New Veg Hates to Cook, How to Eat Healthy?
I hate to cook. How to have a healthy veg diet? 10 tips for healthy eating with (almost) no cooking
I’ve recently become vegetarian, but I hate to cook. I would like to buy pre-packaged foods, pre-made foods, etc. What do you suggest? Where do you suggest I go? I love tofu and that’s my main source of protein. Help! Thank you, K.H.
Savvy Vegetarian Advice:
That’s a tough one! It’s not that eating healthy without cooking can’t be done. But there’s bound to be some food prep, beyond opening packages. Like heating things up, boiling noodles, tossing salad etc.
And The Fact Is: If you want to have a really healthy vegetarian (or vegan) diet, you’ll need to eat healthy: whole grains, beans and lentils and fresh fruit and veggies.
So please try to overcome your cooking hatred a little bit. The increased variety and nutrition in your diet will make it worth the sacrifice. :-)
10 Tips For a Healthier Veg Diet with (Almost) No Cooking:
1. Make full use of cooking gadgets: juicer, blender, food processor, rice cooker, crock pot, or pressure cooker to make any cooking you HAVE to do quick and easy.
2. Grains: It’s extremely simple to cook whole grains. Make enough to last several days in the fridge, to add to salads, reheat with frozen veg, beans, etc. You can also freeze grains in serving size containers. Brown rice and quinoa are my go-to grains, I also like brown rice pasta and oriental noodles. Couscous is extremely quick and easy.Instant noodles and rice are fine too, but get some whole grains in your diet however you can.
3. Protein: Other sources of veggie protein besides tofu are canned beans, tempeh, seitan, fake meats like veggie burgers, soy crumbles, veggie sausage. Add them to things like grains, stir fries, tacos burritos, salad. Save what you don’t need in fridge or freezer for another meal.
4. Veggies: Many root veggies, like potatoes, yams, winter squash, carrots, beets, parsnips can be roasted in the oven or crockpot or baked in the microwave.
5. Steam or microwave frozen veg or mixed raw veg packages to eat with a grain and some canned beans and a prepared sauce.
6. Raw veggies and fruits can be juiced or added to smoothies made with non-dairy milk, protein powder, nuts etc.
7. Make a crockpot soup once a week and freeze it in serving size containers to microwave or heat up on the stove.
8. Thaw and add a serving of brown rice, noodles or quinoa to a salad with some nuts or seeds or beans for a complete meal.
9. Make pasta or noodles, eat with fried or baked tofu or seitan, steamed frozen veg and a prepared sauce.
10. Stock your fridge and cupboards with foods for quick healthy meals with little or no cooking. Here’s a grocery shopping list of convenience or quick & easy foods you can buy at any well-stocked supermarket, or natural food store:
- Pasta and instant whole grain noodles, rice, quinoa etc
- Whole grain tortillas and breads, whole grain crackers, corn chips (blue corn isn’t gmo)
- Canned beans, refried beans, soups, hummus and pesto
- Nuts and seeds, nut butters, dried fruit, trail mix, energy bars, granola
- Washed salad mixes, washed and chopped veggie mixes, baby spinach, mixed baby greens
- Raw veg like avocados, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, mushrooms, fresh fruit
- Dairy or non-dairy milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese
- Frozen veg, fruit, vegetarian entrees
- Tempeh, seitan, baked tofu, miso, falafel or veggie burger mixes, frozen veggie burgers and other meat substitutes
- Artichoke hearts, olives, water chestnuts, etc.
- Condiments like curry paste, mustard, mayo, ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, salad dressing, tomato sauce and other prepared sauces
Choose carefully what you eat. Read labels. Processed foods tend to be full of things that are Bad For You like excess sodium and fat, preservatives, flavor enhancers like MSG (sometimes called natural flavoring), high fructose corn syrup, and toxic chemicals.
A slightly alkaline diet is widely considered best for health. But in prepared foods, especially canned foods, ascorbic acid is often used as a preservative, and while it prolongs shelf life, it makes foods too acidic for health. Offset that by eating lots of fresh veggies (especially green) and fruit, grains, and drinking spring water or alkaline water.
Buy organic and whole foods as much as possible. Avoid foods with corn and soy products as these are mainly GMO foods, which have many health risks indicated by independent scientific research, and aren’t even close to adequately tested before being approved by the FDA. Do you want to be a science experiment? I don’t!
Consider taking supplements such as a one-a-day multivitamin, Vit. B12 and Vit. D to fill nutritional gaps. Plus buy enriched non-dairy milk and other packaged foods. Get a full nutritional deficiency blood test panel as part of physical check ups.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian