By Devin Alexander
One of the biggest and most frequent complaints I hear from people trying to eat healthy is that they’re simply too busy to cook. While I understand this concern, I just don’t believe there’s really such a thing as being “too busy to cook”. Think of all the time you spend sitting in the drive through line, parked on the couch waiting for the delivery guy, or even worse, the time you spend at the gym trying to work off fattening convenience foods, or at the doctor’s office because of weight related health problems like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. All of these activities take more time (and money!) than cooking simple meals at home. The way I see it, you don’t have time NOT to cook!
All of that said, I completely understand that no one has tons of time to spend in the kitchen on a regular basis. So I’ve written a couple of books that rely on fast favorites: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening! and The Biggest Loser Quick and Easy Cookbook. Both are page after of page of ridiculously quick and convenient recipes (with over 70% of the recipes easily made with all-natural ingredients to boot!). And we’re not talking snacks here. We’re talking a full lean pot roast dinner in only 10 minutes of hands-on time to bacon wrapped tilapia filets in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
Now you may be thinking, “that’s impossible”. Trust me, it’s not. And you don’t have to be a master-chef or have tons of elaborate equipment. You can see for yourself below–I’ve picked 3 of my favorite recipes to get you started. My “Chicken Breast with Goat Cheese and Fire Roasted Tomatoes” from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening!, morphs ordinary chicken breast into a dish good enough to serve to guests, though it’s easy enough to become one of your new regular weeknight meals. You’ll learn my trick to locking the juices into the chicken in a pan then finishing it off in the oven that can be used with other of your favorite ingredients too.
And if you love cheesy pasta but thought it would be off-limits forever, now you can indulge in my “Penne and Asparagus with Ricotta Cheese” from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening!, without regret! Since each serving includes plenty of fresh, crisp-tender asparagus to accompany the pasta, tossed together with low-fat ricotta (and trust me, you won’t miss the full fat stuff), you don’t have to feel guilty about eating a big bowl of pasta for dinner. And if you have a sweet tooth like I do, you can avoid the ice cream parlor and those deadly store-bought sweets by making your own decadent desserts at home. “Strawberry Shortcake To-Go” from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening!, is a crowd pleaser, and super convenient because it can be made ahead in to-go cups and kept in your fridge for when your sweet tooth strikes.
Though drive-thru windows and pre-packaged meals are tempting, remember that you’re not only paying a huge mark-up for these items, you’re adding tons of unnecessary fat and calories to your diet. I always say I’d rather spend 20 minutes in my kitchen than 2 hours on a treadmill, so I opt to cook at home whenever possible. If you give my recipes a try, I think you’ll agree it really can be simple and affordable to cook at home, whether you’re cooking for yourself or the entire family.
About the Author
Devin Alexander is a New York Times bestselling author and healthy cooking expert who has maintained a 70-pound weight loss for more than 16 years, and is also the resident food expert on the syndicated news magazine show “America Now.” She has shared her secrets for unbelievably decadent yet healthy foods through frequent appearances on the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Dr. Oz,” “Dr. Phil,” “The Doctors,” “Dr. Drew,” “The View,” “Celebrity Fit Club,” Discovery Health’s “National Body Challenge,” FOX, CNN, HGTV, USA, Style Network and others, and through more than 400 magazine features including Prevention, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Shape. She has served as Culinary Advisor to Men’s Fitness Magazine and Cooking Expert to Women’s Health.