How to Eat Healthy Without Cooking [Detailed Guide]
Last Updated: February 2, 2023
Do you find it hard or nearly impossible to fit cooking into your tight schedule? Is following a healthy diet one of the goals you don’t know how to achieve? Well, you’re in luck—this article will tell you all about how to eat healthy without cooking!
In addition to learning to understand your body’s nutritional needs, and how buying pre-cut food,bulk cooking and freezing your meals can help reduce cooking time, we’ll also mention some popular delivery services, as well as some healthy meal recipes that require minimal preparation.
How to Eat Healthy Without Cooking?
Healthy eating means consuming nutrient-rich foods that promote overall health and wellness, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Having a positive effect on both your mental and physical state, a healthy diet can bring balance into your life, with healthy eating habits helping you regulate your weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
1. Understand Your Nutritional Needs
Before we dive into healthy no-cook meals, it’s important to understand your nutritional needs to make sure you’re getting the right mix of nutrients from your food.
One way to better understand your nutritional needs is by calorie counting, which is a method of tracking the amount of energy you consume in a day in the form of calories by keeping a food journal or using a calorie tracking app.
Basal Metabolism (BMR)
Another important factor to consider is your basal metabolism, which refers to the amount of energy the body uses when resting. By determining your BMR, you’ll get an idea of how many calories you need to include in your no-cooking diet plan.
Your basal metabolism can be affected by a variety of factors, including age, weight, and activity level.
How to Calculate Basal Metabolism
There are a few different ways to calculate your basal metabolism, the Harris-Benedict equation being a popular method.
The Harris-Benedict equation is a formula that uses your height, weight, age, and gender to estimate your basal metabolism, which you can then use to determine the daily amount of calories you need to consume.
Your working metabolism is the amount of energy your body burns during physical activity, depending on the activity’s type and intensity. Your working metabolism will help you see the bigger picture regarding your body’s needs and determine which low-calorie no-cook meals best fit your dietary needs.
How to Calculate Your Working Metabolism
To calculate your working metabolism, use the Harris-Benedict equation taking into account your physical activity.
- If you have little physical activity, multiply BMR with 1.2
- If you exercise 2–3 per week, multiply BMR with 1.375
- If you exercise 3–5 days per week, multiply BMR with 1.55
- If you exercise 6–7 days a week, multiply BMR with 1.725
- If you exercise two times a day, multiply BMR with 1.9
|DID YOU KNOW: According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should work out two days a week. If you’re too busy to go to the gym twice a week, investing in a home gym might be a good idea.|
2. Buy Pre-Cut Food
If you’re looking for healthy no-cook meals and snacks to include in your diet, fresh fruits and vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, nuts, and seeds are all great choices.
Buying Pre-Cut Vegetables and Fruit
Pre-cut fruit and vegetables are convenient because you can serve them easily, yet you can also use them when making a salad. You can make sure you’re getting all the vitamins that are good for your energy levels while saving time, as many fruits and vegetables can be difficult to prepare.
If you’re looking for food that does not require cooking, these are the best pre-cut vegetable and fruit options to consider:
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Sliced mushrooms
- Fresh beans and string peas
- Pomegranate seeds
On the other hand, not all pre-cut foods are a reasonable option. Some may come with high-price tags, while others are simply inadequate for packaging. Such pre-cut foods include:
- Sliced apples
- Mixed berries
- Hard-boiled eggs
|DID YOU KNOW: A CDC study suggests that adults should eat up to 2 cups of fruits and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.|
|Understanding your body’s nutritional needs is important for establishing a balanced diet.|
|Individuals who want to eat healthy without cooking every day can opt for batch cooking and freezing their meals for the week.|
|Pre-cut foods are convenient and easy to serve.|
|There is a variety of healthy food delivery services that fit different consumer needs and lifestyles.|
|Having healthy snacks at home can help you avoid eating junk food when hunger strikes.|
3. Prepare More Food at Once and Freeze It
Maybe you’re not looking for a no-cooking diet because you don’t enjoy making meals, but simply because you have no time to do so every day. If this is the case, you can cook food in a batch and freeze it.
Many individuals who want to save time opt for healthy batch cooking as a way of having their meals ready in advance and avoiding stressing over meals.
To make the most out of this solution for how to eat healthy with no time to cook, you need to plan it out. However, the first thing you need to do is make an ingredient list of what you need to prepare your meals.
Here are some healthy foods you can include:
- Fruits (grapes, apples, and berries)
- Vegetables (carrots, broccoli)
- Meet (chicken and salmon)
- Grains (oats, brown rice)
Although batch cooking is not fully compatible with the eating healthy without cooking philosophy, it’s a great option to help you feel at ease, especially if you’re cooking for your whole family and not just yourself.
Things to Consider When Freezing Food
- Let the food slightly cool off before storing it.
- Cover your food loosely to protect it from contamination.
- Use freezer bags instead of storage bags.
- Use containers for stews and soups.
- Label your food.
- For healthy food, you don’t have to cook such as fruit, use the dry pack method.
|DID YOU KNOW: A 2020 survey has shown that one-third of Americans say they cook every day, while half of the survey participants said they cook from three to six times a week.|
4. Consider Healthy Delivery Options
If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to eat healthily, you may want to consider meal delivery services, which provide typically healthy and balanced pre-made meals. This can be a great option if you have a busy lifestyle or if you want to enjoy eating healthy without cooking every day.
There are a variety of meal delivery services to choose from, so be sure to do your research before selecting one, making sure the service offers healthy meals that fit your dietary needs.
Here are some popular healthy delivery services:
- Purple Carrot specializes in plant-based meals kits, but non-vegetarians can also enjoy its services. Even though the prep time is usually 30 minutes, it’s a solid option.
- Freshly delivers pre-made gluten-free, protein-packed meals, and it’s considered a great option for extremely busy individuals.
- Mosaic is a great choice for what to eat when you can’t cook for families who value nutrition and are looking for healthy soup and veggie meals.
- Snap Kitchen offers its customers a variety of choices for customizing your meals to regulate your calorie intake, or choosing one of their low-carb or keto subscriptions.
- Freshology offers portion-controlled meals packed with vegetables and fruits. Using their delivery service is a great way to eat healthy without cooking.
- SunBasket picks its ingredients carefully, offering menus for people following paleo diets and gluten-free diets, and also has options for individuals who are managing diabetes.
|DID YOU KNOW: Reports on food delivery show that around 8% of Americans have subscribed to at least one meal delivery service.|
5. Always Have Some Healthy Snack at Home
No matter how healthy your diet is, there will be times when you get hungry between meals, so it’s important to always have some healthy snacks at home. This way, you won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy junk food when hunger strikes.
These snacks also make good healthy lunch ideas that require no cooking and meet the needs of those constantly on the go.
Here are some snacks to consider:
Eating nuts in moderation is a good way to incorporate fiber and protein into your diet. There are plenty of options to choose from such as almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, etc.
Greek Yogurt and Berries
This sweet-savory mix will aid both your protein and antioxidant intake, as berries are packed with antioxidants, while greek yogurt has high protein levels.
Celery Sticks and Cream Cheese
This healthy, low-carb snack is a good addition to low-calorie no-cook meals—the combination of 4 to 5 small celery sticks with an ounce of cream cheese has around 100 calories.
Not only will a protein smoothie keep you full until your next meal, but it will also increase your nutrient intake. There are a variety of different ingredients that can be used to boost the protein power of your smoothies, such as greek yogurt and silken tofu. Preparing it will be a breeze, especially when you have your pre-cut vegetables and fruits at hand.
Oatmeal fits perfectly into no cooking diet plans, as it’s beyond versatile and can be combined with different types of food. Adding avocado, tomatoes or eggs will give your oatmeal a savory taste, while cocoa, cinnamon, and chocolate can make it a sweet delight.
Dark Chocolate and Almonds
This delicious combo is a good source of antioxidants and healthy fats, and a good choice both for something to satisfy your late-night cravings and as an on-the-go snack. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a handful of nuts and a piece of dark chocolate.
Apple Slices With Peanut Butter
If you’re a fan of crisp and creamy food, this snack will definitely make it to your list of healthy food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Apples are rich in fiber, while peanuts deliver healthy fats and protein into the snack. However, pay attention when buying peanut butter, as many brands contain extra oil and sugar.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
One cup of cottage cheese is filled with protein and healthy fats and goes well with fruits dense with fiber. Tropical fruits like watermelon, papaya, and pineapple are some of the most popular picks for cottage cheese and fruit combinations.
|DID YOU KNOW: According to Statista, almost 60% of Americans mentioned cookies as their favorite snack, while only 24% considered vegetables their go-to snack.|
Bonus Tips: Healthy Meals That Require Minimum Preparation
There are plenty of meals that don’t require cooking—soups, salads, nachos, puddings, and smoothies all require minimal preparation and take only minutes to get ready.
Here are some healthy meal recipes to make part of your diet:
Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
- 1 1/5-ounce can of white beans
- two cans of 6-ounce tuna
- 2 chopped plum tomatoes
- 1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, crushed
How to prepare: If you’ve been wondering how to eat healthy when you don’t cook, this 5-minute recipe is the perfect match for you. All you need to do is put some oil, rosemary, garlic, and lemon juice into a bowl, add the tomatoes, beans, and parsley, and stir in the tuna.
20-Minute Black Bean Soup
- 3 cans of black beans (15 oz)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
- 2.5 cups of salsa
How to prepare: Easy soup recipes are a great choice for people who hate cooking. All the ingredients for the Black Bean Soup are put together in a saucepan over medium heat. When the soup starts to simmer, lower the heat, cover it, and leave it to simmer for 10 more minutes until it’s done.
|DID YOU KNOW: Almost 40% of Americans plan on improving their diet in 2022.|
Being busy is no excuse for basing your diet on fast food and continuously making unhealthy food choices. There’s plenty of healthy good food for bad cooks, so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet. You can achieve a healthier lifestyle by making smart food choices, such as buying pre-cut food, preparing meals ahead of time, and always having healthy snacks at home.
Due to navigating busy lifestyles, plenty of people aim for healthy eating without cooking. However, there is no one healthiest way to eat, as eating habits and needs vary from one person to another. Some of the factors that influence those needs are gender, age, and physical activity.
If you’re looking for healthy ways to cook meat, you should steer clear of deep-frying. Slow cooking, press cooking, steaming, baking, and grilling are some of the best ways to cook meat instead.
Foods that are likely to have a negative effect on your diet are highly processed foods, diet products, and food with added sugar.
There’s a variety of healthy foods to choose from, and naming just one as the healthiest is pretty much impossible. However, some of the healthiest foods include spinach, black beans, dark chocolate, avocado, and lemons.
Even if you don’t know your way around the kitchen, there are still some things you can do to lose weight. Some general tips on how to eat healthy without cooking and lose weight include opting for healthy snacks and avoiding eating at night.
There is plenty of junk food available on the market that’s bad for your overall health. Generally, it’s recommended to avoid eating microwave popcorn, soy milk products, hot dogs, fruit canned in syrup, and fast food.