Healthy Eating

7 Healthy Eating Strategies When You Don’t Like to Cook

Stay on track with healthy eating without spending hours in the kitchen each week.

By: Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

We’ve all been there. It’s dinner time and you can hear your tummy grumbling from a mile away. But while you can’t wait to sit down and enjoy a yummy meal at the end of a long day, the thought of cooking something is simply daunting. If you’re not a fan of cooking, but eating a healthy diet is something that’s important to you, know that there are some healthy eating strategies that can surely save the day. 

Why Healthy Eating is Really THAT Important 

While it is a-ok to order a pizza or lean on a frozen dinner once in a while, making it a daily occurrence isn’t the best idea if you are focused on your overall health. It’s best to have the bulk of your diet made up of a balance of healthy foods from different food groups. 

So, why is healthy eating super important? 

Eating a healthy diet that is made up of fruits, veggies, lean meats, legumes, and grains, while being low in added salts, sugars, and ultra-processed foods is linked to better heart health, a reduced risk of developing certain cancers, and a wholesome and balanced diet can also help support gut health. 

Plus, following a diet with certain good-for-you foods while limiting processed foods has been shown to result in a better mood as opposed to less healthy diets. 

In a nutshell? Prioritizing a balanced approach to eating is a wise choice for overall health!

Healthy Eating Strategies That Work Even if You Aren’t a Fan of Cooking

For people who call the kitchen their happy place, whipping up a healthy meal that is nourishing and satisfying is no big deal. But for those of us who would rather do literally anything else than chop and saute, know that all hope is not lost when it comes to healthy eating. 

Here are some healthy eating strategies that work even if you don’t have a love for the culinary arts. 

#1 Chop Your Veggies Immediately

We all know that many healthy recipes require sliced and diced veggies. And if you aren’t a fan of chopping, especially when you are crunched for time, having everything ready to go can be a game-changer. When you are unloading your groceries, prep your veggies before you put them in the refrigerator. That way, whipping up a quick bowl of homemade chili or cooking a sauteed veggie omelet can be done in a jiffy and with little effort. 

#2 Make A Double Batch

Whenever you are making a meal, double the portion and save the surplus for your next-day meal. Get creative with your leftovers, so you don’t have to eat the exact same meal twice. 

For example, if you made baked salmon one night, add your leftover cooked salmon to taco shells and top with some fresh avocado slices, shredded cabbage, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for salmon tacos. 

#3 Beef Up Your Takeout

Sometimes, takeout is just what the doctor ordered. And it is entirely possible to order some better-for-you dishes if you are simply not going to cook your own meal. 

Once your takeout arrives at your home, add extra veggies to make it even more healthy. One idea? Cook frozen broccoli and mix it into your beef and broccoli for an extra boost of nutrition.

RELATED: The Healthiest Takeout Foods According to an RD

#4 Invest In A Slow Cooker

The ultimate set-it-and-forget-it solution — a slow cooker can be a lifesaver on days when you are simply not in the mood to slave over a hot stove. With a slow cooker, all you have to do is add ingredients to the basin and turn the machine on in the morning. At the end of the day, you will have a hot and delicious meal waiting for you and ready to be devoured. 

#5 Batch Cook Your Grains

Cooking grains like rice and quinoa isn’t hard to do, but it can be time-consuming. Cook up a large batch of grains once a week and store them in individual serving sizes. Making extra grains can save you a step during the week when you are just not in the mood to watch water boil.

#6 Lean On Pre-Made Frozen Healthy Foods

Eating frozen foods doesn’t necessarily mean eating less-healthy foods. While in the past, frozen TV dinners were notoriously packed with sodium, fat, and many other unsavory ingredients, nowadays, there are plenty of frozen options that are absolutely good for you when they are eaten in conjunction with an overall healthy diet. 

Keeping frozen sliced veggies, pitted fruits, and pre-cooked meats on hand can save you some effort in the kitchen and help make meal prep a breeze. Just watch out for added salt and sugar when making your selections. 

#7 Lean On Your Favorite Music

Sometimes, a simple distraction can make cooking more bearable and enjoyable. When you are getting ready to whip up a meal, crank up your tunes and try and have some fun with it! Prefer listening to an audiobook or podcast? Use your cooking time to tune into something that brings you joy. 

Healthy Eating Is Possible Even if You Don’t Love to Cook

Not being a fan of cooking doesn’t mean that you are stuck eating pizza delivery and greasy takeout every night. By using some of these tips, healthy eating is completely within your reach, even if you don’t have a desire to spend hours in the kitchen. 

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