesn’t contain chemicals or preservatives.
Use a dehydrator to make tasty snacks and swap them with unhealthy snacks – swap bacon for beef jerky, swap crisps for kale chips or sweet potato chips.
In fact, if you’re on a tight budget, buy fresh produce when it’s in season (it’ll be cheaper), then dehydrate enough to last you the off season.
When storing dried food make sure it’s completely dry. If it’s not dry it’ll go bad – it’s better to over-dry than under-dry. And store the dried food in airtight containers or plastic bags.
4. Drink smoothies
Drinking smoothies is one of the easiest ways to increase fruits and vegetable intake. All you need to do is, put the fruits and veggies in the blender, add water and the blender will do the rest of the work.
Adults are recommended to eat three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruits every day. But statistics show that only 10 percent of the US population reaches this target. Once you start drinking smoothies this target will be attainable.
In fact, smoothies can give you a balanced meal. For instance, this 5-minute recipe shows how to make a smoothie using, milk, walnuts, mixed fruits, veggies, chocolate, and cranberries.
5. Soaking foods
If you soak oats overnight they’ll be ready to eat in the morning. Just put the oats in a bowl and add water or milk then put them in the fridge. When you wake up in the morning, breakfast will be ready.
Other grains like quinoa and chickpeas also become edible after being soaked and sprouted.
6. Prep meals ahead of time
In recent years, meal prepping has become very popular. If you’re not familiar with meal prepping, it’s simply preparing food that will last several meals. Experienced meal preppers actually prep meals that last for a whole week.
Note that some initial investment is required. You need to buy containers and jars for storing food. But it’s totally worth it because you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money.
Beginners should start with meals for 2-3 days. Spend Sunday afternoon cooking meals for the next 3 days, put them in the containers and store them in the fridge. During mealtime, you’ll only need to heat the food up and eat.
If meal prepping meals for 3 days seems like a lot of work, there are foods you can prep without much effort. For instance, hard boiled eggs – just boil as many eggs as you want and store them in the fridge. Salads are also easy to prep – just cut the fruits and veggies and store them in jars.
Make sure you read 18 meal prep ideas for weight loss before you start prepping meals.
7. Microwave cooking
A microwave can do more than hitting up leftovers and defrosting food – it can be used to cook whole meals. Here are some of the foods you can make using a microwave.
Just make sure you use microwave-safe glass or ceramic dishes to avoid dishes melting in the microwave.
Many of us have been led to believe that the microwave is bad, but it’s not. One of the arguments made against it is that the food will lose nutrients, but the truth is any cooking method destroys nutrients.
Folks also fear the radiation issue, but according to the American Cancer Society, microwaves don’t make food radioactive and don’t pose any health risk.
8. Prepare No-Cook Meals
There are so many meals you can prepare without cooking. The two foods that come to mind are sandwiches and yoghurt based foods.
Eating sandwiches over and over can get boring – so you need to try different approaches. Make sandwiches using different kinds of bread, cheese, meat, veggies, eggs, herbs and so on. Here are a few sandwich recipes you may like.
Greek yoghurt should also be part of your diet – it’s rich in nutrients and very filling. Adding honey and strawberries to greek yoghurt will make a great snack.
Don’t limit yourself to sandwiches and greek yoghurt only – here are 43 no-cook recipes.
9. Eat out smart
If you don’t cook chances are you’ll eat out or have food delivered to you, every now and then. So you need to be smart about choosing the restaurant you’ll eat and what you’ll eat.
Obviously, you should eat at a restaurant that serves healthy food. And always plan what you’ll order ahead of time, don’t let the menu guide you on what to eat.
Note that restaurants use a lot of vegetable oil when cooking, so their food probably has more calories can home-cooked food.
Lastly, you don’t have to clear the plate – you can box the remaining food for later.
10. Eat canned foods
Canned foods are very convenient and affordable but they are also loaded with preservatives and sodium. So they’re not to be eaten every day. Eat them when you don’t a healthier option.
And when buying them choose the ones with low sodium levels. Just warm the food for a few seconds and you’re good to go. If the canned food is stored at room temperature, you can eat it without heating it up.
Make simple dishes – some healthy foods require less than 15 minutes to prepare. Force yourself to put the ingredients together and make a simple healthy meal. Here are 15-minute healthy recipes to try.
Find a cooking partner – if you have a roommate or you’re in college, find someone who loves to cook and share the cost of meals. Ask them to cook and you can offer to perform other tasks like buying grocery or cleaning dishes.
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t cook your own meals. Frankly, you can eat healthy without cooking, you just need to find what works for you. Choose the tips that fit your lifestyle and implement them.
What strategy have you used to eat healthy without cooking?