How can I eat healthy without cooking? This is a question I am frequently asked by new clients as a Certified Nutritionist. I don’t like to cook either, so I can relate. So here are some ideas from Nourish by WebMD.
Strategies to Eat Heathy Without Cooking
Precooked Whole Grains
Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa amp up your fiber intake and lower your risk for heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. But you don’t have to wait out the long cook time to enjoy their perks. You can find precooked grains in the frozen food case or in ready-to-microwave bowls or pouches — just look out for added sodium. Serve as a tasty side or mix with veggies or precooked meat for a complete meal.
Frozen produce, like green beans, have the same nutrients as fresh and sometimes retain them even better. No shelling, shucking, or soaking required — just heat them on the stove or in the microwave. Plus, they don’t pack the sodium that most canned items do. Use them in salads, add to canned soups, or serve with microwaved brown rice.
Precooked Chicken Strips
Especially if you’re cooking for one or two, precooked chicken strips are more handy than a whole fryer or even frozen cutlets. Balance their higher sodium count with the rest of your meal. Lay them on a salad or next to a whole-grain side and veggies. And stick with the lean grilled types — breaded strips will bring more fat, sodium, and other additives.
That’s a Wrap
Easy-to-slice produce like tomatoes and cucumbers make it a cinch to bulk up a yummy wrap for lunch. Mash low-sodium canned chickpeas and stuff in veggies and sprouts too, if you like. Flatbreads such as lavash make great wraps. Hold it all together with hummus or reduced-fat mayo.
A savory rotisserie chicken can be a great buy that makes more than one no-cook meal. Be aware that not all chicks are equal, though. Delis often inject their chickens with sugar, sodium, and other additives that make the birds stay moist and look better longer. Look for USDA-certified organic chickens with low sodium. If there’s no label, ask the store manager.
Even some “healthy” soups have a lot of salt — that’s what makes them the shelf staples they are. But there are plenty that boast less sodium these days. You can also make canned soup heartier and bump up the health factor with a handful of veggies from your fridge, leftover brown rice, or chopped rotisserie chicken. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese for an extra flavor punch.
Tuna fish is always a handy go-to, but did you know most salmon in pouches and cans is wild-caught? This makes it lower in calories and saturated fat than the farmed kind. Spoon it onto a salad or dress it up with frozen veggies and pesto for a filling meal.
Ready-to-Eat Boiled Eggs
It doesn’t take long to boil an egg. But sometimes you just want something to eat right now. Cue prepackaged hard-boiled eggs. They still boast protein, low saturated fat, antioxidants and minerals like copper, zinc, and iron. Slice them onto your salad or toast, into a breakfast bowl, or munch as is.
Keep a Crudités Tray Handy
Serve raw veggies — crudités if you’re feeling fancy — as an appetizer. Think celery, carrot sticks, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes. Add your own spin with romaine lettuce, bell peppers, pickles, fruit, whatever you like. Round out your tray with store-bought hummus, salsa, or a savory yogurt dip.
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