12 No-Cook Meals for Quick and Easy Meal Prep
No-Cook Meal Planning
Meal Prep, As you begin preparing for a healthier diet, you might be a little concerned about how much prep, planning, and cooking you need to do. Many people struggle with cooking their own meals, whether it is because they lack the time, energy, or they simply don’t enjoy doing it. They might hate washing the dishes, don’t have the time to spend cooking, or they may have less interest in cooking and more interest in doing other activities. Although this response is completely normal, it is not a reason to avoid eating healthy. This report discusses no-cooking meal plans. It includes helpful tips for creating a meal plan with dishes that don’t require you to do any cooking whatsoever! This idea is awesome! Take a look.
What is a No-Cook Meal Plan?
First, let’s discuss what a no-cook meal plan is. Simply put, it is a meal plan that consists of dishes you need not cook. While there is still some prep work and you still must put it all together, you are not turning on a stove or oven to complete the meals. Naturally, some meals will still need to be cooked throughout the week, but these meal ideas and tips are only for the dishes in between that don’t require you to cook anything. Simply store them in microwaveable containers and place the refrigerator or freeze until you are ready to eat them.
The hot days of summer are quickly approaching, so having options that don’t require you to heat up the kitchen (beyond the normal heat) will be great. The Benefits of a No-Cook Meal Plan There are quite a few benefits to choosing a no-cook meal plan. Here are some of the top benefits:
Prep and Planning Day is Much Easier
Meal planning and prepping typically involves one day of complete dedication to getting meals ready for the week. This day goes a lot faster when you only must worry about grocery shopping and prepping ingredients instead of having to also cook. This idea simplifies the process quite a bit. It Saves You Time – Naturally, the no-cook meal plan will save time. You don’t have to worry about turning on the stove and waiting for your food to cook and you aren’t using the oven for an hour or so each evening just to cook a meal. You not only save time by not having to cook, but you also save time by not having a ton of dishes to wash. This is a HUGE bonus for me!
Avoid Heating Up Your Kitchen
Sometimes you want to eat healthily and would like to prepare a nutritious and yummy meal, but it is too hot in your kitchen. Maybe you are in the middle of a heatwave, and the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. Aside from using a slow cooker (I personally don’t like using them), you don’t have many options for preparing a nice meal without using heat. Luckily, this meal plan doesn’t require heating up your home.
You Can Still Be Healthy
Don’t assume that only healthy meals are the ones you have to cook. There are tons of other ways to be healthy while having filling meals with the no-cook meal plan. The Ultimate Plant-Based Recipe Collection has a variety of healthy vegetarian dishes that are either no-cook or are quick and easy to cook. You can make these healthy dishes in advance or on the fly.
Healthy No-Cook Breakfasts to Start Your Day
Now that you understand the no-cook meal plan is and its many benefits, you can begin thinking of meals for the week. It is always good to start with a healthy breakfast. Not only is it the first meal of the day, but it is considered the most important. Ironically, it tends to be the meal that most people end up skipping because of the lack of time. Luckily, you can have deliciously prepared meals that don’t require cooking. Check out these different no-cook breakfasts.
Breakfast toast must be toasted, which requires cooking, but a bagel doesn’t. These taste great even when they aren’t toasted, and they can be good for a quick no-cook meal. Sometimes, I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds to heat it up (put a damp paper towel around it so it doesn’t dry out). Think of what you would put on top of your breakfast toast and instead put it on top of whole wheat or whole-grain bagels. Things like mashed avocado, salmon and veggies, hummus, and just about anything else tastes great on a bagel.
A smoothie is a perfect breakfast. It is quite easy to make, healthy, sweet, and a perfect on-the-go option. You can make them in the morning, or you can get the batch made the night before, so it is ready in the morning. It is as easy as grabbing the smoothie on your way out the door, preventing you from grabbing a donut or driving through a fast-food restaurant for an unhealthy breakfast. Smoothies can be made with ice, but instead, use some already prepared frozen fruit. You need liquid, such as milk (I like non-dairy milk), along with yogurt, and anything else to add nutrition and flavor, such as protein mix, chia seeds, or oats.
Oatmeal is a delicious and healthy breakfast that is incredibly easy to make, but it does require cooking. A great alternative is to make overnight oats, where you soak the rolled oats for at least 8 hours, then wake up to cold ‘oatmeal’. There are tons of recipes to create yours at home. The basic recipe is to soak the oats in milk and additives like maple syrup and chia seeds. An even easier option is to buy Oats Overnight, which significantly reduces the prep time. All you need to do it add the milk, shake, and pop it into the fridge. They have several different flavors to choose from. My favorite is blueberry cobbler!
Lunch and Dinner with No Cooking
Now is time to talk about some no-cook meals for the rest of the remainder of your day, including lunch, dinner, and between-meal snacks. These meals are either cold or room temperature, so they don’t need cooking. You might be surprised by how much you can do without turning on a microwave, stove, or oven.
Naturally, there are several no-cook salads out there, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring! You can get creative and have a delicious salad without cooking a thing. Also, these are healthier for you since they contain a ton of veggies and other nutritious ingredients. For all these salads, you can put them in a container beforehand, if you keep the dressing separate. Here are some different salad options to try:
Apple, Walnut, and Spinach Salad
This salad takes simple ingredients and turns them into a fun and creative salad (it is also beautiful). You can start with spinach as your greens, or use greens mixed with some spinach mixed in. Top that with diced apples and walnuts, and you are ready to go! You can get creative by adding more fruit such as raisins or cranberries. This tastes good without dressing, but you can also put something like balsamic dressing in a separate container.
Tuna Antipasti Salad
An antipasti salad is one with luncheon meats and other ingredients in an Italian-style salad. You can go one step further by turning it into a salad with tuna on top. Tuna from a pouch or can doesn’t need any cooking, and it can add more protein to the salad to make it a more filling option.
Believe it or not, you can make a salad with chicken and not have to worry about cooking the chicken. Get a rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket, cut it up, and put the chicken in containers. You can use this for various chicken dishes that are cold, including a fun lime chicken salad. Add the chicken along with snap peas and lime dressing.
Sandwiches and Wraps
The next option for a lunch or dinner that is healthy and doesn’t require cooking is to make a sandwich or wrap. If you don’t want to have a boring sandwich, try adding different combinations. For example, you can turn the apple and spinach salad into a wrap or sandwich. Use low-carb or whole grain bread with thin apple slices, spinach, and some feta cheese. This can also be made into a wrap with a whole-wheat or spinach wrap. This also tastes amazing on a croissant. Another option is to make an Italian vegetable hoagie, using only veggies and with no meat to cut down on fat and calories.
Don’t forget that some soup doesn’t actually need any cooking. A popular one is Gazpacho, which is a type of tomato soup that combines tomato ingredients and several seasonings. You can also make a Thai soup or a coconut curry soup that is healthy and doesn’t require turning on the stove (yummy!).
The last idea for a no-cook lunch or dinner is to make a stuffed veggie dish. Here are a couple of different stuffed veggie options to try out:
Avocadoes are perfect when you are trying to eat healthy, whether for nutrition, to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, or when you are trying to lose weight. They also taste great and are very versatile. You can turn them into a light lunch by cutting it in half, removing the pit, and adding some diced tomato, mozzarella cheese, and balsamic vinegar. This turns it into a nice Caprese-style stuffed avocado. As an alternative, you can stuff it with tuna salad. Try using your apple, walnut, spinach as another stuffing.
Another option is to make stuffed tomatoes. This is a good alternative to a stuffed pepper since it doesn’t require any baking. You can stuff the open tomato with anything, though a nice mixture of chopped veggies like corn, bell peppers, and onions is a light and flavorful option.
Essential Tips for No-Cook Meal Prep and Planning
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when you want to meal plan and prep with no cooking involved. It helps you get more into the meal planning process and not make mistakes that others tend to make.
Use Meat That Doesn’t Require Cooking
Just because you don’t want to cook anything, doesn’t mean you can’t use meat and seafood in your meals. For example, both tuna and imitation crab often come in cans, pouches, or even at the deli counter. You can get a container and add it to stuffed tomatoes or avocadoes, fill a wrap, or top a salad. You can buy a cooked rotisserie chicken and turn it into a variety of no-cook meals.
Luncheon meat can be another option as well. Just be careful with the salt and sodium content. I highly recommend getting sliced lunch meat from the deli counter because it tends to have fewer preservatives and other undesirable additives and it tastes better than the pre-packaged versions.
Dedicate One Day for Meal Prepping
When you are meal planning–even if you aren’t planning to cook anything–you need to have enough time for the prepping. Try to set aside one full day or at least half a day with nothing else to do but plan out your meals and get some of the prepping done. Here are some things to do during your prepping day:
- Develop a detailed meal plan, including every meal of the day for a week.
- Go grocery shopping with a pre-made list and pick everything up.
- Cut up all fruits and veggies, store them in appropriate containers.
- Assemble salads in mason jars or containers for use later.
- Have snacks in portion-controlled containers so they are easy to grab.
Prepare the Salads in Jars or Containers
Speaking of salads, this is one thing that is super easy to prepare beforehand on prep day. Remember that all the salad ingredients can be put together in a jar or container. Mason jars are perfect for prepping salads. Since lettuce and other greens are light and can wilt easily, they should go on top. When layering the jars, put the heavier and denser items on the bottom, with the lighter ingredients like greens on top of the jar. Keep the dressing, oil, and vinegar in a separate container.
As you can see, there are several no-cook meal options out there. Enjoy and Be OrganicallYou!