I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and say to myself “well, that’s not going to happen.” ― Rita Rudner
So you’re not a good cook. Or, you just don’t have the time or energy to get it done. I suppose it doesn’t matter much; you just want to know if you can eat healthy meals and reboot without slaving away in the kitchen, right?
I know this is a valuable topic because people write in to ask me this all of the time. I also have a new client profile form for my Total Body Reboot members and a bunch of them put a big fat checkmark next to, “I feel too tired or busy to cook.”
If you’ve read my personal story, you know that I lost sixty pounds and escaped high blood pressure and Diabetes with the lifestyle changes I’ve made. And for over three years I haven’t simply maintained those results, but improved them. So, for me to say, “I hate cooking,” should be a sigh of relief to you.
It’s true. I do as little cooking as I possibly can. And my wife is busy with our 14 month old daughter, the house, and every other aspect of life so she doesn’t cook often. So, what do we do?
Well, I tend to eat three meals per day. If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I shy away from calling these meals breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead, I number them. I also don’t eat them at specified times, preferring to wait for my body to signal actual hunger before eating.
Weird, I know. But, that’s because the rest of society eats for every reason except hunger. And that’s the problem: they eat when they’re sad, angry, and frustrated. They eat to cover up pain. They eat to feed their addiction. And they eat because they’re bored and it seems like a good idea at the time.
Healthy eating is absolutely about what you’re eating, but more importantly it’s about what you’re eating for. I used to eat for all of those reasons, which is why I make a focused effort to wait — and wait some more — for legitimate hunger and actively avoid eating at routine times. Learning to listen to your body helps wrestle control away from food and return it back to you.
Anyway, about cooking – I’m going to map out each meal of the day for you. Before you read about my process, bookmark this page: Cooking for Beginners: 39 Tips for Instant Cooking Confidence – it’s a great resource if you need cooking help and such.
Meal One – Eating Healthy with Minimal Cooking
Breakfast is probably the easiest meal of the day to cook, especially if you keep it simple. We’re talking eggs, avocado, and some left over protein (grass fed beef typically). A small coffee with a bit of heavy cream (if you can tolerate dairy), and we’re done here.
Another option is bulletproof coffee — which, if you have a full-on aversion to cooking, would probably be your best bet. Or, if I’m not hungry I just won’t eat. Remember, the mission of eating is to feed present hunger, not to pre-emptively strike future hunger.
I get a lot of pushback when I say that. In fact, I sent out an email to The Rebooted Body Nation the other day about not eating lunch at “lunch time” but waiting until hunger actually strikes (similar to what I mentioned a few paragraphs back).
I got a few replies that went something like, “yeah, you might have that luxury but I don’t.” I get that some jobs are oppressive, but fight for your right to feed yourself when you’re hungry, not when your boss says you should be hungry. Okay? This is your life and your body and if your employer can’t respect that, I’d personally find another job.
If you’re someone who gets up so early that they don’t have time to prepare a meal in the morning, it’s easy to make something like frittata in bulk and you’re set for the week.
The cooking here is extremely minimal. And don’t forget: there’s no such thing as breakfast food. You can eat anything you want for breakfast, which means you can just eat the leftovers from the night before. This is what I recommend if you can’t eat eggs for one reason or another.
Quick Tip: ALWAYS make/buy extra of every meal. Make it a habit. That way you decide on something once and do the work to acquire it, yet you get at least two meals out of it.
Meal Two – Eating Healthy with No Cooking
I’m the king of eating out for lunch. I often head to Chipotle and get a salad bowl with half pork and half steak (antibiotic/hormone free). I would get all pork but the steak is cooked in soybean oil and the pork isn’t so I sub half the steak for pork to cut down on that aspect of Chipotle’s nonsense.
Hey, anyone from Chipotle care to take note that you’re killing people!?! Umm…grass-fed butter please! Or Coconut oil!
This might be a good time to remind you that perfection in our beautiful society is no longer attainable without driving yourself absolutely bonkers. So, there has to be a few tradeoffs.
Anyway, back to that salad bowl. I love Chipotle because they just pile on the goodies for you. Pico, medium salsa, onions, and a massive serving of guacamole — yes please!
If you copy me on this, pass on the salad dressing they try to give you. It has far too much sugar for my liking. It’s sweetened with honey but who knows what quality the honey is. Besides, I prefer to get my carbs from vegetable and starch sources.
When you mix everything together, you won’t miss the dressing.
There are many ways you can eat out for lunch and stay on point. It’s not perfection, but it’s close enough for government work.
If you’re on a super tight budget, make these for yourself way ahead of time and you’re gold for the week. (Don’t follow their recipe — they use crap like corn and other ANTI foods). You can also have these made up in case of emergencies or for a night where you’re hard pressed to come up with a third meal and you’re exhausted.
So yeah, no cooking involved for this meal!
Meal Three – Eating Healthy With Some or No Cooking
I’m typically going to go one of two ways for this meal: my wife throws together a slow cooker recipe a few hours before the day starts to wind down or I fire up the grill. We have an 8 to 10 recipe rotation made up of recipes that are fast and easy to prepare and make.
Of course, I always follow the tip I gave earlier and make extra so we automatically have more for tomorrow or the next day. With the slow cooker, it’s easy to make quantities that you can eat three or four times, depending on family size.
If you’re ballin’ shot callin’ you could go out to dinner again. Hit up a steakhouse and get some blackened grouper or wild-caught salmon with veggies cooked in butter. Or shrimp. Or a sirloin cooked in butter instead of oil. The opportunities are endless.
Remember, neither my wife nor I like to cook and we’re both extremely busy and we manage to get this done without hitting Taco Bell and destroying our intestines because we were overwhelmed.
Cooking all of your own meals has the added benefit of controlling exactly what you’re eating and the quality of those ingredients. But, it’s not necessary. You can eat at a restaurant three times a day, seven days a week and be healthier than 95% of the American population as long as you’re making informed choices and staying vigilant.
Again, to make sure I’m not being misunderstood, the best circumstance would be to cook your own food three times a day, seven days a week. But if you don’t want to do that, you hate the idea of cooking, or you’re simply too busy, then there’s no need to have a pity party at KFC and throw in the towel.
We have to keep this discussion in context and that means the answer to your question is: yes, you can still reboot if you hate cooking.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s helped tens of thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and now offers all of his signature programs through a “pay what you want” model.