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.
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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