I love eating healthy, but I hate to cook. I know, I know — this is the utmost in First World problems, but I promise the struggle is real. There are many of us out there: people who can’t be bothered to cook but don’t want to eat crap like fast food. I’m here for you. I’ve gathered the best cooking hacks to make eating healthy easy and almost effortless.
1. Ditch the buns.
If you haven’t caught on by now, cauliflower is the All-Star impostor of the kitchen. You can still enjoy a hot, juicy burger with a strategic substitution: Try a low-carb burger on a cauliflower bun.
2. Bake hard-boiled eggs for the week.
A dozen eggs, 325 degrees F (yes, in the oven), 30 minutes — you’ve got a healthy snack or quick breakfast for your commute.
3. Ditch the mashed potatoes.
Cauliflower makes a creamier and healthier potato dish. Even better, enjoy mashed cauliflower without the guilt at only 142 calories per cup.
4. Make 3-ingredient paleo pancakes.
Bananas, eggs and coconut flour make the easiest, lightest paleo pancakes you’ve ever tasted.
5. Keep premade breakfast smoothies in the freezer.
Speaking of breakfast and healthy snacks, portion out smoothie ingredients into Ziploc bags to freeze for the week. Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, kale, spirulina powder and a dash of cinnamon — get creative to squeeze in your nutrition for the day.
6. Scramble eggs the night before.
I always have wet scrambled eggs on hand in the refrigerator. Microwave them for 30 seconds for a healthy breakfast. Most people are skeptical, but it really works. Bonus: A balanced breakfast of two scrambled eggs and toast is less than 300 calories.
7. Ditch the pasta.
Two words to keep dinnertime carbs to a minimum: spaghetti squash in your favorite pasta recipe at 40 calories a cup.
8. Pump up packaged foods.
Veggies are filling, nutritious and affordable. You can trick yourself into dining well on a dime by putting veggies into everything, and I mean everything — canned soups, jarred pasta sauce and frozen dinners.
9. Skip the spaghetti sauce.
To keep it light, Alfredo sauce is off the table, but no one said anything about avocados. Mix 1 clove of minced garlic, juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of basil and 1/2 an avocado to toss with your steamed spaghetti squash.
10. Fake your pizza.
One slice of whole-grain bread topped with 2 spoonfuls of ricotta, 1 shredded basil leaf, 2 thin slices of tomato, a dash of olive oil and some salt and pepper, and you’ll never miss the real thing.
11. Bake your protein.
If you’re trying to trim the fat, then keep it simple: Bake chicken or fish with olive oil and lemon juice for half an hour. The meat will stay moist and flavorful without drying out.
12. Rethink your tofu.
Tofu comes in light at only 79 calories for a 3-ounce serving. If you can’t stomach the texture, then fire up the grill. Grill tofu until browned on each side, and then pair it with your favorite sauce.
More on healthy eating
What is really in your orange juice
The food pairing that will help you absorb more nutrients
1-Day meal plan with the 41 healthiest fruits and veggies