Don’t feel like cooking for the next week? I’ve got a solution for you – My 5 Day No-Cook Meal Plan.
During my early university years, I was a poor cook; I moved around a lot and did not always have access to cooking appliances or cookware. Despite these challenges, I wanted to eat relatively healthy using simple, affordable ingredients. I developed several strategies and ideas for no-cook meals, and today I’m sharing my secrets.
1. Overnight Oats
Three words: cheap, filling and delicious. I’m not joking when I say I ate this everyday for a year during my dietetic internship. So here’s my favourite peanut butter overnight oats recipe and probably the only one I used that year. 5 ingredients, 5 minutes prep time, no fancy methods, and simple ingredients.
If you know me, or have visited my Instagram account, you know I love smoothies and smoothie bowls. It’s a quick and easy way to get in lots of fruits and veggies, they’re super nutritious and so tasty. Need some inspo? Try this mango berry green smoothie – blend 1 cup frozen mango chunks, 1 cup frozen berries, 1 banana, 3 teaspoons chia seeds, 2 cups milk, and 1 cup kale.
I make my smoothie the night before and pour it into a blender bottle, so I can just shake it up the next morning without waking up the whole house.
3. Peanut Butter-Banana Toast
Lather creamy, natural peanut butter onto whole grain toast and then add banana slices. A balanced and scrumptious, breakfast with barely any prep time. Breakfast toast combinations are growing in popularity, if you want more ideas, click here.
4. Greek Yogurt and Granola
I’ve been eating this high-protein, creamy and super filling breakfast option all week. Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt, and if you’re worried about fat, you can get lower-fat versions too. This deliciousness combined with crunchy, sweet granola is a great way to start the day, especially if you workout in the morning and want to boost your muscle-building and recovery.
5. Avocado Toast
Mash half an avocado with a fork, and squeeze some lemon juice over, season with kosher salt and pepper. Spread the mashed avocado mixture onto toast, and top with cherry tomatoes, arugula and feta. If you want to elevate your toast game, you can drizzle it with balsamic glaze.
1. Veggie-Hummus Wraps
Protein-rich hummus, can be either store-bought or homemade. I’m thrifty, so make my own at home – check out this simple hummus recipe. A slather of this delicious, hearty spread and sliced veggies make the perfect, no-mess, nutritious meal. You can add avocado too if you’re feeling fancy. I like to carry extra hummus in a container and pair it with cut-up vegetables for an extra snack.
2. Rotisserie Chicken Life
Roasting your own chicken must be delicious, however I do not have the time or effort when I can get a Rotisserie Chicken for not a lot of money at the grocery store. Sometimes I’d even buy two for the week, cut up/shred this excellent source of protein and prep sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Check out this dill honey-mustard chicken salad pita recipe and skip the chicken roasting step.
3. Lettuce Wraps
As more restaurants offer ‘protein-style’ or ‘lettuce-wrapped’ options, and people shy away from carbs, I thought it would be fitting to add this one in. Make use of your rotisserie chicken in this chicken salad lettuce wrap recipe.
4. Mexican-inspired Mason Jar Salad
I’ve always loved carrying salads to work and school, but hate bringing the dressing separately or adding it in before and ending up with a soggy salad! Here’s the solution – mason jar salads. I love corn and black beans in my salad so here’s how I make mine – in a mason jar, I pour ¼ cup salsa first, then 1 ½ tablespoons of Greek yogurt. Next, I layer the following ingredients, starting with tomatoes, onions, black beans, corn, avocado, cheese, and ending with romaine and cilantro. At lunch, I pour it all into a bowl or an empty Tupperware, mix it together, and eat. There’s tons of mason jar salad recipes out there, so get searching.
5. Couscous Salads
If you’re thinking, don’t you have to cook couscous? No, you don’t. To “cook” couscous, simply add water or broth to a bowl of couscous, and let it sit for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. That’s it! You can then combine the “cooked” couscous, with toppings of your choice.
I like to eat couscous with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, a squeeze of lemon and fresh pepper.
I love all kinds of tacos, especially ones where I don’t have to put in a lot of work to make. My no-cook taco style involves using rotisserie chicken (I told you, it’s life), avocado, red onion, crumbled queso fresco, black beans, olives, jalapeño, bell pepper, lettuce and salsa. Spoon the ingredients into tortillas and enjoy! If you don’t have chicken, just use more beans.
2. Chilled Soup
Did you know you can make soup in a food processor? Chilled soup is easy to make and great for a hot summer day. If you want to try it out, here’s a chilled cucumber soup recipe.
3. Charcuterie Platter
A variety of meats, cheeses, baguette slices and veggies can be a simple and flavourful meal. Mix hard and soft meats and cheeses, and always include some crisp, acidic pickled items as a balance to the rich, fattiness of the meat and cheese. I like to add nuts and olives, a variety of mustards, and something sweet like a fig jam. Finally, don’t forget a good quality bread or cracker (or both) that can be used as a vehicle for transporting all that goodness to your taste buds. Keep in mind that the cost can add up quickly for this one.
Joshua and I like to make charcuterie boards for special Friday night dinners at home.
4. Salad Rolls
Inspired by the many salad rolls I eat at Vietnamese restaurants, I decided to start making my own and they are dang delicious. A salad roll is basically a salad inside a rice paper roll, creating a fresh, crunchy summer roll. If you’re new to the salad roll world, here’s a veggie-based recipe.
5. Stuffed Avocados
I love avocados for their healthy fats and how filling they are. I also love tuna (sorry to those who are disgusted with me right now). But these babies paired together with a little seasoning make a quick and satisfying, on-the-go meal. This was my go-to, in-between classes university dinner. Before leaving home, I would cut open the avocado and remove the pit, stuff some tuna in, and drizzle hot sauce, lemon and salt. Citrus helps preserve the colour a little bit. Once at school, I pulled out a spoon and my little avocado in my Ziploc and ate away! You can turn this into a sandwich, use crab meat instead of tuna, and add your desired spices. Check out this Caprese stuffed avocado recipe if you want to get fancy.
- Fruit – apple, orange, berries, banana, etc.
- Air popped popcorn, lightly salted
- Handful of almonds
- Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- Laughing cow or Babybel cheese
- Edamame pods
- Chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning (I like salt, pepper and paprika)
- Rice cakes with peanut butter/cream cheese
- Hummus/ranch/guacamole/tzatziki and vegetables
- Tuna or cheese with crackers
Did you find these no-cook meal and snack ideas helpful? Do you have more ideas/tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments below.