Five Quick and Healthy Meals without Using the Stove

by Jessica Cox, RD

Five Quick and Healthy Meals without Using the Stove

During the final days of summer, the last thing you want to do is cook in a hot kitchen. Luckily you still can make delicious, healthy meals at home without turning on your oven or stove!

Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends using a few key kitchen gadgets to save time and keep things cool. “A panini or sandwich press is a great way to get a hot and healthy meal on the table fast. Use a rice cooker to cook multiple servings of rice, quinoa or millet that can be used throughout the week as a side dish or thrown into a salad for added texture.” Other helpful tools include a microwave — which can be used to prepare vegetables such as potatoes, broccoli and carrots — and a slow cooker, which gives off very little heat.

Lemond also suggests using precooked ingredients, like rotisserie chicken, canned beans (first, drain and rinse the beans to reduce sodium by 41 percent) and tomatoes, and canned chicken and tuna to create quick meals in minutes. Also, hold on to leftovers. “When leftovers build up in the fridge [and are still safe to eat], have a ‘MyPlate’ night and let the kids choose whatever they want as long as they have all the components of a ‘MyPlate’ setup.”

Try these five kid-pleasing meals without using your stove.

Mexican Black Bean Salad

Mix up a Mexican meatless meal by tossing canned (drained and rinsed) black beans with fresh corn, a tomato, bell pepper and red onion. Add avocado, jicama or diced mango for more adventurous eaters. Toss with lime juice and olive oil, and serve over crunchy romaine lettuce with whole-grain tortilla chips.

Slow Cooker Double-Duty Roast

Prepare your favorite beef or pork roast in a slow cooker, and serve half for dinner. Reserve the remaining roast to use as a filling for tacos or sandwiches later in the week. Try shredded pork tacos with salsa made with fresh pineapple, red bell pepper, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice. Toss shredded beef with barbecue sauce, and serve on toasted whole-grain hamburger buns with a fresh green salad or crunchy coleslaw.

Chicken Salad Sliders

Registered dietitians Liz Weiss and Janice Bissex (the Meal Makeover Moms) recommend this kid-tested chicken salad for hot evenings. “Mix together chopped rotisserie chicken, toasted chopped pecans or walnuts, quartered seedless grapes, light mayonnaise, chopped tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on whole-grain slider buns, dinner rolls or in pita pockets.”

Turkey and Apple Waffle Sandwiches

Replace bread with whole-grain frozen waffles for a new spin on sandwich night. Prepare the waffles according to the package directions using a toaster. Combine light mayonnaise, maple syrup and Dijon mustard, and spread over the waffles. Layer with deli turkey, sliced Granny Smith apple and spring mix salad greens.

Microwave Stuffed Potatoes

Use a microwave for easy stuffed potatoes. Prick medium russet or sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high power for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Split the potatoes and scoop out some of the flesh. Add your favorite seasoning to the scooped out potato flesh, and spoon back into the potato shells. Try topping baked potatoes with guacamole, chopped tomato and cilantro, or stuff sweet potatoes with broccoli, walnuts and dried cranberries.

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About the author:

Jessica C Cox RD

Jessica Cox, RD

is a registered dietitian and chef with a passion for teaching people to eat healthy for a happy and delicious life. She is the culinary nutritionist at eMeals, a meal planning service that helps families across America enjoy healthy meals together. She regularly contributes original recipes and food and nutrition content to various publications.




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

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