These easy-to-make meals are healthier than takeout or restaurant fare—no cooking required!
When you’re trying to eat healthier, it’s usually best to eat more meals at home, rather than going to a restaurant or ordering takeout. After all, restaurant meals typically have more calories, fat and sodium than similar foods you can prepare at home. But what if you don’t like to cook? Can you still eat healthy without having to spend your days eating nothing but salads and sandwiches?
The good news is that there are many foods you can turn into delicious and nutritious meals without having to cook or spend much time in the kitchen. By doing so, you’ll not only eat healthier, but you’ll save money because you won’t order takeout or go out to eat so often. That’s a win-win!
Try these 5 no-cook meals that can be loaded with healthy ingredients:
- Bowls – A bowl is an easy way to get a healthy meal on the table without cooking. Start with a base of healthy grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or farro (you can buy these pre-cooked, or cook up a large batch and store in your fridge or freezer). Add in any of the following: assorted greens, chopped veggies, canned tuna or beans, pre-cooked chicken or hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds and/or fruit. You can have a bowl every day without them ever tasting the same!
- Wraps – No need to eat a boring turkey sandwich every day just because you want to eat healthy. Start with a whole grain wrap and get creative! Spread hummus, guacamole or nut butter on your wrap, then toss in a few colorful veggies or slices of fruit. If you want meat or poultry, you can buy it pre-cooked or use leftovers and slice them up to add to the mix.
- Soups – Technically you need to cook soup, but it doesn’t require any cooking skills or much time spent in the kitchen. To make things easy, start with a pre-made broth (opt for low-sodium versions) and then throw whatever your heart desires into the pot. Whole wheat pasta, beans, canned tomatoes and chopped veggies are great additions to any soup. Then season with dried or fresh herbs to taste.
- Pizza – Sure, you need to put pizza in the oven or on a grill to heat it, but that’s more like reheating than cooking. Start with a ready-made crust, preferably one made from whole grains. Some options are flatbreads, pitas, tortillas or a pre-made pizza shell. Spread with jarred tomato sauce and top with loads of veggies and a sprinkling of cheese. You can add sliced pre-cooked turkey meatballs, shredded chicken or turkey pepperoni. Then heat until everything is hot and the cheese is bubbly. It’s as easy as reheating a frozen pizza or one you got at the local pizzeria!
- Parfaits – These tasty treats are perfect for breakfast, a mid-afternoon snack or dessert. Layer plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with your fruit of choice. Mix in low-sugar granola, nuts or seeds. Drizzle with honey or nut butter, if desired. Voila! You’ve got an instant meal that satisfies.
Stock your pantry with these pre-cooked or ready-to-eat ingredients and you’ll always be ready to whip up a healthy meal at home in minutes:
- Rotisserie chicken
- Ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs
- Canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
- Canned beans
- Frozen pre-cooked chicken strips (not breaded, no sauce)
- Pre-cooked whole grains, like brown rice or quinoa
- Pre-cut fresh vegetables and fruit
- Frozen vegetables and fruit (no added salt, sugar or sauce)
- Instant oatmeal (unflavored)
- Greek yogurt
- Nut butters
- Hummus and guacamole
- Low-sodium soup broth
- Nuts and seeds
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Date Last Reviewed: November 17, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RDN, CLT