Have you ever had days when even the thought of turning on the oven stresses you out? Chill out with a no-bake meal. Best of all, none of the following simple, yet tasty no-bake meals involve processed, pre-made foods or even requires you to turn on the microwave. Not only will you save on energy costs, your kitchen will stay cooler. You can incorporate lots of healthy fruits, veggies and nuts in a no-bake meal, just the way nature intended. Here are some no-cook meals the whole family will love:
Wrap it Up
For no-cook meals for kids, up the fun factor by rolling healthy, fresh ingredients in a wrap rather than in boring bread. Kids love finger foods, and wraps offer a perfect way to pack nutritious ingredients into a neat package that works just as well in a school lunchbox as on the dinner table. Fill whole-wheat wraps with a blend of crunchy textures, such as shredded cabbage, carrots, jicama, and kale; and creamy flavors; such as diced avocados, mashed white beans from the can, hummus, or tofu. Add a spoonful of minced red onion, a sprinkle of salt and – if you like a bit of heat – a splash of hot sauce, and voilà! You’ve got a no-cook meal that’s portable.
Put salad in the top 10 of your children’s “favorite foods” list by creating a refreshing bowl of colorful ingredients in a range of kid-friendly textures. Think chef’s salad, but without traditional heavy ingredients. Start by shredding a mixture of romaine lettuce, fresh spinach and kale, keeping the pieces small rather than using large, fibrous leaves. Slice a medley of fruits and berries that range in color – such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple and grapes – and create mounds of each on top of the greens. Now add healthy proteins, such as sliced hard boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, nuts, or chunks of tofu. Serve with dressing on the side for dipping, which tends to limit the amount of dressing consumed and increases the fun-food quotient.
The word “soup” may bring steaming bowls to mind, but chilled soups can be just as delicious and healthy. All you need is a blender or food processor and some creativity. For a creamy, cool soup that you don’t have to cook, puree diced avocados and cucumbers with plain low-fat yogurt. Add a dash of lemon zest and tarragon and a sprinkle of salt and then blend until smooth. This cold soup also tastes great with lime and cilantro.
Chilled soups can also be created with fruits. Play with blended combinations, such as melon, cucumbers, lime and orange juice, spiced up with a bit of seeded and minced jalapeno pepper or fresh ginger root. Garnish with plain yogurt and fresh mint or cilantro leaves.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. When it comes to no-cook meals, colorful and flavorful ingredients are almost guaranteed to result in fresh meals that are as nutritious as they are tasty.