So over cooking, but know it’s a must to lose weight? No worries! I’m going to cover how to eat for weight loss when you don’t like to cook.
Because there’s no doubt about it. Cooking at home is THE BEST WAY to hit your weight loss goals. When you avoid fast food and have more control over your food’s prep, you’re able to cut out salt, sugar, fats, and loads of unnecessary calories.
The trouble arises when you get tired of spending all day in the kitchen cooking – and who has time for that? Eating for weight loss becomes a lot harder when you only have raw broccoli and chicken in the fridge and no motivation to cook it.
But if you’re under the impression that the only way to eat healthy at home is through hours of meticulous planning and cooking, you are horribly mistaken.
All it takes is a little strategy and a few clever hacks.
This post covers 9 tips to make your healthy eating at home simple, quick, and effective for weight loss.
Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!
How to Eat for Weight Loss – 9 Life-Saving Cooking Hacks
1. Create an arsenal of easy, low-carb breakfasts
You can probably tell from this tip that I’m a supporter of eating breakfast each morning. It’s been proven time and again that eating breakfast provides loads of benefits, including more energy/concentration throughout the day, eating less overall fat, and meeting nutritional requirements for fiber and other various nutrients. Of course, that’s if you eat the right things.
Otherwise it can absolutely sabotage you.
So what you need is a list of healthy, simple breakfasts that take little time to assemble. Creating a list can help you easily start your day on the right foot.
2. Cook enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day
Ain’t nobody got time to cook at lunch, even if you are working from home. Which makes it extra tempting to stop by the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru every day.
Instead, reap the rewards of your hard work the night before. Double up on recipe amounts each time you cook dinner so you can have a delicious, home-cooked meal already made when lunch rolls around.
3. Get 2-3 store-bought frozen meals each week
While home cooking is best for healthy eating, another of my cooking hacks for losing weight doesn’t actually involve any cooking.
Two words: FROZEN MEALS.
We ALL get busy. There will be days you’re simply too busy to cook dinner or you don’t have leftovers on reserve for lunch. I’m realistic. I know it happens.
So look around the freezer aisle and snag a few of their healthier, pre-made options that look edible. Something with veggies is ideal.
Personally, I love Amy’s frozen meals. They’re all vegetarian, actually delicious, and inexpensive. My go-to is the Pad Thai, and I eat it at least once a week. Sure, it has a little more sodium than I’d prefer, but every once in awhile that’s just fine.
4. Have a couple quick, go-to dinners
A KEY tip of mine is to have a couple go-to dinners that you get good at cooking and don’t take long to whip up.
You should make these recipes frequently so you don’t even need a recipe. They also should only require a few ingredients that are easy to keep on hand.
Arguably the MOST important feature is they should be fast, ideally, less than 20 minutes start to finish. This greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll actually make them.
Because no matter how delicious a recipe is, if it takes 45-60 minutes to make, it’s just not happening.
5. Cook with pre-prepped ingredients
Buying pre-prepped ingredients is another key hack if you don’t like to cook.
Pre-cut veggies are a big one. Imagine how much time you’ll save by not having to cut a single vegetable for a stir-fry or tray bake. While they’re slightly more expensive to buy pre-cut, they’ll save you money in the end because you’ll actually use them.
Store-bought sauces are extremely helpful too. Just be careful because there are a lot of unhealthy ones out there that’ll negate the benefits of home cooking. These 7 store-bought sauces get my stamp of approval.
6. Set a start time for cooking dinner
This is a tip I wish I’d picked up sooner.
The later it gets and the hungrier you are, the less likely you are to cook your planned meals. By setting a specific time to start cooking – say, 6pm – you make cooking a part of your routine and ensure that food is ready by the time you’re hungry.
Seriously, give this one a try!
7. Have a couple healthy go-to snacks
Just as it’s helpful to have go-to dinners, having healthy snacks already stockpiled is the best way to prevent a random unhealthy binge.
And when I say go-to snacks, I mean ones with nooo prep required.
Most of the times I planned to MAKE a snack at home, the ingredients ended up staying untouched in my pantry.
Why? Because it’s hard enough carving out time and motivation to cook dinners, let alone finding the energy to also make snacks. At least not on a regular basis.
So I recommend having a few go-to snacks that require no prep on your part. Some of my current favorites are:
- Think! bars
- Baby carrots/pita chips dipped in hummus
- Apple slices dipped in almond butter
- Chobani less sugar strawberry yogurt
8. Have a healthy dessert option planned
The times I’ve failed to plan a healthy dessert alternative are the nights I’ve ended up going out for ice cream. It’s so easy for me too – there’s an amazing ice cream place mere minutes from my apartment.
So what I like to do instead is have a few healthy dessert alternatives available at all times.
What’s a healthy dessert alternative, you may ask? It’s a sweet food that’s low in added sugar, satisfying that sweet tooth without ruining the day’s healthy eating.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and banana smoothie (using MyProtein chocolate brownie whey protein powder in this makes it legit taste like ice cream)
- Apple slices dipped in nut butter, coconut flakes, and a few chocolate chips
- Dates with a piece or two of dark chocolate
- Dark chocolate covered frozen bananas
- “Nice” cream (frozen bananas blended with another frozen fruit, such as raspberries or blueberries)
9. If you do order takeout, get the healthiest option
While trying to cook at home more, eating out WILL still happen. It’s not because you’re lazy or lack any willpower. It’s because we get busy and stressed! It happens!
Wondering how to eat for weight loss when you realize you’re destined for a takeout night?
When this occurs, don’t instantly go for rich, indulgent, comfort food. Just because you’re getting takeout doesn’t mean it has to be horribly unhealthy.
Aim to get the healthiest thing on the menu. And if you do get something unhealthy, keep the portion small.
A good example is when I accidentally forgot my lunch for work a week ago. There’s not a single healthy takeout option around my workplace, so I opted to make the best of the Wendy’s menu. I got the half apple pecan salad and a 4 piece chicken nuggets. While not the healthiest thing on the planet, it was certainly healthier than a large cheeseburger and fries!
Some other ideas include:
- Panera: light soup and salad
- Pizza place: side salad and eat only half of a small veggie-laden pizza
- Chipotle: a salad with no rice, sour cream, corn salsa, or extra scoops
Eating takeout doesn’t have to destroy your weight loss dreams. You just need to be strategic!
Cooking at home is definitely the BEST way to accomplish your weight loss goals. Even if you don’t like to cook, it’s still possible to make home cooking work for you. You just have to keep it simple, efficient, and stick to a plan.