How to do TrimHealthyMama when you hate cooking (or don’t have time!)

Last week on the TrimHealthyMama© Facebook page, a discussion was prompted by one woman’s lament that she couldn’t do THM because she just didn’t love cooking. She complained that she didn’t want to spend hours a day in her kitchen, that crafts were more her thing.

There were a ton of comments. Some people took the stance that cooking for oneself is a worthwhile endeavor. You’re worth it, your health is worth it… etc.

That’s very true.

However, for those who hate to cook or just don’t have much time, it’s of little help.

It’s a misconception that you must spend hours in the kitchen every day in order to do TrimHealthyMama.

If you hate cooking or simply don’t have much time to do so, pay special attention to the Drive Thru Sue sections of the Plan book.

Everyone has to eat, so we all have to devote SOME time to food prep, but it’s possible to spend only minutes a day cooking if you think ahead a little and are prepared.

How to do TrimHealthyMama when you hate cooking or don't have time!

That conversation inspired me to come up with a list of easy meals and snacks that don’t require any real “cooking”. I do enjoy cooking, but because I have 7 kids, my husband and I are both self-employed and I homeschool, I’m also a very busy lady. I don’t wish to spend hours a day in the kitchen either.

Note that NONE of these meals and snack ideas require buying the THM cookbook! First, before I list the easy, no-cook THM-friendly meals and snacks, here are a few general bits of advice for simplifying meal preparation.

Tips for making meal prep easier when doing TrimHealthyMama:

  • Cook once, eat twice. When you do prepare a meal, cook twice as much and freeze (or refrigerate) half.
  • Cook a batch of oatmeal once a week (even simpler, make overnight slow cooker oats – Google for a million recipes). Separate into smaller containers and freeze or (refrigerate) and you have “E” breakfasts all week.
  • Do the same with brown rice, which freezes beautifully. Instant side dish for “E” dinners or lunches. Go here to learn how to cook brown rice in half the time.
  • Make a family-size cake or batch of muffins. Separate into portion sizes and freeze. You’ll have breakfast or snacks for the week! (I do this often with Bust-a-Myth banana cake and Trimtastic Zucchini Cake.)
  • Cook several sweet potatoes in the oven or slow cooker at once and refrigerate. You can have one small sweet potato for lunch or dinner in an “E” meal.
  • Throw several chicken breasts (FP or E) or thighs or drumsticks (S) into the slow cooker with salt and pepper. When cooked, separate and refrigerate or freeze. You now have an easy protein source for lunches and dinners. Just add a frozen veggie or a bagged salad (or sweet potato or brown rice) and it’s dinner.
  • There are some helpful bloggers who do freezer cooking, THM style. A quick internet search turned up these three: the Sunny Patch, Artful Homemaking, and Working at Homeschool. I’m sure there are many more.
  • Buy pre-sliced, frozen bell peppers and seasoning mix (frozen onion/celery/bell pepper, diced) for super-simple sides with eggs or ground meat skillet “hash”. No chopping, no mess.
  • Cook a large stockpot full of soup (such as chili – easy and filling and can be made E or S style) and eat lunch and/or dinner all week.
  • Cook a large batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the fridge for easy protein.

And here is my list of easy-peasy, (nearly) no-cook TrimHealthyMama-friendly meals and snacks! 

Quick Trim Healthy Mama Breakfasts

These breakfasts can be on the table in less than 2 minutes time.

  • Eggs prepared how you like them (scrambled/fried/hard-boiled), with or without cheese (S)
  • Bacon or pork sausage (S)
  • Canadian bacon or lean ham (FP)
  • Turkey bacon or turkey sausage (FP) (note: these meats are probably not enough to fill you up, I’m listing them here so you know what fuel type they can mix with)
  • Oatmeal (E) (with fruit, cottage cheese, eggs whites mixed in while cooking, collagen or 0% Greek yogurt for protein)
  • Slow cooker oatmeal: 1 cup old-fashioned oats and 3 1/2 cups water, dash salt cooked on Low 4-6 hours. (E)
  • “Instant” oatmeal. Blend old-fashioned oats in the blender until chopped (stop before it’s flour-like). Store in plastic zipper bags or small storage containers. Use 1/2 cup for a serving. Add 3/4 boiling water to each, cover and let sit for a few minutes. (E)
  • Leftover brown rice, warmed, with chopped apples or other fruit (E)
  • Sprouted grain toast with fruit and 0% Greek yogurt (E)
  • Smoothies (the THM cookbook is helpful here, but there are thousands of THM-safe recipes online for free)
  • 0% Greek yogurt with peanut butter (S) (can add up to 1/2 cup berries too)
  • 0% Greek yogurt with serving of fruit (E)
  • 0% Greek yogurt with small serving berries (FP)
  • Overnight Thermos oatmeal: Place 1/4 cup steel cut oats in a Thermos, add 1 1/2 c boiling water. Seal and leave until morning. In the morning, pour out excess water or just stir in. (E)
  • If you have an electric rice cooker, it’s perfect for easy, hands-off oatmeal (as well as rice of course!). Just place water and oats in it and press the button. (E) I love my rice cooker and use it several times a week. It’s no fail, perfect rice or oatmeal, every time, with no burning.

Easy Quick Trim Healthy Mama Lunches

All of the lunch ideas would be fabulous for dinner too, and vice versa.

  • Bagged salad with leftover cooked meat, storebought creamy (sugarless) dressing (S)
  • Bagged salad with cold canned beans, fruit on the side, sugarless vinaigrette (E)
  • Smoothies (there are legions of THM-friendly recipes online, Google them) FP/E/S, depending on ingredients
  • Canned beans of choice with brown rice and salsa (E)
  • Canned beans with sweet potato, top with 0% Greek yogurt and seasonings (E)
  • Avocado, tomato, cucumber salad topped with mayo (S)
  • Tuna with mayo on salad or bell pepper cups or cucumber slices (S)
  • Tuna with Tabasco on bell pepper cups or cucumber slices (FP)
  • Small baked sweet potato topped with cooked frozen seasoning mix (onion/celery/bell pepper) and small amount of low-fat cheese, cottage cheese or 0% Greek yogurt (E)
  • Small baked sweet potato topped with chicken breast or lean ham (E)
  • Hamburger patty cooked, served with salad or frozen green veggies (S)
  • Ground turkey cooked with frozen veggies to make an easy skillet “hash” (FP)
  • Ground beef cooked with frozen veggies to make an easy skillet “hash”, with or without cheese (S)
  • Avocado/tomato/mayo sandwich on open-face sprouted grain bread (S) (1 slice ok in an S meal)
  • Turkey or lean ham lunch meat on sprouted grain bread (E)
  • Lettuce wraps – a large piece of Romaine wrapped around tuna, leftover cooked chicken or beef, ham – (S, E or FP depending on the filling)
  • Black bean soup – can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Add chicken broth, salsa and seasonings (cumin, salt, pepper, Mexican-style spices) (E)

Easy and Quick Trim Healthy Mama Dinners

  • Rotisserie chicken with bagged salad and store bought ranch or Bleu cheese dressing (S)
  • Fast-food burger with NO bun (order it “low carb” or “lettuce wrap”) (S)
  • Fast-food grilled chicken nuggets with side salad (S)
  • Pre-formed hamburger patties with salad or green veggies on the side (frozen veggies are easy and quick)
  • Hot dogs (S)
  • Pre-chopped, bagged coleslaw cooked with Bratwurst (S)
  • Quesadilla – use a sprouted grain tortilla or Joseph’s wrap, stuff with cheese, serve with sour cream, avocado and salsa (S)
  • Sprouted grain tortilla or Joseph’s wrap pizza – spread with jarred spaghetti sauce, cheese, pepperoni, melt in toaster over or under broiler  (S)
  • Veggie scramble: frozen sliced bell peppers, cooked with eggs. Add cheese if you wish. (S)
  • Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken: throw a few chicken breasts, frozen or fresh, into the slow cooker along with frozen chopped bell peppers and a jar of salsa (if you don’t have salsa, use canned diced tomatoes, or just Mexican spices). Add seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder) and cook on High for 4 hours. (E if served with brown rice or beans. Add cheese and sour cream for S.)

Quick Trim Healthy Mama Snacks

  • olives (S)
  • slices of pepperoni (S)
  • beef jerky (S)
  • cubes of cheese, cheese sticks (S)
  • part-skim mozzarella cheese stick (FP)
  • celery with peanut butter (S)
  • celery sticks or baby carrots with hummus (E)
  • celery sticks or (just a few) baby carrots with 0% Greek yogurt (FP)
  • small handful of nuts or seeds (S)
  • piece of fruit with cottage cheese or 0% Greek yogurt (E)
  • berries with cottage cheese (FP)
  • berries with 0% Greek yogurt (FP)
  • piece of fruit with 0% Greek yogurt (E)
  • 0% Greek yogurt with peanut butter (S)
  • 0% Greek yogurt with peanut flour (FP)
  • 000 Dannon Oikos yogurt (FP)
  • a bit of dark chocolate (I love Lily’s chocolate,  which is sweetened with stevia) and nuts (S)
  • Laughing cow cheese (FP)
  • Avocado with salsa (S)
  • Pickle wrapped with thin-sliced lunch meat (FP)
  • Lunch meat and cheese (S)
  • Sliced cucumber with tuna atop (FP)
  • Popcorn with nutritional yeast (or garlic powder, cinnamon and stevia or other fat-free topping) (E)
  • Plain whole milk yogurt (S) (add stevia and berries)
  • Smoothies – search THM-friendly recipes
  • Instant cheesecake” – cream cheese, sliced strawberries, chopped pecans (S)

That should be enough to keep you busy for a while, no?

What do you think? Does eating TrimHealthyMama-style require spending hours in the kitchen? What are your favorite quick and easy meals and shortcuts?

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50+ ideas for super-fast Trim Healthy Mama meals and snacks

45 Comments


  1. //

    Thank you for such great ideas. I enjoy cooking, but sometimes I am tired or rushed for time so I like quick and easy. There is really no excuse for not staying on plan! We also enjoy taco salad and egg roll in a bowl. Minimal cooking required.


  2. //

    I want to thank you so much for doing this, I have been watching and reading posts for almost 6 months and have wanted to start but I am completely lost. I now have the biggest tool to get started if you were close by I would hug you.

    Again you are an angel thank you

    Anna


  3. //

    I loved this! It gave me some ideas. I have thought the opposite of THM…. that I actually cook less….and eat more. All in the mind, all in the mind….thanks! When I gave up the 5 big whites in my life, I immediately began to trim down and have stayed true to it for now over a year. My husband loves THM and supports me but I know that all women do not have that kind of support. I’m glad my friend posted your blog. I will read it! Check out my blog which ended December 31, 2015. My daughter and I blogged for one full year with a purpose in mind, but you can pull it up “Let’s Get to Know Him”…may be something that will encourage you…never know do we?


  4. //

    Thank you for this list! It really helps when I have run out of ideas or too tired to figure it out!


  5. //

    Thanks for linking to workingathomeschool.com! This is a great post, I’ll share it with my readers today. :)


  6. //

    Great list! We are in the middle of remodeling our kitchen ourselves (read: taking a long time to finish!!!) and I find it difficult to do THM without my normal kitchen amenities (stove, kitchen sink, etc.). This really helps. Thanks for sharing!


    1. //

      ooh that is tough. I think a lot of these options will be great for summer as well when we don’t want to heat up the house with the oven or sweat over the stove for long periods.


  7. //

    Your family sounds a lot like mine. We have 7 kiddo, own our own business and Home School! I do love to cook, but this list is still a great reminder for me when I don’t plan ahead very well :)


  8. //

    That is the number one reason I haven’t started 100%. Plus I get confused with fuel, S and E. ?


  9. //

    For any and all of you that want to save time and spend less time in the kitchen my advice is to purchase an Instant Pot! I love it and am amazed at how quickly I can cook an entire chicken or roast. It was a game changer in my opinion!


  10. //

    Lots of great ideas! Just a note, always be sure to include protein (a couple items missing ), and one slice of sprouted bread added to an S meal should be labeled S-helper.

    Can’t wait to try some of these- thanks!


  11. //

    This is a big help, thank you. Also, wondering if you have any advice. I quit teaching to stay home with my baby and she is five now, I really don’t want to have to get a job and not be here for her. What do you do from home? I feel lost in life right now, I have been praying God will show me what I am supposed to be doing.


  12. //

    Wow this is great!!! I will be leading a group this Fall at church and I know your article will be a great resource. While I follow the plan I am a drive through sue when it comes to organizing too, lol all over the place! Thank you Carrie for all your hard work.


  13. //

    Carrie, thanks for taking the time to put this list together – very helpful! Just beginning my THM journey and these easy ideas give me encouragement. Much appreciated! Blessed 4th of July weekend to you and your family :=)



  14. //

    Thank you so much for this info. I have been ready the books and the posts and have not known how to start. I do not enjoy cooking and do not have much time to spend int he kitchen. This will give me a great starting point!


  15. //

    Thank you so much. I have both the plan book and the cook book but didn’t quite understand it enough to get started. I don’t have a kitchen at the moment and have been procrastinating about starting the plan, thinking it would be too hard. This is exactly what I needed.


  16. //

    Carrie, I had no idea this was your blog! What an amazing collection of information you have here. I hope three family is well! Much love!!! Whitney Whitmoore


  17. //

    Thanks for a great list of ideas. I’m printing this for future reference.


  18. //

    Thank you for this post. It helps me alot. I don’t like to cook and have felt out of my depth. This is simple and straight forward. Thanks.!


  19. //

    Thanks so much for the lists! They are great!

    Just a note: On the Avocado/tomato/mayo sandwich on open-face sprouted grain bread (S) (1 slice ok in an S meal) – This would make an S Helper. Totally on plan but can stall some if Helpers are used too often. I personally like S Helpers so a great idea for my use.


  20. //

    OH MY GOODNESS! By now I may have read hundreds of THM ideas but not one of them has inspired me like this one has. I H A T E to cook and it is the reason I haven’t went into this full bore as of yet. Thank you for the lists. My kind of food; that helps a great deal for sure. Thanks again,………and again.


  21. //

    What are your suggestions if you don’t eat chicken or fish (tuna)? Dairy is also a no go as it makes me gain weight. I don’t eat beans of any sort either. Trying to make it work when I have literally maybe 30 mi utes to pull together a meal each night made me stop. Th only meat I eat is beef and pork. And I do NOT have a supportive family at home at all. They buy all the junk I love and I always cave.


    1. //

      Do you eat shrimp? Because it’s going to be hard for you to eat E meals without chicken or tuna. Beef is automatically an S fuel due to its fat content. You could base a meal around sweet potato, but it would be hard to get enough protein without cottage cheese or some type of meat.

      As far as family, do you do the grocery shopping? Because you’re under no obligation to purchase unhealthy food for anyone :-) If they buy it for themselves, perhaps they can keep it in their rooms out of the kitchen. My family has off-plan stuff around, so I make sure I have plenty of THM “treats” handy! I often bake a cake once a week so I can have a slice when I like (keep it in the freezer, it will defrost quickly).


  22. //

    No. I don’t eat any seafood or any chicken or beans at all. They are at the top of most hated, make me sick foods. I buy the groceries and they already buy their own stuff but it is left in front of everyone as it is things for their lunches and snacks. I was hardcore THM for 6 months and they fought me and wouldn’t eat anything I fixed so they started buying junk. I have zero will power. If it is in front of me I eat it. I ate a lot of dairy and gained 15 lbs. Then on top my oldest son is trying to gain weight for football….needs to put on 20 lbs so what he needs to eat is exact opposite of what I need to eat.


    1. //

      Most of your meals will end up being Crossovers if you eat only beef. However, I believe it’s possible to lose weight just cutting out sugar! I find that my willpower to avoid sweets grew dramatically since on THM. The less you eat sugar, the less you want it. Your weight loss will be slow if you eat a lot of Crossovers, but that’s better than nothing.


    2. //

      There is an FB board for THM moms with allergies. That might be helpful, as those people have to get really creative about their meals. I’m sure they would have many suggestions for you.


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