Updated: November 02, 2017

Barely know how to boil water? Wouldn't have a clue what to do with a soufflé pan? If your idea of a home-cooked meal is the Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's, you're not the only one!

Research shows only 52 percent of us use our stoves on a daily basis, compared to nearly 70 percent in 1985. People who do cook are more likely to opt for a frozen dinner (sales of those have increased by 22 percent since 1996) or a one-pot dish than bother making an entire home-cooked meal. Americans currently eat 54 billion meals out a year -- that's nearly twice as often as in 1955, when the restaurant-industry share of the food dollar was 25 percent, compared to today's 46 percent. But beyond the extra cash, there's a price to pay for all that restaurant fare. Restaurant and commercially prepared food is often loaded with saturated fat, excess salt, sugar and MSG. And serving sizes are so truck-stop-huge you wind up eating for two. Become a restaurant regular and by next summer you could be ordering a supersize -- bikini!

If you want to eat healthy and lose weight, preparing your own lowfat, low-cal fare at home makes the most sense. Hate the thought of washing, peeling, chopping, cooking and cleaning up? Don't worry, you can enjoy a nutritious, satisfying diet without spending every waking moment in the kitchen.

To show you how fast and simple healthy home cooking can be, we asked Kathleen Daelemans, star of the Food Network's Cooking Thin With Chef Kathleen, to create the ultimate weight-loss eating plan for the kitchen-challenged.

To minimize your time in the kitchen and supermarket, Daelemans developed delicious recipes and meals that revolve around three convenience-food categories found in your local grocery: 1. fresh and fresh-prepackaged foods; 2. frozen foods and entrees; and 3. canned and dry, quick-cook packaged foods.

Daelemans also gives you two Nutrition Boosters for each recipe, including what each Booster adds, per serving, in terms of calories, fat, protein, fiber and other essential nutrients. She also shows you how to turn healthy frozen entrees into delicious lowfat meals. You get 7 lowfat recipes plus three healthy meals so quick and easy to make that they could take you less time to prepare than it would to get seated at your local diner.

To make grocery shopping a real breeze, we've included a grocery list for each recipe so you can make a mad dash for the deli (frozen foods section, etc.), grab just what you need to make a quick meal -- and scram! Follow our plan and you'll get healthier and leaner, stay full, and have more time and energy to get fit and have fun this summer.


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