If I don’t enjoy cooking, how can I get meals on the table?

Sometimes food can feel like such an imposition. Meal time again? Hunger pangs again? What should I eat this time? Meals and snacks over and over. Waining inspiration on what to make. Or maybe you can come up with the ideas but it’s the thought of making it happen that you dread. The chopping, mixing, washing, cooking…so much time. Now I’m not going to say this is time wasted because nourishing your body is crucial. Even if you don’t enjoy cooking, you need to eat.


Meals do not need to be elaborate. My goal is that a meal consists of the different macronutrients – carbs, protein, fat, and some fiber and a little color are nice too. But that could look like a lot of things, and yes, it can even consist of convenience options! It does not have to be scratch cooking to be nutritious.

Let’s start with how to stock your kitchen. Stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer with easy, quick cooking, convenient options. Check out this list of suggestions!

what to buy when you don't enjoy cooking

I don’t enjoy cooking, so I’ve stocked up on the easy stuff. Now what do I do with it?

The possibilities are truly endless, but here are some options to get you started!



Top chips with beans and cheese, broil or microwave until warm and melty, then top with pico, guacamole, and cilantro


Pesto Pasta

Toss microwave packet of pasta with pesto, broccoli (steam in the bag), and sliced and heated chicken sausage


Serve any of your favorites! Eggs and toast, waffles with peanut butter, berries, and chia seeds, yogurt with granola

Chana Masala

Combine chickpeas with a jar of tikka masala sauce. Serve with steamed cauliflower, rice, and naan bread.

Deconstructed Salmon Sushi Bowl

Top microwaved rice with canned salmon. Drizzle with sriracha, soy sauce, and mayo. Serve with kimchi and seaweed snacks. (See Emily Mariko’s viral Tik Tok salmon bowl!)


Add thinly sliced mushrooms, baby spinach, etc to instant ramen. Add an egg for protein.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Toss shredded rotisserie chicken in BBQ sauce then stuff in roasted sweet potatoes. Top with cheese, avocado, cilantro, etc

Rotisserie Chicken Tacos

Season shredded chicken (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, etc). Fill tortillas with chicken, salsa, shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, guacamole.

Refried Bean and Cheese Baked Quesadillas

On a sheet pan lay out tortillas. Top them with refried beans, shredded cheese, and any desired fillings, then top with a layer of tortillas. Bake until crispy then cut into pieces and serve with salsa/guacamole/sour cream

Chicken tenders

Serve chicken tenders with a salad kit and baked french fries.


What if I order out?

Nourishing meals don’t have to be made at home either. You can incorporate take out, fast food, and restaurant meals without any worry or guilt that you’re not cooking at home. Convenience meals are a wonderful option that can be the best option for your mental health, your time constraints, and your soul. If restaurant meals are a frequent option in your household, I encourage you to come up with ways to incorporate the balance we’ve discussed above. Fiber and color tend to be lacking in many restaurant meals. For example, you can add a side of veggies or salad or choose meals that incorporate beans/peas/lentils.

Looking for more ideas? Check out these 9 additional meal options for when you don’t feel like cooking!

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An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.