The healthiest of foods ideally come from your own kitchen, but you can’t always be in the mood to cook something elaborate. You might not even be in the mood to cook anything for yourself, at times. If you live by yourself and cook for yourself, sometimes you might just need something easy and quick to fix for when you are hungry, instead of spending an hour in the kitchen cooking a single meal. 

Not just for snacks, there are some healthy and great meals you can prepare for yourself within a few minutes. All it takes is knowing what to do with your ingredients, and planning everything beforehand so that you won’t have to spend unnecessary minutes in the kitchen. 

Here are some hacks that can help you come up with meals at a moment’s notice when you are too busy or too tired to cook. 

  • Prepare a tub of healthy dip or hummus 

Whenever you have time or in the middle of cooking, make a large tub of veggie dip or hummus that you can store in your freezer and take out occasionally. These are quite easy to make and can be stored in cold temperatures, perfect with any of your favorite vegetables as a dip. 

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from blending chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs; veggie dips, on the other hand, can be made by blending Greek yogurt with Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, garlic and ginger powder, and other herbs. Both of these hummus and veggie dips can be stored in the freezer in sealed tubs.  

Whenever you feel hungry and not in the mood to cook anything, you can simply cut up some cucumbers, carrots, and celery, or even a piece of whole-wheat bread, and eat with your homemade hummus or dip. They are extremely low-calorie recipes, so you won’t have to put a limit on your meal. 

  • Buy Pre-Chopped Mixed Vegetables 

For your own convenience, supermarkets sell pre-chopped vegetables that you won’t have to clean or cut into pieces. If you are feeling too stressed out to cook, simply get one of these pre-cut packets of your favorite mixed vegetables that you can just put into the oven for roasting. All you need to do is to sprinkle some olive oil, salt and pepper, and your favorite seasoning on the vegetables and they’ll be ready on their own while you relax and watch TV. 

  • Get a Slow Cooker 

With a slow cooker, your meal will be ready for you to eat when you walk in through your doors at the end of a hard day. You can put meat, vegetables and potatoes, herbs and stock in your slow cooker before you leave for work in the morning, and come home to a cooked and warm meal in the evening. The electricity bill isn’t going to be a lot even when your slow cooker is going to run all day, because that’s how this kitchen appliance has been designed. 

You can also make soups, stews, curry, casseroles and even oatmeal in your slow cooker, and let the appliance do its job all day while you are at work. All you need to do is to put all the ingredients together and turn on the slow cooker early in the morning and leave it all day. 

  • Try Overnight Oats 

If you barely have time to prepare your breakfast, you can try overnight oats.  These are simple recipes, really simple and easy recipes, in which you need to mix yogurt, rolled oats, and milk together in one bowl and garnish it with your favorite nuts and berries, even a few pieces of dark chocolate. For a convenient breakfast, you can simply scoop a portion into a canning jar and keep overnight in your freezer, and carry the jar with you to work. 

If you make more than one portion, you can even have some for dinner (and lunch) the next day – a ready-to-eat dinner waiting for you in your fridge. 

  • Make a Large Batch of Smoothies 

Smoothies are magical drinks that you can have any time of the day, in large amounts and not consume a lot of calories. If you make a large batch of smoothie with your favorite frozen or fresh berries, yogurt or milk, honey, and nuts, you can have it all through the day, even dinner. 

A great thing about smoothies is that they are not only delicious and low in calories, but also a mountain of nutrition. With a fruit smoothie, you get all the vitamins and minerals the fruits have to offer, as well as the fiber and water content. They’ll fill your stomach and your sugar craving nicely, and give you something to sip on all through the day, even during work. 

  • Try Cooking in Foils 

The amazing thing about cooking in foils is that you can prepare your ingredients in advance, store them in the freezer and take them out whenever needed. Over the weekend, you can simply make foil packets for yourself and fill them up with fish and meat fillets, lemon juice, herbs and spices, seal them and keep them in the freezer with labels. In the nights when you are too tired to cook, you can simply choose one and put it inside the oven, and the whole thing will cook by itself while you take a shower. 

What’s also great about cooking in foils is that you can customize your meals to suit your family’s preferences. You can add your favorite vegetables to your packet, or leave them out altogether if you don’t like vegetables. 

However, if you don’t want to prepare your ingredients too early into the week, you can just make the packets in the mornings before you leave for work and come home to put it into the oven. They’re easy to make and takes neither too much time nor too many ingredients; if your fish or meat is left marinated in the herbs, it will make your meal even tastier. 

  • Cook in Bulk  

Some meals, you can simply cook in bulk and keep stored in your fridge for several days. Curries to go with rice or bread, pasta sauce, stews or soups, casseroles or a large lasagna – you can make one and eat the same food for several days at a stretch, reheating a portion for yourself in the microwave oven. Of course, this is only possible if you don’t mind eating the same thing for dinner every day. 

Whatever you keep in your fridge shouldn’t be eaten for more than 3 days at a time, but in this say, you’ll only have to cook two days a week, or three at best. 

  • Eat Greek Yogurt 

If there’s nothing in your fridge that you feel like eating, you can always try Greek yogurt. It’s healthy and delicious and full of calcium. You don’t have to eat plain yogurt for your dinner, but garnish it with your preferred frozen or fresh berries, nuts, fruit slices, even a dash of honey. If you are hungrier, you can even add some raw oatmeal to the yogurt. 

  • Try Cereal for Dinner 

No one said you can’t eat cereal for dinner, did they? If you have milk or yogurt at home, and a pack of unsweetened, whole-wheat cereal packed with protein and iron, it can become a great dinner some times. Just make sure you’ve chosen a good whole-grain cereal for yourself, a brand that doesn’t have sugar, instead of a brand artificially sweetened with refined sugar. 

  •    Whip Up a Salad 

Whipping up a simple salad only requires you to chop your favorite fruits and vegetables into slices, and garnishing them with a low-fat salad dressing or lemon juice. The entire process will probably take less than 10 minutes and you wouldn’t even have to turn on the oven. You can even buy pre-chopped vegetables for salad in your local supermarket, and add some cold cuts to it. 

Not having the mood to cook doesn’t mean that you need to order from a restaurant, or that you have to eat processed food at home. All it takes is a little planning and you can read an easy and simple meal that will be both delicious and filling for you, not to mention healthy.