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Nutrition Articles  ›  Meals and Food

29 Slimming and Satisfying No-Cook Meals

Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners That Won't Have You Breaking a Sweat

-- By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
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When the mercury rises, the last thing you want to do is spend time cooking in a hot kitchen. Conserve your energy and give the stove and oven a break with these no-heat meals. Beyond salads and sandwiches, these dishes feature creative ways to use the bountiful, fresh fruits and vegetables that are readily available and affordable this time of year.

A few of them do take some help from the supermarket, in the form of healthier convenience foods like heat-and-eat rice, pre-cooked shrimp, and canned tuna, but we like to believe that's the opportunity cost of not having to stand over a hot stove for an hour. Keep reading for more than four weeks' worth of no-cook meals--enough ideas to get you through the dog days of summer without turning on the stove!

No-Cook Breakfasts

  Fruity Cottage Cheese
This creamy breakfast packs in the protein. Choose low-fat cottage cheese, then top with your favorite summer fruit. Berries are a perfect pair, as are peaches or melon. Round out the meal with a slice of whole-grain bread or a serving of crackers. Find more healthy cottage cheese recipes.
Think of muesli, the traditional Swiss breakfast of raw oats, dried fruit, and nuts, as instant granola--minus any added sugars or oils. Serve over yogurt, pour on skim milk, or eat with ricotta or cottage cheese.
  Overnight (Soaked) Oats
Soaked overnight in yogurt or milk, muesli becomes "overnight oats," a hot-weather alternative to a steaming bowl of porridge. Combine raw oats with yogurt or skim milk, a sprinkle of ground flaxseeds or ­chia and cinnamon. Stir, cover, and refrigerate. The oats will absorb the moisture from the milk or yogurt and become soft--almost to the consistency of cooked oats with a bit more texture. Start with equal parts oats and liquid, adding more liquid to thin the oats to the desired consistency. In the morning, top with berries or your favorite oatmeal stir-ins.
  Peanut Butter and Banana Wrap
You can't beat this fresh spin on an old favorite. Start with a whole-grain wrap, then spread a thin layer of natural peanut butter in the middle, and top with sliced banana. Dress it up with spices (try cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or cardamom) and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. This is equally delicious with fresh berries, sliced peaches or (for the brave among you) pickle slices. Tired of plain PB? Try one of these nutritious nut butters.
  Yogurt Bowls
Start with a serving of low-fat or Greek yogurt. Top with fresh fruit, ground flaxseed or chia seeds, a sprinkle of cereal or granola and maybe a drizzle of honey. If you're feeling fancy, layer the ingredients parfait style in a sundae dish or glass.
  Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie
Cool and portable, smoothies are a great way to jam pack your meals with fruits (and vegetables). Start with a base of one serving of low-fat yogurt or skim milk, then add at least two servings of fruit. Boost the satiety factor by adding a scoop of protein powder, a spoonful of nut butter or a sprinkle of ground flax or chia seeds. Puree and slurp. Tip: If you struggle to get enough greens into your diet, consider tossing a couple of cups of greens (try spinach or mixed baby greens) into your smoothie. The fruit in your smoothie will mask the flavor of the greens, and it's a lot easier to gulp down a few cups than to plow through a huge salad!

Tomato & Ricotta Toast
Slather 1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese on a slice of whole-grain bread (toasted if desired), then top with thick slices of fresh tomato, plenty of black pepper and a few sprigs of herbs.
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • I have tried a couple of these (banana-peanut butter wraps are my favorite!!) but I am pleasantly surprised to see some new ideas! I can't wait to try the shrimp sandwich. Thanks, Sparkpeople! - 3/20/2014 8:59:54 AM
  • Yummy! - 3/20/2014 8:37:48 AM
  • Lots of choice. Yum! Yum! - 3/19/2014 7:54:30 PM
  • I made homemade ricotta a few weeks ago and never thought to top toast with it. I think that would be amazing! Thanks for the idea! - 3/19/2014 8:55:32 AM
  • Thank you, i especially like making zucchini and cucumbers into edible servers : ) i look forward to trying some. - 1/25/2014 3:30:35 PM
    add fats, carbs, proteins please - 8/5/2013 7:55:03 AM
  • Yummy - 7/24/2013 5:34:35 PM
    The recipes are great. But I need the nutrition facts so that I can record fats, carbs, proteins. Any chance???? - 7/24/2013 3:48:30 PM
  • I got all excited and the pictures looked soooooo good, but to begin with I am hooped. In the first place i am vegetarian so that
    eliminated many, then I am gluten free, soy free, egg free, sugar free and that knocked out a few more. I guess I just have to stay with my fruit and veggies, be satisfied that I can eat very little grain, sometimes a bit of Quinoa or millet but not every day, and keep on trying to eat a little less every day because I am such an easy keeper, I do not need much food. anyway, for those that can, enjoy and be glad you can. Have a great summer. - 7/24/2013 12:05:11 AM
    These no-cook meals are very helpful. Just what I need to beat the heat and humidity blahs. - 7/23/2013 9:46:11 PM
  • I can hardly. Wait to try out those non cook breakfats!!! - 7/23/2013 5:48:53 PM

    HAVE to try the Tomato & Ricotta Toast

    THANKS for the fresh breakfast ideas - 7/23/2013 4:41:33 PM
  • This article with the pictures is a very sparky type of place to look to get ideas. I guess I'm lucky enough to have a whole foods market in FL or Ingles here in NC where I can get those already cooked items. And Cous cous resonstitutes with water, doesn't need cooking. hard boiled eggs at 7 -11 gas station/store have saved my lunch when caught out on the road at lunch time. Still, even if I want to boil the eggs myself, boiling the a half dozen eggs and reconstituting coucous and storing in the refrigerator make me ready to throw them together into these beautiful cool summer meals. - 7/23/2013 2:48:12 PM
  • I am definitely loving these meal ideas!
    - 7/23/2013 2:31:01 PM
  • Came here expecting to be disappointed, was not in the slightest. Some pretty good breakfast ideas. A few light lunches and there's nothing wrong with some appetizers/large afternoon snack like some of these are. Only a couple were big enough for dinners but that's fine. Good article from a guy who's tough to impress here on Spark. - 7/23/2013 9:11:37 AM