Dana Carpender answers: what if I can’t cook?

Dana, many of our readers find cooking from scratch a chore. Often they even lack the basic cooking skills. How do you help the low carber who says “I can’t cook!”

First of all, by saying, “Yes, you can. You just haven’t done it enough. It’s nowhere near as hard as you think.” It’s such a tragedy that cooking has been eliminated from school curricula. But truly, folks, I can remember making gravy and mashing potatoes when I had to stand on a step-stool to reach the stove. That’s pretty much the definition of “child’s play.”

Get a good, basic, simple cookbook, find the recipes in it that work for our nutritional plan, and give it a few tries. I think you’ll be surprised.

That said, you can be a low carber without cooking. There are low carb convenience foods to be had, although you’ll spend more money than you would cooking from scratch. Consider:

* Rotisserie chicken

* Steamed lobster (if you have the cash, many groceries will do the deed for you)

* Salad bar salads

* Bagged salads

* Frozen cooked shrimp

* Canned tuna, crab, sardines, and the like (put ‘em on top of some bagged salad).

* Frozen vegetables – microwave according to package directions

* Frozen hamburger patties – you do have to cook these, but you don’t even have to thaw them first. 3 minutes per side in a hot skillet works great. Get a non-stick skillet for easy cleanup.

* Frozen grilled fish fillets

* Deli meats and cheeses, rolled up with mayo and mustard sandwiched in between the slices. Read the labels for the ones with the least added carbohydrate.

* Hot wings, but only unbreaded ones – Pizza Hut makes these. Be careful about sauces; many are sugary. The Pizza Hut Garlic Parmesan, Cajun Rub, Ranch Rub, and Naked Traditional Bone-in Wings are all good choices. Skip the “boneless wings;”they’re breaded.

* Pizza with extra cheese and low carb toppings – peel off the toppings and eat them, discarding the crust.


My local grocery stores have “bars” beyond the salad bar. One of my favorites is the Mediterranean bar, with a selection of olives, marinated feta, and the like. The grocery store deli is worth browsing. You can’t have potato or macaroni salad, of course, but you may well find chicken or tuna salad with no high carb ingredients. I’ve found tasty roasted vegetables, too. Be wary of coleslaw; often it’s heavily laced with sugar, but it’s worth asking. With growing awareness of food sensitivities, many grocery store delis post signs listing ingredients with each dish.

Ironically, I find the Atkins frozen dinners to be higher carb than I’d like.

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2 thoughts on “Dana Carpender answers: what if I can’t cook?”

  1. What terrific advice.

    I referred your article to the TUDiabetes.org blog page for the week of June 27, 2016.


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