No-Cook Solutions for Healthy Back-to-School Meals

family eating dinnerIf back to school time makes it seem like you’re juggling more to-dos, you’re not alone. We’re all noticing the days getting shorter as we settle into the transition out of summer into fall.

One way to approach the new time crunch is choosing the lighter, faster meals we enjoy in summer. Even better—what about no-cooking at all? Here are some healthy ideas for you.

Have the Basics on Hand

When you want speedy suppers without cooking, make sure you’re not stuck with peanut butter sandwiches or yogurt and granola. The way around that is to stock up on some healthy basics you can base your meals around. Here’s a list to get you started, followed by some creative ideas for pulling a few ingredients together for a tasty meal.

Cooked shrimp. Use thawed cooked shrimp to top a cool Caesar salad or simply make a shrimp cocktail the highlight of your meal. Chop up shrimp and toss with diced avocado, lime and chunky salsa as a quick take on ceviche, a great topping for a tostada.

Smoked salmon or lox. Packaged smoked salmon makes the basis of a terrific smoked fish spread for whole grain toasts or bruschetta. Sliced lox works wonders as breakfast for dinner, with cream cheese or goat cheese, tomatoes, onions, capers and dill.

Oil packed tuna. Invest a little more on quality, pole-caught tuna in a can and you’ll be able to enjoy a gourmet nicoise salad or sandwich with very little investment of time or effort. Some Kalamata olives and hard-boiled eggs help you pull it together.

Thin sliced roast beef. Grab the best natural roast beef the deli has to offer, and ask for it sliced thin to use it in a variety of wraps. Or try rolling it up with some crunchy shredded cabbage, hoisin, scallion, cucumber and avocado in a softened spring roll wrapper.

Roasted chicken. Store bought, pre-cooked chicken is a great idea if you choose a brand that isn’t too salty or overly processed. Highly-rated rotisserie, smoked or grilled chicken can be found at stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Costco. So versatile.

Hummus. You must have a go-to brand of hummus (or, you could mix up your own, technically it isn’t cooked). This chickpea spread is more than a dip—stuff it in a pita pocket or layer on a sandwich with feta cheese, greens and Mediterranean herbs.

Marinated mushrooms. Portabella mushroom caps are tasty vessels for quick meals. Marinade them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and garlic while you’re busy elsewhere. They’ll tenderize, and can be topped with many of the suggestions above!

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