How to Survive Without Cooking

If you're not very keen on cooking, there are a number of solutions to eating well without complicating your life. Surviving without cooking is an art, and fairly much a matter of experimentation, but with practice, you'll manage to perfect your own non-cooking style.


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    Eat like a backpacker. Use whole foods that require no stove (and for some, no fridge!), like fresh or dried fruits, nuts, seeds and long-lasting veggies like carrots, cabbage and peppers. Choose healthy options to spice up the veggies such as yogurt, hummus, salsa and dips. Other backpacker options include energy bars, granola bars, health food store cookies, bread, cans of beans and pre-made salads.
    • Eat fresh each day and replenish your larder on the way home from work or college, as part of your daily routine. Never over-supply your kitchen––just as a backpacker keeps moving to a new destination and can't be weighed down by too much food, be mindful of only having sufficient to eat for the next few days, always keeping your intake fresh.
    • This approach works best for those in urban areas, or where it's easy to replenish your food supply direct from a garden or local supplier.
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    Eat raw or go paleo. Growing interest in the raw food movements and paleo diets has revealed just how far modern humans have divorced themselves from the healthy foods nature intended for us to eat. By eating more raw food or following a paleo style diet, you will reconnect with some very healthy choices as well as avoid cooking much of the time.
    • Do note that if you want to puree or blend nuts, seeds and fruits, for example, that there is some preparation involved.
    • Be picky and choose the things that can be eaten fairly much in the state they were grown with little change required by you.
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    Get creative with salads. Many of us have neglected eating our greens to the detriment of our health. The health benefits of adding more fiber to your diet include lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced weight loss (in obese individuals) and enhanced immune function.[1] You don't have to stick to the typical garden salad either. Try pizza salad, caprese salad and ambrosia fruit salad.
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    Get creative with sandwiches. Try as many different kinds of good quality bread (not the sliced white stuff that has had all life processed out of it), meats, veggies, cheeses and condiments as you can think of. Try your favorite breads cold, toasted, open faced, warmed in the microwave or dipped into extra virgin olive oils.
    • Explore different ways of making sandwiches. Don't be afraid to try sweet fillings such as sliced fruit or spread lemon curd.
    • See these sandwich suggestions for lots more sandwich ideas to inspire you.
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    Use microwaveable foods and meals. Buy food or pre-made meals that you can put in the microwave to heat up, along with a good dose of fresh food such as an accompanying salad or some lightly steamed veggies. Be sure to read the labels though––many microwave meals are high in saturated or trans-fats, sugar, salt and artificial additives.
    • For better quality microwave meals and fresh items, try a local delicatessen, specialist bakery or gourmet foods store, where they make microwave meals and fresh salads, etc. for takeout.
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    Make friends with people who love to cook. They may invite you to their house for dinner together, especially if you're upfront about not enjoying cooking but loving other people's efforts!
    • Be sure to reciprocate as best you can. For example, offer to pay for ingredients or simply turn up with armfuls of healthy, fresh ingredients for their pantry and fridge.
    • Shout your home-chef friends to a restaurant meal once in a while, to make up for all the homemade cooking you've enjoyed at their place.
    • Visit more restaurants with friends to explore different flavors and cuisines. You will pay less for more variety if you go Dutch on pizza, Chinese, Indian food, and so forth. Try to make this a regular event, such as a once every two weeks, or once a month.
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    Purchase food to-go. Many entree-sized meals from restaurants have two meals worth of food. However, don't live off takeout food, as commercially produced fast food tends to be a lot higher in trans- and saturated fats, salt, sugars and artificial flavorings and colorings. You don't need all those unhealthy, nutrition-deficient fillers in your body. Aim to eat healthier options, such as cheese-free veggie pizzas, Asian stir-fries, falafel plates and salads.
    • In some places, to-go means that there is no service gratuity (tips) required and this will save you money.


  • Visit your parents or grandparents often. They'll be happy to see you and if they love cooking, won't even blink an eye at you enjoying their fare.
  • If you do get a friend who enjoys cooking, make sure you're not over there every day. Your friend likes you, but the probably want some time alone.
  • Go to stores that are nearby your house, when you don't have anything to eat. Buy more than you will need for just one meal. That way you won't have to go to the store too often.
  • If your friend enjoys cooking, but they're not so good at it, try not to show this. You should just stop going over there for food, if they do invite you, be honest.


  • You may spend a lot of money if you eat in restaurants too often.
  • It's easy to become overweight and very unhealthy if you only eat junk or snack foods. Don't make these the center of your dietary habits! They're treats, not regular food options.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh food
  • Storage for fresh food
  • Local stores for fast replenishing
  • Healthy snacks
  • Notebook to keep track of non-cooking ideas

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