Is cooking necessary for dieting?

Do you believe a healthy diet depends entirely on cooking all your meals from scratch?   It’s an important question, with health and obesity on everyone’s mind.  It seems to me that the assumption is that, yes, you have to cook.  Yet, despite all the cooking shows and celebrity chefs and “gourmet” kitchens and recipe books, fewer and fewer people are actually cooking.   And when people do “cook”,  it might be more like heating up a frozen pizza or microwaving a frozen dinner.

I don’t believe cooking is at all necessary, if you make the right choices in convenience of restaurant foods.  In fact, it’s possible to create a healthy and very convenient weight loss diet using only restaurant selections.

Just look at Subway’s Jared.  He made perfect use of this concept: no cooking, no grocery shopping, no kitchen to clean up, no confusing recipes in a diet book, no leftovers to pick at (ruining the diet), no picking at the food while cooking (another diet killer) and built in portion control.  The portion control alone is a huge issue for dieters watching calories.

For some dieters, the cooking part is the deal-killer.  They may give it an enthusiastic try at first, following all those complicated recipes in the diet book, buying strange ingredients, that then go bad or are never used again.  But after a few weeks, the novelty wears off.  Cooking, shopping and cleaning up are work.  They take time out of your busy day.  And if you have a family, it can mean cooking two entirely different meals for dinner.  Who needs the hassle?

But because so many people believe they must cook, they end up feeling guilty and giving up the diet.  And they conclude: “Since I’m not cooking I might just as well eat junk food”.  It’s an all-or-nothing attitude, and it’s incorrect.

If you’ve tried and failed numerous fad diets, and suspect that the cooking part is the problem, you should re-think your presumptions.  Learning to make better choices at restaurants or with convenience items is key.  Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude about restaurants is this: restaurant food is:

  • not healthy
  • high calorie
  • big portions
  • not part of any known diet

So just give up and eat whatever you want.  This also conveniently puts the responsibility for your weight onto the restaurant for selling certain foods, rather than on you, for making wise choices.

My advice is to learn to make better choices, and make those choices the norm 90% of the time.  And stop feeling guilty about not cooking your own diet meals.  Weight loss is hard enough.  if you don’t enjoy cooking or don’t have time, why make the process even more difficult by trying to add cooking to your life?

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