It’s easier to rummage through your pantry and cook instant noodles than to cook a healthy meal which would require you to chop the veggies and stand on the stove for around 30 minutes. But is it healthy?!
We are always looking for a quick fix rather than cook a healthier alternative, resulting in not consuming enough fiber, fruits, and vegetables. Only 14 percent of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables, and 18 percent eat enough fruit. When you cook at home, you control what ingredients go in, and you are aware of what you are consuming.
When we talk about cooking, it is always seen as something complex and that it needs a lot of time to cook something healthier for oneself. This is a major reason people usually shy away from a more nutritious meal and run towards something which fills your stomach instantly and is available easily.
Tips for eating healthy when you don’t cook
You see all these healthy dishes being cooked by fancy chefs on cooking shows, even though it seems like a good idea, but you don’t know where to start from. All of us have these kinds of thoughts when trying to eat healthier.
But you don’t have to fill your stomach with junk food all the time. Even if you don’t cook, you can start by following the below tips to eat better than before!
- Start by buying pre-chopped veggies, frozen fruits, canned beans, and jarred items. Try some vegan dressing as a healthier alternative to your other salad dressings. These are essential items that you can make use out of when you’re too busy or tired to prep a meal.
- Now grocery stores even provide pre-spiralized veggies and stir-fry mixes that just require a quick sauté on a pan before eating. There are salad kits available too!
- You can also get yourself pre-cut fruits which can be handy when you’re running late.
- For meat lovers, too, there are so many easy ways to do this. Don’t have time to cook meat? Now you can buy a fully-cooked rotisserie chicken and cooked meat from buffets and salad bars like Whole Foods or Central Market.
Easy ideas for every meal
- Eggs cooked or hard-boiled are a nutritious and healthy breakfast option. You don’t even need to spend a lot of time cooking it, and it can be paired with a glass of juice.
- A big glass of smoothie will keep you filled up till brunch time. You can add all sorts of fruits into it and blend it quickly, and it will serve as another healthy option.
- A bowl of oatmeal with nuts or fruits or berries on top is another quick fix for your meal in the morning.
- Wraps of a different kind will fill you right up and keep you energetic for after-lunch work.
- Salads are another common option. Not only can you make yourself one, but you can also buy premade salads from grocery shops around you and can pair them with ice tea if you like.
- Sandwiches are something you can make quickly filled with all the veggies you want, and you can even add some delicious sauce to it to make it tasty.
- A plate of pasta with lots of veggies in it makes something you find delicious healthier.
- Chickpea curry (chole) is an Indian dish served with a bowl of rice or naan (bread) and is counted as a delicious and nutrition-filled dish you can enjoy.
- Tacos are easily made and add a great flavor to your meal for the night.
Let me give you some more easy to make healthy food items to start with:
- Avocado toast
- Spicy bean chili
- Veggie frittata
- Sautéed greens
- Grain salad
How to include healthy food in your busy life
When it comes to food, we are all very busy. It always seems like a tedious and complicated task to choose and plan what to cook. Healthy eating is also something you get better at when you follow up on it daily.
Start with your kitchen
Just treat your kitchen like your workspace, where things are kept together neatly. Keeping your kitchen organized and clean would motivate you to go there every day and cook a healthy meal for yourself.
Plan your meals
If you plan your meals carefully and in advance so that you know what to cook when it comes to cooking. The easiest way to do that is to plan your meals on your day off for the coming week. Then go grocery shopping right away to bring the necessary ingredients home.
Pro Tip: The day you plan your meals and go grocery shopping can also be used to clean your kitchen space and fridge thoroughly. This way, you can throw away the expired food items and know what food items are already there!
Always go grocery shopping when you are full-on food and never on an empty stomach. Before you go shopping, always make a list of food items you need and stick to that list. Get everything on your list, and then add 2-3 snack items that you enjoy. Healthy eating doesn’t mean we have to stop eating junk food altogether.
Larger portions for a longer time
Cooking three meals for yourself can make you feel like you’re spending all your time in the kitchen. When you have a busy work life, you don’t want to spend a more significant portion of your day cooking. A simple solution like cooking larger portions at a time can save you a lot of time.
So, when you cook larger portions, you can have some right away and save other portions for the next day. Not only will this save you time spent cooking but also keep you away from deciding all the time what to cook next!
Fruits and veggies
The most essential thing that you can start including in your diet is fruits and vegetables. They are rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Here’s a list of meals you can make:
- Smoothies for breakfast
- Salads for lunch
- Vegetable soup for dinner
- Fruit salad
- Roasted veggies
Most people have this habit of snacking while they are working or if they don’t have time to have a proper meal, they prefer to have light snacks instead, something that fills them up.
For such times you should replace an unhealthy snack with healthy food items which include:
- Bowl of fruits
- Chopped vegetables
- Handful of nuts
- Low-calorie cereal bars
- Low-fat and low-sugar yogurts
Budget-friendly healthy food
If you’re on a tight budget or someone who wants to shop smart, let me tell you some tips to save you money.
- Shop for produce that is currently in season. It is much cheaper and also high in nutrients and flavor.
- Also, shop for frozen fruits that are much cheaper, nutritious, and can be stored longer. It can be used for making smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt.
- Buying grains in bulk and storing them in airtight containers is a good idea. The same goes for beans, lentils, nuts, and dried fruit.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat that can be used in casseroles, burritos, soups, stews, and stir-fries. They can be used to make larger portions of food at a time.
- A few easy but essential items can be grown by you, too, such as tomato, herbs, sprouts, onions, and other things.
- Use those store coupons! Sort through the right ones and use them wisely for food and cleaning products, so you save more money.
- Farmers’ market produce is more affordable, fresh, and healthier than store-bought, so try that.
Just like you work out to make your life better, eating healthy is also essential to keep your life and body better. You don’t have to dive deep into cooking healthier, but you start by shopping smartly and making better choices.
Healthy eating doesn’t require you to invest a lot of time. Instead, shop smartly for frozen fruits, canned, and jarred healthy food items. There are many healthy options to choose from, from a wide variety of salad kits, pre-cut fruits, and cooked chicken.
You can quickly turn your life around by including healthier food into your meals in the form of fruits and vegetables. Even when you are craving a snack, instead of grabbing some junk food, make yourself a bowl full of different fruits or have a handful of nuts. By planning your meals and shopping for ingredients needed, you can save a lot of time.
It’s all about making better choices!